Hard sell and lack of experience are top supplier turn-offs for UK businesses

A new survey has revealed that UK businesses are being let down by bad supplier practices.

In the last six months nearly half (47%) of businesses have been left frustrated by a supplier failing to provide a quote as promised.   Pushy ‘hard sell’ tactics (44%), and inexperienced suppliers failing to answer their questions (37%), came a close second and third in a catalogue of basic and avoidable errors that are, arguably, in turn hindering the UK’s economic recovery.

The survey was carried out by Signs Express, the UK’s largest sign company; which commissioned an independent research company to poll more than 1000 businesses in the UK.

Craig Brown, managing director of Signs Express, says: “This survey flags up some quite shocking statistics. Considering that today’s business world is facing so many challenges it is surprising that so many suppliers are behaving in a way that is unprofessional, unhelpful and that clearly alienates the very businesses that they need to attract. Suppliers need to stop letting down businesses if the economy is to get back on its feet.

“On a positive note, the survey also revealed that three quarters (75%) of UK businesses believe it is important to ‘buy local’ when it comes to purchasing goods and services. This is excellent news because it clearly shows that businesses want to support their local economy.

“We hoped that this research would help us to better understand the priorities and concerns of UK businesses – our customers – and of course to gain insight on their opinions and needs regarding signage and graphics. However we were really surprised by the statistics generated in the area of really poor basic levels of customer service being delivered by suppliers.

“As a supplier ourself, one that strives for excellence in all areas of customer interaction across our network of over 75 centres in the UK and Ireland; these results have really been a wake-up call that we all need to continue to pull our weight when it comes to delivering outstanding service. These reports of hard selling, of not delivering quotes a promised and not answering questions have the potential to cause serious damage to businesses’ bottom lines and the economy as a whole,” concludes Craig Brown.

For more information about Signs Express visit: www.signsexpress.co.uk

Rebecca Dack

Marketing & PR Manager

01603 625925



Signs Express Ltd, Franchise Headquarters, The Old Church, St Matthews Road, Norwich, NR1 1SP

Notes to editors:

With over 75 centres nationwide, Signs Express is firmly established as the UK and Ireland’s leading signs and graphics franchise. Launched in 1989 Signs Express has developed into a first class signage business and franchise network serving the length and breadth of the UK as well as the Republic of Ireland.

A member of the British Franchise Association, Signs Express is uniquely positioned to provide a wide range of signs and graphics to businesses both large and small. Enjoying a national reputation for providing quality products and supreme customer service, Signs Express combines total coverage with local knowledge to offer its clients the most effective sign solutions.

Signs Express National Business Survey headline results:

The following data is derived from 1000 businesses polled.

Q) Which of the following have you experienced over the past six months? Select all that apply

Supplier not providing a quote as promised


Supplier trying to push a sale with 'the offer ends today' or similar


A clearly inexperienced supplier who can't answer your questions


A bill has exceeded the estimate supplied


Supplier turning up late for an agreed appointment


Supplier not turning up for an agreed appointment


Supplier not bothering to find out anything about your business


Supplier behaving in an over-friendly/inappropriately familiar manner


Supplier looking scruffy or unprofessional


None of these


Don’t know




Q) What frustrates you most about suppliers? Select the three that are most important

Hard sell: Trying to push a sale with 'the offer ends today' or similar


When they are clearly inexperienced in their own trade and can't answer your questions


Not providing a quote as promised


Not turning up for an agreed appointment


Exceeding their estimate


Ill-prepared: Haven't bothered to find out anything about your business


Turning up late for an agreed appointment


Acting in an over-friendly/inappropriately familiar manner


Looking scruffy or unprofessional




Don’t know





About Us

Signs Express is the UK & Ireland's largest sign company with over 75 centres nationwide. Each Signs Express sign production centre includes its own sign making equipment and climate controlled vehicle application bay to fulfil business signs and local authority signs including vehicle graphics, interior and exterior signs, banners, exhibition displays and health and safety signs. Signs Express is a member of the British Sign & Graphics Assocation and is a leading franchise; a full member of the British Franchise Association and Irish Franchise Association.


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