Research That Rings True For Business

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We’ve been looking at how we drive new business – how we plan next year’s marketing and what works best. And that means we’ve looked at everything. For example, how do people decide which company or service supplier to use? Recommendation, naturally, and reviews, but what if neither of those is available?

The chances are that they’ll do an internet search – and then you have a whole set of criteria on which to make a decision on which business to go with. A straw poll of a certain London-based uniform designer’s office revealed some interesting views:

‘It depends whether I like the name of the business.’

‘The design of the ad or website is important. A good-looking ad means they have taken care.’

‘I won’t go to anywhere that has a spelling mistake in the ad.’ (Ok, that was me)

So we were interested to see some research which cites an important factor in the decision-making process: that customers are six times more likely to call a landline number than a mobile. It’s an instinctive reaction, which is all about the sense of credibility that having a landline as well as a mobile number seems to represent. Professor Vince Mitchell, from the Cass Business School at City University London explains that it implies confidence and trust “that the business is doing well enough to afford a separate business landline and therefore is more likely to have existing happy customers”.

The research didn’t cover the 0800, 0870, 0845 collection of numbers, but we’d bet that clients are pretty wary of those too. Does everyone know which are free and which aren’t? And which are free from landlines, but not mobiles? Consumer champion Which? tries to unravel this in its useful set of guidelines to explain the charges.

All good, but do the same principles apply in a B2B situation? The number of people phoning us to make enquiries has decreased dramatically over the past few years, but – get this – our US clients often prefer to call. This may be cultural, or it may be something to do with the fact that we have a toll-free number in the US, but our perception is that the USA is much more internet-averse.

Who would have thought it?

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