New data by TrueLocal reveals the everyday services Australians most want at their fingertips – and why local businesses need to offer more online.
A trusted source of business listings and reviews, with an average of 3.3 million business searches a month, TrueLocal compiled its 2014 business searches to date (from January to May 2014). Among the five most searched everyday services across Australia, it’s the nation’s foodies that are seeking more with restaurants topping the list, followed by hairdressers, mechanics, plumbers and then takeaways.
Restaurants remained the number one searched service in six states, excluding Victoria and NT. However, all states were unanimous in their demand for hairdressers, mechanics and takeaways, with all three ranking in their top five searches.
Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia are the most image-conscious states, with beauty salons coming in their top five searches. Queenslanders, however, appear to be swapping their Shellac for road trips, with petrol stations knocking beauty salons out of their top five. Surprisingly, South Australia appears to be a region of coffee connoisseurs, not wine, with the State being the only one with cafes in its top five searches.
Bradley Taylor, spokesperson at TrueLocal explains what the findings mean for local businesses: “People search online when they 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.”
The time of day and week just as crucial, Brad says: “Our figures show that the peak time for business searches online is between Monday and Wednesday, and from 10am to 2pm. This is when businesses need to ensure they can be found online and are on call. In addition, searches on TrueLocal by mobile phone have increased by 15% the past 12 months. Businesses need to act now to ensure that 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.”
Knowing that many businesses struggle to take the online experience beyond the search, Brad provides five tips to help businesses improve their online presence and customer service:
- 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.
- 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.
- List on a high-ranking portal. Utilise business directories such as like TrueLocal to create a deeper and more interactive experience by featuring ratings, reviews, comments and photos. This will also help increase your search engine optimisation.
- 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.
- Include a blog. Demonstrate to customers you’re an expert in your field. Include tips, experiences and photographs to make your business more personable.
For interviews and more information, please contact Suzanne Colville, 0406 050 381