Majority of Small Businesses Lack Reliable Customer Data

90% of business leaders surveyed view customer behaviour research as unaffordable investment, despite admitting importance of data insights

72% of small and mid-sized businesses make decisions based on instinct rather than results from customer research, according to The Democratisation of Insight report, with 50% of business leaders admitting they rely on feeling as opposed to hard data.

Over a third of small and medium firm leaders complained they lack enough customer insight to make knowledgeable decisions; with only 10% relying on customer data to make decisions but 81% confirming that if it was available it would be influential in their business decisions. 90% of companies surveyed felt in-depth consumer data is an investment reserved for larger brands with bigger budgets.

The findings, which derived from a survey of 300 UK businesses, revealed that only 30% of small and medium firms conduct market research polls with just 22% accessing market analyst reports; furthermore only 32% utilise social media to access customer data and just 15% employ ‘big data’ analytics of customer behaviour.

Conducted by SurveyMonkey Audience, the research found that despite this lack of insight into consumer behaviour, 98% of small business owners believe that the contemporary customer is more demanding, aware of what they want, and is more responsive – demonstrating the need for businesses to access reliable data to stay on top of the ever-evolving consumer market.

SurveyMonkey’s CEO Dave Goldberg discussed the research:

“It’s not surprising that with all the data available today, business decision makers still rely on gut. This is because it’s hard to get quality, actionable data as fast as the speed of business.”

“However, many leaders also tell us that with regular access to fast, accurate customer insight, their businesses would be more agile, more competitive, more innovative and would ultimately grow faster.”

For advice on using data to gain customer insight, take a look at our sister site’s article on collecting and using customer data here. collecting and using customer data here.

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