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Customer service is one area where small businesses can beat big-box competitors
By Matthew Boyle
With the economic outlook worsening by the day, corporations have been jettisoning employees at an alarming rate. In the fourth quarter alone, employers let go more than half a million workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But there are many other ways to cut costs, and in some instances a creative alternative can stave off a layoff. Only 2% of companies have used permanent layoffs as their sole cost-containment tactic, according to a February survey by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, so it's clear that alternatives like furloughs and pay freezes are being aggressively pursued. Here are some examples from companies big and small around the globe.