Many local businesses are losing revenue opportunities because of inadequate access, poor/no responses to initial enquiries, non-adherence to appointment times, indifferent service standards and a lack of follow-up.
Price discounting and major global competitors are secondary issues.
Profit from invaluable insights.
Australians are turning off loyalty and preference to local small businesses.
Australian consumers have long exhibited preferences for, and loyalty to local small businesses.
Not any longer.
A widespread, general positive predisposition is now tempered with an intolerance and rejection of poor access, slow responses, non-adherence to appointment times and a lack of follow-up.
The findings of a study among loss consumers in six capital cities during September revealed that 43% respondents had in the previous month terminated an initial contract, because of the unanswered telephone or on-line enquiry.
A further 18% reported no responses to requests that were left on message-bank or on-line.
Disturbingly, a total of 61% interviewees were qualified in their expectations about local small businesses adhering to appointment and delivery times.
Significantly, a total 71% of consumers stated that they “always” or “usually” included local businesses in their consideration for purchases or services.
Competitive prices of local business and service providers were considered to be a secondary, and second phase factor in their selection and decision-making process.
A total 31% of respondents expected, and were accepting of a 10-15% premium when dealing with a local business. The promise of personalised service was considered to be a key value matric.
KEY SELECTION CRITERIA
The key attributes which provided appeal preference at value when dealing with local business were identified to be:
- Ready, immediate access
- Prompt, immediate responses
- Personalised interaction – with service provider
- Adherence to time-specific appointments
- Availability of recognised recommended brands
- Relatively competitive pricing
- Immediate in supply time
- Assured service follow-up
Noticeably, only “relatively competitive pricing” received an average majority positive rating (on a 5-point scale) by the 1055 respondents.
Therefore, price is not a key issue in the loss of sales and service potential.
Sixty one percent of people seeking to purchase a substantial product stated that they typically undertook a buying routine which included on-line search platforms.
For trades, maintenance and service skills, on-line retrieval of information totalled an average 68%. It was noticeable that local business names were typically recognised by less than 14% of potential customers.
Lead researcher, Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus, said:
“It is evident from these findings that much of the loss in business opportunities for small businesses is self-induced.
Poor, inconsistent access and responses to consumer enquiries are significant filters and barriers, which materially contribute to very qualified expectations.
Consumers generally have a positive pre-disposition to local businesses and services. However, tolerance of sub-optimal standards is low.
Time and timeless are key components of what the consuming public identify to be value.
Major national and global competitors with the advantages of more advertising, presence and price competitiveness, were generally considered to be secondary, and second-tier purchase considerations.
In short, overall Australian small businesses need to lift their game, and to do it immediately.”
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