Home Articles Where Internet trumps word-of-mouth, and (pretty much) everything else

Where Internet trumps word-of-mouth, and (pretty much) everything else


Whoever doesn’t need help finding a good electrician, or plumber? But word-of-mouth – once the method of choice – is passé. People apparently turn to the Internet, instead, and trust it more, too.

A survey by Oneflare.com – itself a network that links service providers with consumers – reveals that people overwhelmingly favour the Web for its many, and obvious, features. For example, users have more choices, and the greater likelihood of providing quality providers via user ratings, and can seek and compare quotes. So much so, the survey of 1,300 Australians found that users trust the Internet more than friends and family when it comes to picking local service providers.

A high 82 per cent of Australians surveyed said they were “extremely likely” to trust a search engine to identify a local service provider, compared with only 23% that were “extremely likely’ to ask friends and family for recommendations.

Just about everything for that boring chore

Local papers and classifieds, yesteryear’s treasure trove, fared even worse. Only 9 per cent said they were “extremely likely” to eye these sources for local services. Even Yellow Pages are becoming less useful.

“The survey results…show some interesting insight into just how people are using the web to find these local businesses and individuals,” said co-founder and CEO Marcus Lim. “We’re seeing a huge spike in demand for local businesses, and its clear that consumers now realise the benefits of dealing with open work histories, prior customer reviews, transparent pricing and quoting, and ease of use.”

Lim believes innovations beyond simple search engines have helped win Australians’ confidence and trust.

“No more trawling through the Yellow Pages, scouring for that pamphlet, or going through endless pages of search results without really knowing if the provider is the right fit for you,” he said. Besides, networks like Oneflare provide a guarantee on the home services and prices.

Here are some other major findings of Oneflare.com’s survey:

  • More women than men use online searches for getting home services  –  52 per cent vs 48 per cent.
  • Homes with two or more people account for 90% of home service needs. Of those, dual-occupancies account for 33 per cent of online searches.
  • 94 per cent seek 3-5 quotes per job and compare quotes before making a purchase decision. Price (56.8 per cent), followed by customer reviews (41.25 per cent), are the two important factors that determine decisions. Others are business rating (28.37 per cent) and photos of previous work (17.25 per cent).
  • 99 per cent found information such as businesses’ professional licenses, customer reviews, insurance information and business registration (ABN) extremely useful in making their decisions.
  • 60 per cent prefer to pay online