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NZ businesses bullish on growth and keeping customers

Businesses are planning to focus on customer satisfaction and growth in new markets in 2012, according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor.

Businesses are planning to focus on customer satisfaction and growth in new markets in 2012, according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor.

The MYOB Business Monitor surveys more than 1000 New Zealand business owners, more than a third of whom expected customer retention activity to increase in 2012.

Business owners who expected to put most effort into this strategy were much more likely to be an SME with annual revenue of $1-5m.

“This speaks volumes about the way business owners are structuring their business, and gearing them to be more service focused and proactive in keeping their existing customer base," said MYOB general manager Julian Smith.

The tough trading conditions of the past three years highlighted the importance of keeping existing customers happy, he said.

The second most popular strategy for 2012 is new market growth, according to the survey.

Business owners most likely to focus on expansion of their business were predominantly in the finance and insurance sector (54 percent), and the manufacturing and wholesale sector (46 percent).

While 57 percent of business owners said they would not change their product or service offering, 27 percent intended to extend their range.

The internet is also becoming the dominant media for advertising, with more business owners intending to increase marketing and advertising spending online than offline in 2012.

Twenty-three percent expected to increase their online advertising and marketing spend, compared with one-fifth who expected to spend more offline. Those who were the most focused on online marketing and promotions are in the retail and hospitality sector (43 percent); or own a business in Christchurch (32 percent).

A quarter hope to increase online sales, mostly in manufacturing and wholesale sector and retail and hospitality. Just over 40 percent of all New Zealand businesses say they are likely to use their website to drive offline sales.

Top 10 priorities for Kiwi businesses in 2012

1. Focus on customer retention strategies – 35 percent
2. Increasing business activity in new markets – 33 percent
3. Focus on customer acquisition strategies – 31 percent
4. Increasing the number of products or services offered by the business – 27 percent
5. Sales of products / services offline – 27 percent
6. Sale of products / services online – 25 percent
7. Increasing spending on online marketing & advertising – 23 percent
8= More sales promotions – 22 percent
8= More investment in IT systems & processes – 22 percent
10. Increasing salaries & wages – 20 percent