Report finds that small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that offer both fully remote and hybrid work environments are seeing a significantly higher increase in customer retention (79%), as well as meaningful increases in employee availability, productivity, and focus
SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 27, 2022 - Intermedia Cloud Communications, a leading provider of cloud communications and collaboration solutions to businesses and the partners that serve them, today released revealing new insights on how remote and hybrid work are impacting business operations, employee satisfaction, and customer retention for SMBs.
The survey of more than 300 SMB owners and senior leaders, conducted for Intermedia by Sapio Research, reveals that while many companies are moving into hybrid work models, SMBs that offer employees greater workstyle flexibility are seeing significant benefits that can positively impact the bottom line – including higher customer retention rates. Studies, such as a recent report by the National Business Research Institute, have shown a direct correlation between engaged employees and satisfied customers, and providing employees with greater flexibility as to where they work enables them to be more engaged and responsive when customers need them.
"Many studies have shown a direct link between employee satisfaction and customer retention,” said Elka Popova, Vice President and Senior Fellow, Frost & Sullivan. "A happy employee produces more positive customer interactions — they respond to inquiries quicker, they care more, and they are more protective of the company’s reputation. Investing in your employees makes a lot of business sense."
Flexibility or Bust
Not only does workplace flexibility affect customer retention, but the importance of a remote/hybrid work option being offered within an organization was also found to be a critical factor in employee retention. According to the study, SMB leaders reported that the main reason given by their employees for leaving their positions over the past 6 to 12 months (45%) was a lack of flexibility with fully remote/hybrid environment options.
It would appear, however, that most SMBs are not yet ready to go completely remote, as nearly three-quarters (72%) of the business leaders surveyed indicated it is important that their employees live within commuting distance of an office.
The Satisfaction Surge
Since the beginning of the fully remote/hybrid work revolution triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, 69% of the responding SMB leaders and owners believe remote and hybrid work have significantly improved their employees' job satisfaction. Employers report increased productivity as a result of the greater flexibility in where and how employees perform their jobs in remote and hybrid working environments.
This satisfaction isn’t limited to employees or business owners. Customer retention has risen since SMBs started offering fully remote/hybrid work environments, with nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) reporting their customer retention has increased since re-configuring their work environment. Respondents at companies that offered both* remote and hybrid environments reported a higher customer retention increase (79%) than those that offered only remote (62%) or only hybrid (57%) work options.
"The workplace evolution has created its own set of unique challenges for SMBs looking to grow operations and maintain a competitive advantage in today’s market, balanced against expectations from employees for greater flexibility in the way they work,” said Scott Anderson, Chief Marketing Officer of Intermedia. “As this research would appear to indicate, many business owners and decision makers who were once skeptical about productive work happening from wherever are now realizing the real benefits that offering workplace flexibility affords, including a marked increase in customer retention. Cloud communications solutions like the ones we deliver at Intermedia are built to enable customer care and employee collaboration from wherever work happens, be it the office, remote, or a hybrid of the two. As the findings suggest, offering flexibility in how and where work happens should no longer be seen as a luxury, but instead as a strategy that helps deliver better business performance."
The evolution of whenever, wherever work has led to a multitude of benefits that business leaders hope to build on when future-proofing their small and medium-sized businesses. Leaders say the shift has increased their employees’ availability, productivity, and focus - each by at least 59%.
"This report reinforces much of what we already know; remote and hybrid work aren’t some passing pandemic-era fads - they’re now part of the modern workplace architecture,” added Elizabeth Mye, Intermedia’s Senior Vice President of Human Resources. “Their impact on employee and business owner satisfaction isn’t wholly unexpected, but the influence on customer retention is compelling. The results are pretty clear - while not without challenges, longer-term remote and hybrid options should be in the conversation for any SMB."
Access the full survey results here.
About Intermedia Cloud Communications, Inc.
Intermedia is the cloud communications company that helps over 130,000 businesses connect better – through voice, video conferencing, chat, contact center, business email and productivity, file sharing and backup, security, archiving, and more – from wherever, whenever. We strive to eliminate the need for multiple communications service providers with a seamlessly integrated portfolio of communications and collaboration solutions – all delivered through one highly reliable and secure platform. With month-to-month contract options, one monthly bill, one intuitive point of administrative control, and six-years-running J.D. Power-certified 24/7 technical support, Intermedia is committed to providing enterprise-grade products to businesses of all sizes through a simple, Worry-Free ExperienceTM.
As a partner-first company, Intermedia goes to work for over 7,200 channel partners by providing a comprehensive set of programs, resources, and support to help them grow their revenue and maximize their success. Programs include our Customer Ownership Reseller (CORE™) model – which enables partners to resell, package, and manage Intermedia's solutions as if they were their own, while benefiting from highly attractive economic terms and maintaining ownership of their customer relationships – as well as agent models.
Intermedia is also proud to be the exclusive cloud communications platform provider for NEC, a leader in global market share for unified communications with an estimated 80+ million business phone users worldwide.
For more information about Intermedia, visit www.intermedia.com.
Hotwire for Intermedia
*base size is less than 100 respondents
Intermedia, Worry-Free Experience, and CORE are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Intermedia.net, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks, service marks, trade names, and copyrights used herein are the property of their respective owners.
J.D. Power 2021 Certified Assisted Technical Program, developed in conjunction with TSIA. Based on successful completion of an audit and exceeding a customer satisfaction benchmark for assisted support operations. For more information, visit www.jdpower.com or www.tsia.com.