BrightLocal, the 13-year-old local UK-based search agency pushes out interesting research from time to time. The latest BrightLocal data drop, Business Listings Trust Report 2021: How Do Consumers Use Business Directories?, offers a current look at how consumers use directories.
The consumer survey for this report is based on a sample of 1,141 U.S. consumers. BrightLocal conducted the survey in August 2021 using Survey Monkey’s consumer panel. We’d describe the data as affirming rather than enlightening or alarming. Here are some of the key data points:
- 94 percent of consumers used a business information site to find a local business
Almost 50 percent of those using a business information site used it to find a business they had previously used. This used to be called “name search” in the days of printed directories. This is often a miss for local business owners who believe, incorrectly, all of their best and most loyal consumers know exactly how to find them. On the contrary, business owners should consider making sure their accurate information is out there so that whenever and wherever prospects or existing customers are looking, they’ll find accurate information.
- 91 percent of consumers used Google during a 12 month period
That’s hardly a surprise since it could be any number of entry points into the Google local results — search page, maps, Waze, etc. That is a dominant share indeed. More interesting is that Facebook holds the number two position with a 48% usage share. It is odd to think of Facebook as a business listing source, but quite clearly many consumers do. A site like Tripadvisor garners 17 percent but we’d expect that number to be fairly high — perhaps 60 plus percent — for travel-related searches.
Consumers have a high expectation of accurate information. And 73 percent of consumers expect the businesses’ website to have the “most” accurate information. Alternatively, only 43 percent of consumers expect social sites and online directories to be accurate. That is a pretty low bar indeed.
Listings Inaccuracy a Deal Breaker
So how important is accuracy? Very important. Almost two-thirds of consumers (63%) said that finding inaccurate or incorrect information would stop them from choosing a business.
The information that is most detrimental to the “trust” of a business listing is oddly the phone number. We would have thought either the wrong physical address or business hours would have the most impact on trust. Interestingly, 76 percent of respondents arrived at a business too early or too late due to incorrect information on a businesses’ website.
Here’s the thing. There are plenty of services to keep the accuracy of business listings as up-to-date as possible. But beyond that, chat is extremely effective in providing a consumer with the most up-to-date information. Chat has the advantage of being essentially real-time. That means a question about the availability of a product or a store opening or closing time can be addressed almost instantly.
We think listings accuracy is table stakes for building trust. To us, real trust is built one customer interaction at a time. One authentic experience after another.
In today’s world of technology, it seems odd to us that we’re still struggling with business listing accuracy. Does it seem odd to you too?