“Fool Me Once, Shame on You. Fool Me Twice, Shame on ME.”

I read a report stating 80% of consumers lose trust in local businesses because they see incorrect or inconsistent business details online. That’s a WHOPPING 80%. That’s eight in ten customers. Now with COVID-19 this problem has become even more challenging. What days are you open, what’re your hours, what’s the new menu? “Enquirers want to know, I want to know.” – Your Customer.

Why is the accurate information of your business important (besides potentially losing customers)? It’s not just because the frustrations your customers are experiencing. If the information of your business’ name, address, and phone number are wrong, you will have negative results in the digital world with search engines as well (They Cyberspace / Matrix). Then back in the real-world, leave your customers Glazed and Confused.

For small businesses that are already experiencing so many challenges with COVID, getting this information right is critically important, but mistakes can easily happen. In its 2018 Local Citations Trust Report report, BrightLocal says, “Due to human and program error, mistakes and inaccuracies can slip in and provide a very different experience than intended.”

The Trust Report was carried out in March 2018 with a representative sample of 1,025 US-based consumers. The survey looked at gender and ages 18-34, 35-54, 55+ to determine how trends differed within this demographic. (That’s nice to know so you can compare with your client demographics).

So you get that 8 of 10 people can lose faith in a business where they feel shopping can be like Russian Roulette since a business may or may not be open. What makes matters worse, 90% say the inaccurate information causes added frustrations. At a time when competition is so fierce, these frustrated patrons are now looking across the street for different options. We all know that say:

“Fool Me Once, Shame on YOU. Fool Me Twice, Shame on ME.” Now a business may have needlessly lost a customer.

The report states, only 24 percent of consumers will call a business before going to visit. This has probably gone up a lot with COVID which brings up another problem. Business owners are on the phone more or social media and can miss calls that are on hold too long. Have you ever called a restaurant only to have it ring and ring and then go to voicemail? I have. This means 76 percent of consumers are relying on the information available online or a responsive social media interaction. And a negative experience with trying to get in touch with your business is not a great way to make a lasting first impression.

Have you recently moved? Changed phone numbers, email, updated social media page? It’s even worse for businesses with the wrong contact information. Sixty-eight percent of consumers said they stop using local businesses because of the wrong information on the online directories. Another 40 percent said they would give up looking local businesses they couldn’t find because the address was wrong online. So that means only 10% of consumers are okay with the incorrect or outdated information online.

It’s Free, It’s Easy. Be Nike. Just Do It!

It’s hard enough running a small business. There are more things to do than hours in the day. Some tasks easy, others hard. However, making sure your business information is correct so consumers can support you, buy from you, should be a priority. By simply making sure your contact information is current/up to date, you can prevent a lot of confusion and frustration consumers face. Making buying from your business fun and easy, not an obstacle course.

The BrightLocal report concludes, “The blame for incorrect local citations tends to lie with the business. These errors can be reason enough to deter potential customers, and sometimes even send them into the arms of competitors.”

Now: What are some of the most common areas where you business and services provided information should be current. It is best to have maximum coverage on these platforms as it increases your chances of being found online.
For starters, here’s a list of ten sites your business information needs to appear on:

Google (Google My Business)
Bing
Yahoo
Facebook
Yelp
YellowPages
Whitepages
LinkedIn
Chamber of Commerce
Foursquare
Your Website

So, here’s a business-information-checklist to help you out.
NAP: Name, address, phone number
Company Website
Working Hours
Products Offered
Services Offered
Payment Methods
Business Specialties

Spend some time and go through all of these to update your business info. Times are tough. Lions, Tigers, and COVID. Oh My! You may have to change the information several times and continue updating as your products/services change. It is time consuming, but like the late night infomercial, “You Set it and Forget it!”

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