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Most US consumers would lost trust in a business that had incorrect or inconsistent contact details online, reports BrightLocal. And the problem appears to be quite extensive: 71% of the survey’s respondents reported having felt the effect of inaccuracies found online, such as having called a wrong phone number or arrived at a location when it was closed.

The results bring to mind a study from 2013, which at the time found that half of small businesses failed to update their online listings, and half had seen inaccurate listings for their businesses.

In this latest study the most common negative situation experienced by consumers in response to an inaccurate listing was calling a wrong phone number (36% having done so in the past year). Sizable proportions also claimed to have contacted or visited a business only to find that it didn’t offer the product or service they said it did (25%) or arrived at a business too early or late because the opening hours were wrong (24%).

Interestingly enough, Millennials (18-34) were far more likely than Boomers (55+) to have experienced all of the described situations, perhaps as they’re more apt to be searching for businesses online.

The resulting loss in trust seems to be due to a key point: consumers blame the local business (31%) more than the directory or listing site (18%) for the inaccuracies, though most blame them equally (51%).

If they were unable to find the location of a local business because the address online was incorrect, most would try to confirm the address by phone (43%) or online (16%). But a sizable share would go to an alternative business nearby (15%), look online for an alternative (14%) or abandon their search altogether (12%), per the report.

The study indicates that a majority, despite some variations by age or gender, agree that incorrect information in online directories could stop them from using a local business. One thing seems for sure: it’s frustrating, according to virtually all (93%) respondents.

About the Data: The results are based on a representative survey of 1,025 US-based consumers conducted in March 2018.

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