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Customers are looking for digitally prepared entrepreneurs - turns out from Telekom’s survey on consumers expectations

Budapest, October 20, 2020 13:30

It is becoming more and more typical that we are looking for specialists or mechanics on the internet from whom we expect an increased digital presence, testifying their reliability - according to NRC's latest representative survey prepared for Telekom. Although quick feedback represents great value, transparency is even more appreciated by interviewees in a survey assessing SMEs reactions to the first wave of the pandemic.

Website, user reviews, online availability, transparent pricing and fees - these are the critical factors that weigh in most when choosing an entrepreneur, concludes NRC in its latest representative research prepared for Telekom.

Web search instead of local publications

The survey shows that the internet has now become a commonly used platform for finding service providers: 54% of respondents search online and only 21% leaf through local newspapers, publications. More and more people use smartphones to search the web, according to a survey recently published on NMHH’s website: three-quarters of people above the age of 14 already have a smartphone and the proportion of internet users is the same, with 60% subscribing to mobile internet.

NRC's research also reveals that the majority of respondents (57%) rely on family and friend recommendations when searching for an entrepreneur, and these recommendations by acquaintances, based on personal experience, often go hand in hand with the internet: entrepreneurs collect user feedback on their websites the same way as business sites on Facebook, or special platforms such as Google Maps or Foursquare. One may conclude that in addition to the advice of acquaintances, the internet is generally used by respondents to make the right decision: 44% of them do not trust service providers at all if they do not find a favorable online opinion.

We want to see the prices

Whether they need a beautician or a washing machine mechanic, respondents appreciate if entrepreneurs show their rates on their online interface: more than 55% of them have identified this as a primary consideration when choosing a new service provider. It is important for 40% of the respondents to be able to order a product or service online from a small business while they do not even expect the business to have its own website.  Being first is not necessarily a guarantee of success: the majority of respondents do not contact the service provider they find first; 54% of the survey participants consider multiple options before making the first contact.

If, on the other hand, the business has a website, potential customers like to see a lot of up-to-date information about the service, but an even more serious challenge for SMEs is that 90% of those surveyed want a response to queries quickly, within one day at the latest. Many require an even quicker feedback, within an hour if possible, for which SMEs already have well-established tools such auto-reply messages or a chatbot integrated into the website.

Everyone benefits from digital devices

“The research carried out this spring, following the first wave of the pandemic, showed that the more digital solutions an SME used, the less it was shaken by the crisis,” said István Iski, Telekom’s SMB area’s director. According to him, the current survey confirms that there is a growing consumer demand for the achievements of digital transformation, accelerated by the epidemic situation. In addition, these tools benefit both consumers and businesses: for example, a service provider that encourages the sharing of positive customer experience not only builds or strengthens its own digital reputation, but also provides useful information for future searchers for its services.

“Telekom provides innovative technologies and modern tools for digital transformation, but according to István Iski, successful transformation requires more than that: for example such customer feedback that can be gained from the current research, showing the importance of online presence, continuous exchange of professional experience, visibility, sharing best practices and pitfalls, in other words a platform where entrepreneurs can connect with other entrepreneurs. The Telekom Hello Biznisz Klub site provides an inspiring medium for this in addition to online space and a database.

János Klenovszki, managing director of NRC preparing the research, thinks that online presence is no longer a competitive advantage but a prerequisite for a small business to survive. “However, increased digital operation creates new challenges for managers, so it is very important for SMEs to precisely assess the expectations of their target group: in terms of website content, digital developments, communication channels and content” - he added.

In the 800-person survey, which is representative of Hungarian internet users by gender, age, education and type of residence, people between the age of 18-65 were interviewed with the use of an online questionnaire.