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It seems to be the way of the world, when companies looking for a service partners, tend to look for the larger companies, instead of looking at the local businesses.

I can understand this to a point if the service is one which needs to cover multiple regions. However, if it is a locally based decision then why not have a look at the smaller locally run businesses.

I have seen it time and time again, that a decision for a company to move suppliers has been made by the hierarchy. It would seem that these individuals do not have any understanding of the process operationally or the relationship between their company and the supplier and solely based the move on the cost, not the standard of service being given or knowledge of the partner.

They seem to not care about the service element and it does not even matter if the previous company has outperformed all expectations. They believe that the bigger company will provide a better service, at a cheaper rate.

This is not always the case:

For example, KFC thought they would save money, and move to a large distribution company, which failed miserably. KFC lost millions and still are losing money today and ended up going back to the original supplier.

I have been in Records Management (document storage) for many years and have seen this happen time and time again. Companies are drawn to the big names. This is not from a recommendation or have been provided great stats, but purely on the size of the company and how cheap it would seem that they can offer the service.

I can tell you from experience when this happens not only does it upset the company and procedures, but it has often proven to be the wrong decision. Just because the company is large and able to offer cheaper rates, it does not mean they give a great service.

The larger companies in this trade seem to have hidden charges and once you are with them, there is no easy way of moving away.

One charge that is overlooked in the document storage world by the customer is the permanently withdrawn (perm out) charge. This is the charge that is levied against the customer if they want to move their boxes out of storage.

I have seen charges from some of the larger companies that have been so high that the customer must pay a fortune to move their boxes. In one instance it was nearly £6 a box to move out from storage. This is enforced so you can not move, even if the service is poor. Can you imagine as a small company storing 100 boxes, you would have to find £600 just to move out of storage, without any other charges involved? I have recently spoken to smaller businesses who really do not like the service they get from their service partner but are unable to move due to this charge. Could you afford it? So, make sure you read the contract and understand all charges before signing.

So, it may be that some of the larger companies may not be as accommodating as the smaller local companies.

My daughter took her car to our local garage as she needed help to replace a front headlight bulb. They changed it for her, and when she went to pay they told her not to worry about it.  Do you think you would have had this kind of service from a main dealer, from experience I can say NO.

The smaller companies have more passion, determination to get it right and show more respect to their customers and employees. Through these small actions come referrals and recommendations. Of course, the actual work has to be of a good standard in the first place, you can’t get by with just giving token gestures and a bad service,  but for those companies that do get it right, small gestures like these make them even more special.

At SMB Records Management , we always go the extra mile where we can. We do not hide or levy any ridiculously high charges. We are honest, flexible, accommodating and always looking at ways to improve our service. We do not have outrageous perm out charges, so if the customer feels they need to move, they can without a substantial costs to them.

We rely on the customers being happy with the service we provide, and if they are happy, why would they move?

We are aiming for a happy long-term relationship with our customers. To date, I can honestly say we have kept all our customers.

We are not large enough to buy or customers like the larger RM companies, however, we will assist and support where we can and give the odd goodwill gesture when needed.

So, if you have an opportunity to support your local UK companies why not give them a chance and help them and your area grow.

The best COMPLIMENT from a customer is a referral.