Yodle, a local online marketing firm, recently released results of an in-depth survey on consumer behavior and preferences related to local service businesses. The survey, “Yodle Insights: What Consumers Want from Local Businesses,” examines how consumers across the country find, choose, use and interact with local businesses, and what they would most like from them. As part of the national survey of 6,058 people, 673 customers of local auto repair shops were polled.
“We conducted this survey because we are committed to helping local businesses succeed,” said Paul Bascobert, president of local at Yodle. “Although this survey confirms that local businesses are embraced by consumers, the results highlight that there are untapped opportunities for them to reach more consumers and improve the customer experience.”
Key findings from the survey include:
- Local business revenue is expected to grow. Customers of local auto repair shops used them an average of 3.3 times in the previous 12 months. During the next year, almost half (48 percent) of consumers across all local service businesses plan to increase their use of local businesses. Less than 1 percent of survey respondents say they will decrease their use of local businesses over the next 12 months.
- Consumers want local auto repair shops to improve their websites. Sixty percent of customers would like to see local auto repair shops improve their websites over the next year, compared to 67 percent of consumers across all local service businesses who want to see this change. Desired changes include a better, new or mobile-friendly website.
- Consumers want more online communication from local auto repair shops. When asked about a variety of different types of communication such as service/appointment reminders and advice/helpful tips, both local auto repair shop customers and other consumers across the country identified a significant gap between what they’re currently getting from local businesses and what they’re open to receiving. Seventy-one percent of local auto repair shop customers would like to receive these communications via email or social media, compared to 76 percent of consumers across all local service businesses.
- Online reviews are expected, and satisfied consumers are happy to help out. Three-quarters of all consumers surveyed say that having reviews either gives a local business a competitive advantage (36 percent) or is expected (40 percent). However, less than 1 in 10 consumers (7 percent) have been asked to write a review of a local business even though the vast majority (89 percent) are willing to do so if they had a positive experience and were asked.
- Local auto repair shop customers need to have a comprehensive online presence. The majority of consumers of local auto repair shops (77 percent) use the Internet to find or research a business, compared to 75 percent of consumers of all local service businesses. In addition to search engines and websites, survey respondents are also using review sites and social media to identify the businesses they want to work with.
Quality of work is the top reason customers use their local auto repair shop. The three biggest reasons customers use their auto repair shop are quality of work (39 percent), trustworthiness (36 percent) and reliability (32 percent). The top three reasons that would cause customers to stop using their auto repair shop are a decline in the quality of work (59 percent), significant increase in pricing (42 percent) and not being treated fairly (38 percent).