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When consumers head online in search of business info, what are they looking for?

Business listings and review website TrueLocal compiled its 2014 business searches to date (from January to May 2014) and sheds light on the type of information businesses must have online to keep customers happy.

The information Australians want most at their fingertips relates to restaurant listings and reviews, hairdressers, mechanics, plumbers and then takeaways.

As to why consumers are seeking this info online, Bradley Taylor, spokesperson at TrueLocal said its generally when people don’t already have a go-to service that they can trust and call upon repeatedly.

“This suggests that the top searched businesses are the very ones that need to be doing more to attract customers and provide great service to keep them coming. The consumer demand is there, but many businesses are missing out by failing to engage at an online level and continue this drive through to customer service,” Taylor said.

The time of day and week people are searching is also important for businesses to note, as it’s crucial not schedule site-maintenance during these hours for example.

The report figures show that the peak time for business searches online is between Monday and Wednesday, and from 10am to 2pm. In addition, searches on mobile phone have increased by 15 per cent the past 12 months, reiterating the need for businesses to ensure they’re covered on all platforms.

“Australians will only be expecting more from their local services online and will increasingly want information and customer service when they’re on the go. Customer service begins at the online search. Local businesses need to keep up – or they may be left behind,” Taylor added.

As many businesses struggle to take the online experience beyond the search, the following tips from TrueLocal provide advice for businesses to improve their online presence and customer service:

  1. List preferred hours. In addition to your general opening times, try listing your peak business hours, especially for restaurants. Customers will know to contact you outside of those times to avoid waiting.
  1. Use online chat. Provide an online chat option, where customers ask you questions directly without having to pick up a phone. You would be surprised at how many customers prefer doing this.
  1. List on a high-ranking portal. Utilise business directories to create a deeper and more interactive experience by featuring ratings, reviews, comments and photos. This will also help increase your search engine optimisation.
  1. Promote your 24-hour number. If you’re a service with a 24-hour emergency service, make it highly visible on search engines and directories. If a customer is in a hurry to find you – they may not have time to open and read a website. Make it easy for them.
  1. Include a blog. Demonstrate to customers you’re an expert in your field. Include tips, experiences and photographs to make your business more personable.

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Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie Zillman

Stephanie is the editor-at-large of Dynamic Business. Stephanie brings with her a passion for journalism, business, and new ideas. On her days off, you might find her reading a book on the beach.

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