Honesty crucial amid cost-of-living crisis

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Communicating difficulties: Metro Bank advises SMEs to tell customers why price increases have been implemented (Credit: Getty/ skynesher)
Communicating difficulties: Metro Bank advises SMEs to tell customers why price increases have been implemented (Credit: Getty/ skynesher)

Related tags Finance Inflation Bbpa

Transparency is key for SMEs in navigating price increases as the cost-of-living crisis continues for both businesses and consumers, Metro Bank has stated.

Metro Bank advised business owners to explain the difficulties, from soaring cost increases ​to staff shortages​, to consumers in order to help pub goers understand why operators have been forced to rise prices and avoid alienating clients also feeling squeezed.

The community bank suggested SMEs should discuss why costs have had to increase to consumers through tools such as social media or notices throughout venues.

Flexibility is needed 

Furthermore, Metro stated licensees could consider cost-cutting methods, such as smaller portions, to avoid any drop in standards whilst maintaining a more manageable cost for customers, though this should also be communicated with clientele.

Metro Bank managing director distribution Ian Walters said: “We recognise this is a time when flexibility is needed to help our customers navigate the current climate.

“Straight talking, easy banking has never been more important. Dedicated local business managers are on hand within our communities to help our customers wherever they can.”

Metro Bank added consumers will undoubtedly expect price rises and so honesty, transparency and inclusion regarding the challenges currently faced by the sector could be the difference between creating customer loyalty despite growing expenses, or alienation. 

Rock and hard place 

This comes as last week saw inflation​ exceed 10% while a recent study​ by the Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) revealed almost half (48%) of businesses in the sector were barely breaking-even, with one in five firms at risk of not surviving the next 12 months.

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin OBE said: “Publicans are between a rock and a hard place, they need to cover their costs, but they also have customers who are tightening their belts, it’s completely unsustainable.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say what we are facing in terms of rising costs could have a worse impact than the pandemic in terms of business closures.

“We urgently need the Government to step in and implement an energy​ cap for small businesses and think about a long-term future strategy for our sector before even more businesses are forced to close their doors.”

Related topics Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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