According to a recent report by ICM Research, the vast majority of consumers surveyed have little to no confidence in businesses that use free webmail email addresses or mobile phone numbers as their primary form of contact.
At least 40% of consumers responding to the survey stated that the web was their first port of call when looking for or investigating a business or product.
This clearly outlines the importance of the internet in consumer shopping habits, highlighting the importance of establishing an online presence with a reputable email address and phone number.
The survey by ICM examined what factors might affect consumer impressions of small businesses. Over 50% of respondents stated that they tended to trust firms that used dedicated business email addresses and landline telephone numbers.
Many new systems have been tailored to help small businesses. For example, online telephone systems such as Skype have allowed small businesses to use a landline without the expense of installing expensive new hardware.
Professional email addresses are equally inexpensive to setup and can be purchased for a few pounds from many domain sellers online.