4 out of 5 Swedish companies say outlook is bright for 2005

Sweden’s small and medium-size companies will have positive growth in 2005. This is the belief of 86 percent of the companies that were polled in Telia’s most recent “Communications Barometer” survey for enterprises. According to the respondents, better customer relations is the most important area for achieving higher growth.

The companies polled in the survey, which are customers of Telia, were also asked to forecast how their sales would develop next year. In Stockholm County, 81 percent believed that sales would increase, 86 percent in Västra Götaland County, 85 percent in Skåne County, and 80 percent in Norrland.

Improving customer relations was considered to be the most important area for achieving growth, responded 64 percent of the companies. Other important areas were enhancing the competence of employees (56 percent) and developing sales channels (31 percent).

“Today, communication tools are so well developed that companies can improve their customer relations considerably even by relatively simple means, by using, for example, SMS, e-mail or complete Web-based solutions,” says Erik Heilborn, head of the Business Segment at TeliaSonera Sweden.

The trade industry was most optimistic about the future: 87 of the companies in the survey believed their sales would increase during 2005. After trade came the manufacturing sector (84 percent), the media (84 percent) and tourism (83 percent). The transportation industry was the least optimistic, although many companies in this sector, 76 percent, still believed they would have a higher turnover in 2005.

The survey indicated that few companies utilize electronic channels today to improve customer relations. For example, only two out of ten companies in the survey had an e-commerce site where customers could buy products and services online. If we compare what companies do today with what they want to invest in for the future, the survey indicated that they will focus more on developing a website with an e-business function (increase of 25 percentage points), publish e-mail newsletters on a regular basis (increase of 25 percentage points) and arrange webcast meetings, in which several people can follow a presentation simultaneously (increase of 20 percentage points).

About Telia’s Communications Barometer survey for companies
In its Communications Barometer survey for companies, in a report titled “Growth and Investments”, Telia polled 2,687 people at companies on the subject of electronic communications. All of Sweden is represented in the survey. The respondents work at small and medium-size companies that are customers of Telia. The survey period was October 20-26, 2004. The entire report (in Swedish only) is available here as a download .