Running a local business is unique in that every day you get real, genuine opportunities to connect with your customers. You know their names, you may even know what they’re going to order before they say it – but do you really know what they want? A recent Yodle survey gives us new insights on what your local business customers really want from you.
Yodle is a marketing platform for local businesses, offering assistance with websites, local search, customer reviews, email marketing and social media for over 50,000 local businesses. They conducted a survey of over 6,000 consumers in April, 2015 titled, “Yodle Insights: What Consumers Want from Local Business,” in order to find out what local business customers want – and therefore how local businesses can answer those needs to grow their businesses and accumulate more loyal customers.
So what do local business customers want? Some of the survey’s key findings reveal that:
- Customers want to connect with you online.
When asked what changes they would like to see local businesses make, the top response was website improvements, including adding features such as online booking and payments. They are also ready for you to up your communication game. Respondents say they are open to more communication than local businesses are currently offering, such as service/appointment reminders and advice/tips.
- Customers want more deals and offers.
Over half of the respondents in the survey say that special offers set local businesses apart from the competition. They would love to see local businesses provide more special offers, especially those that reward their loyalty.
- Customers want online reviews.
Online reviews aren’t only desired – 40% of respondents say that online reviews are expected. Three-quarters (75%) of customers go online to research a business before they make a choice, and reviews are a powerful tool that can help your local business stand out. If you don’t have many online reviews right now, maybe you should start asking. The study found that the majority of customers (89%) are willing to write a review after a positive experience with a local business, but only 7% have ever been asked to do so.
- Customers want you to embrace your differences from national chains.
Are you still trying to compete with national chains on pricing? The survey suggests that local businesses can do better if they compete on quality and service, not on price. 77 percent of respondents say that national chains offer better pricing; however, local businesses win out on a number of other important factors including personalizing service (96%), being trustworthy (91%), overall customer service (88%), quality (86%), reliability (79%) and quality of staff (75%). Although pricing does matter, many customers say they are willing to pay more because of these benefits of choosing local businesses.
One final trend from the survey – customers are using and loving their local businesses. 82 percent of consumers have used a local business in the last year, and 48% intend to use local businesses even more in the next 12 months. Local businesses are doing excellent in today’s economy, and now you can use the results of this survey to make important improvements that give you an even greater edge on the competition.