From the Schedulicity study of the Relational Economy, a poll of the owners of several hundred small business, Rieva Lesonsky pulls out a number of interesting points of reflection on customer service:

“Finding new customers” ranked as the number-one business challenge for entrepreneurs in the survey, followed by “business growth” and “customer retention.” When asked how they feel about the challenges they’re facing, “frustrated” was the most common answer.

Asked what types of tools would help them better handle their business challenges and build customer relationships, about one-fourth (27 percent) cited “better advertising tools” and 21 percent said they need better customer communication tools.

It’s not that small business owners aren’t putting effort into customer relationships—they are. In fact, about half spend between one and three hours a day managing customer communications. However, only 18 percent think their current customer communications methods are “very effective.”