News in brief: alternative funding, salaries, customer services

News in brief
News in brief

SMEs ditch ‘cumbersome’ banks in favour of alternative funding

Bank lending to the capital’s SMEs has plummeted 40% in the space of just a year, yet companies based in London raised an estimated £350 million through peer-to-peer lending in 2015, according to figures released by the British Bankers’ Association. The value of all newly approved loans and overdrafts to London SMEs in Q3 of 2015 was down 40% on 2014 totals, from £1.7bn to just over £1bn.

The average London SME has now less than £20,000 borrowed from their bank – a record low. In 2011 the average London business had £28,000in borrowings. .

Roz O’Brien is the Company Director of Pixel Projects, a technology business born and based in London. It provides cuttingedge audio visual installations to the world’s largest internet companies. “Working with banks can be a slower, cumbersome process; and that doesn’t always suit our business model”, said O’Brien. “The tech sector works quickly and efficiently, it’s a fast-paced environment; our funding setup needs to reflect that. We can’t wait on a bank’s response to a funding application.”

SMEs warned to expect staff to demand pay rises in 2016

UK office workers are the most likely in Europe to look for a new job if they request a pay rise but are turned down, according to new research by specialist recruitment firm Robert Half.

Key findings from the report include:

• More than half (54%) of UK employees plan to ask for a salary increase this year

• A quarter (24%) will look for a new job if they request a raise but are turned down

• Just over a third (36%) would wait for the next performance review for a salary increase

Robert Half UK MD Phil Sheridan said: “From an employer’s point of view, it’s important to keep a regular eye on salary and other remuneration trends to ensure that your top performers are being rewarded in line with industry benchmarks. Reviewing your employee’s remuneration package alongside their career development and potential progression within the business will support retention efforts."

Growing significance for social media as a customer services tool

An increasing number of consumers are turning to social media first to voice complaints, have complicated situations resolved, and even in the case of a crisis, according to new research from Echo Managed Services.

Almost onein five people (18%) use social media as first preference to voice a complaint, over other contact channels including phone, face to face, email and web chat.

Social media would also be first preference for 13% of respondents who would use the channel to request information and a further 14% to make a booking. The research also revealed that almost one in three (29%) consumers would move their custom elsewhere if they encountered poor service.

Experts from Echo are now urging companies to reassess where the social media function sits within their organisation, recommending prime responsibility should sit with the team best equipped to handle customer enquiries – most likely the customer services team, rather than marketing.