Loyalty and rewards vendors are among the least trusted categories of companies serving the small business community, according to a new report by Alignable released just this morning.
Based on the results in Alignable’s 2018 Q1 Small Business Trust Index, the three least trusted categories of vendors include legal, hiring and people management, and loyalty and rewards. Alignable’s findings were based on Net Promoter Score ranges and averages for each products and services category.
“While a lack of transparency and a sales model that wasn’t geared towards retention are driving factors, I think the biggest missed opportunity [among loyalty vendors] is educational content. If I’m a baker, how specifically should I be using your product? That’s what has been missing with SMBs,” says Alignable CMO Dan Slagen. “You can’t just have one blanket marketing statement and treat prospects and customers the same way. They have different levels of understanding, experience, and goals.”
At the opposite end of the spectrum from loyalty vendors were companies in the computers and apps, office supplies and services, and payments and management categories. These three categories included 60% of all the brands in Alignable’s list of the top 20 brands that have built the greatest trust among small business owners.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon and Google sat atop that list, followed by Authorize.net, Apple, and WordPress. Payment vendors like Stripe, Paypal, and Square also made it onto the top 20 list. No vendors from the loyalty and rewards category made it onto the list, and the only company from the lead generation and management category to make it on was OpenTable.
“These ratings weren’t compiled by a panel of judges or experts, the ratings are 100% from business owners, and really a reflection of the work these companies put in day in and day out in regards to focusing on the customer,” Slagen says. “Serving SMBs is not easy, it takes a special type of product offering and culture, and those leading the way deserve the recognition.”
Slagen says it will be interesting to see how the positive rating for Dropbox, which came in at #17 on Alignable’s list of the most trusted companies, plays out with the company’s expected IPO.
Some of the businesses that ranked highly in Alignable’s 2017 Q2 report are nowhere to be found in today’s 2018 Q1 release. For example, Pinterest and Facebook are no longer listed among the top 20 most trusted vendors. And despite how much of the business world has moved online in recent years, two companies traditionally associated with offline activities—FedEx and UPS—have both managed rank highly in this report.
“We sometimes forget about the physical work that goes into making online flourish,” Slagen says. “Having owned a small business in a former life, we used to live and die by FedEx. For that reason, I just love seeing that two major shipping/service brands in FedEx and UPS are in the top 20.”
With so much of the SaaS world dependent on Q1 performance, Slagen is hopeful that the results of this survey will be encouraging to brands as they focus on the biggest opportunities in the year ahead.
“The customer journey is made up of acquisition, onboarding, retention, customer success. Look at those four areas of your business and ask yourself where you have the biggest leverage,” he says. “It won’t be the same for all companies.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.