SME owners are sticklers for detail when it comes to supplier communications and mistakes like misspelled names could have significant negative business implications.

According to a study by relationship marketers, CR Cards, not only do SME customers find sloppy customer communication annoying, but it can also be potentially damaging for supplier relationships, with one in five on the receiving end of poorly executed communication considering taking their business elsewhere.

The standard of B2B communication received by SMEs was rated sub-standard by the 300 SME owner-managers who participants of the study. The majority (69%) claim to ‘frequently’ receive poorly targeted or badly executed direct mail or email from their existing suppliers.

Common gripes included communication addressing the wrong person or selling a service they already had, experienced by 43% of the sample, the one-size-fits-all approach, which 41% had received, and misspelt contact or business names, an irritation for 32% of respondents.

Annoyance was not the only potential repercussion of sloppy communication, the study found, with 19% of business owners on the receiving end considering taking their business elsewhere, 38% developing a negative opinion about the issuer and 49% worried it indicated a lack of understanding about their business.

On the other, the research reinforced the power of well executed communication. Relevant, personalised communication was seen by one in four business owners as something that would encourage them to spend money with the supplier, and as something that would win increased loyalty for one in five.

With many suppliers experiencing a higher churn rate and less customer loyalty from SME customers, founder of CR Cards, Matt Sandford, revealed that many suppliers neglect the basic when it comes to customer relationships.

“Direct mail or email communication can be a fantastic way to stay in touch with clients and build relationships, and, if done correctly, can take minimum effort,” Sandford says. “However, it appears that lack of care, attention and creativity could be causing more damage than good.”