There are times when small business owners think they know more about their customers than they actually do.  There has been no better example of this than a recent Telstra study published last month which asked questions of both business owners and consumers and received massively different results.  Unfortunately, even today when communication is at its height among businesses and customers, there seems to be a wide gap between what “customers say they want and what businesses think they want.”

According to the Telstra Small Business Intelligence Report, “of those surveyed 62 per cent of customers will stop considering a business if it is not listed online, while only 50 per cent of small businesses surveyed have a website.”  In addition to this, word of mouth for a business is not as big as many owners believe.  “while 76 per cent of small businesses surveyed stressed the importance of word-of-mouth referrals above all other forms of marketing, customers also ranked word of mouth highly at 71 per cent, but it came in third behind online search and online reviews.”

I myself was amazed at the lack of importance word of mouth garners in today’s age, but with the rise of online reviews, I can admit that I’ve trusted 5 star rankings of items above those I know. It appears as if the new age of consumer, business relationship truly is a digital one.  Another interesting point from the survey included the wasting of time offering 24/7 services may be.  According to the Canberra Times, 24/7 service did not rank high on their list for consumers.

The Telstra report “is based on two parallel surveys conducted in November of over 1000 small businesses and over 1000 consumers.”


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