The results showed that 92 per cent of people check a company’s website before making a purchase, with 45 per cent admitting to avoiding a business if it doesn’t use business email.
Of those surveyed, 56 per cent say they would be more likely to use a small business if they have a professional-looking website. Consumer attitude to image is everything, it seems.
For most people, a well-designed website conveys greater accessibility (53 per cent), professionalism (41 per cent) and clarity (51 per cent) about what the business offers.
Nearly all respondents agreed that after-sales care is important in deciding whether or not to revisit a local business. Significantly, 63 per cent of people admitted that they are deterred from using the same company again if they’ve experienced poor after-sales care.
Tim Kimber, Office Live product manager at Microsoft UK, comments: ‘A professional image is crucial to consumers when choosing a local supplier. In particular, a local firm’s online presence – be that through its website or email contact – is a vital factor in conveying professionalism, which is what attracts customers to that specific business.’
If smaller businesses are to grow and compete with larger companies it is important to appear professional.
According to Microsoft, Office Live Small Business is a piece of web-based software that can help local firms achieve a professional image. For further information please visit: www.officelive.co.uk