The relationship consumers have with local small business owners is much more personal. And this relationship extends to the way they communicate. According to the latest report from BrightLocal , 60% of customers prefer to call small businesses on the phone .
The report, titled, “Local Business Websites and Google My Business Comparison Report” was part of a national consumer survey. The goal of the survey was to find out how Google My Business  (GMB) listings, local business websites, and business directories are used to find information about local businesses.
Additionally, BrightLocal was looking to determine which sources of information consumers trust most.
For small business owners, these are insightful revelations. Knowing how customers like communicating and which source they trust most can provide the best experience for their customers.
The author of the report, Rosie Murphy pointed out the different sources consumers use to find information. Murphy added, “With many consumers now looking beyond websites, it’s critical that local businesses have their contact details correct and consistent across the web.”
Without the correct contact details, your customers can’t call you or find further information about your business.
Customer Contact Statistics
BrightLocal asked 500 U.S. consumers in this survey. One of the questions was, how do you prefer to contact the business?
More than half or 60% said they call the business over the phone followed by email with 16%, and 15% of people who visit the actual location of the business.
When the respondents were asked about their best single option, the phone was the preferred choice. With that in mind, making sure all of your phone lines are in working order is important.
According to Murphy, you have to make sure numbers are the same across all your touch points. This includes a website, social media, directories, and any local sources (digital or physical).
Having the right number is the first step. Next, you have to ensure the phones are staffed, so anytime a customer calls during business hours there is someone there to answer. If you can afford an answering service after hours, this is a good way to improve your customer service.
Murphy also recommends installing digital solutions to introduce more efficiency. Using tracking tools to know where your calls are coming from and Google’s CallJoy are two of many options.
More Survey Results
Just as important as the contact information is having accurate information across the board. Fifty-six percent of the respondents said they expect the business website to have the most accurate and up-to-date contact information. Google My Business was next at 32%, followed by an online business directory with 12%.
Consumers are less likely to use a business if contact information is out of date (50%), the information is poorly written (39%), and pricing information is also wrong.
Not having prices, images, reviews, map, or if the website is not optimized for mobile will discourage consumers to do business.
When it comes to finding a business, GMB was the preferred source. Close to two thirds or 62% said they use GMB to find a local business phone number and address. The business website (49%), an online business directory (23%) and others (13%) also served the same purpose.
Two Key Takeaways
The first takeaway is to make sure all of your contact information is as accurate as possible, at all times. Get into the habit of checking the information on a regular basis. After all, there are a large number of consumers (up to 50% in some cases) who will go elsewhere.
The second takeaway from the BrightLocal report is to be on as many touch points as possible. Granted the business website and Google My Business work well, but people use other sources. In this survey, 36% said online business directory and other sources.