Recently, Keap (formerly, Infusionsoft) conducted a nationwide client service expectations study that surveyed 3,000 individuals who hire service-based small businesses (ranging from electricians to pet groomers). Their goal was to measure those attributes customers consider good or bad service, and how their expectations are being met by small businesses.


How customers find service-based providers

Family and friends are, by far, the most powerful influencer of purchasing decisions by others. The survey results display just how important it is to create an experience that results in loyal clients who will refer people to your business.

62% | Recommendations from someone a customer knew
33% | Met with the potential provider to discuss project and budget
28% | Reviewed the service provider’s website
27% | Searched online using relevant keywords
26% | Compared estimates from multiple providers
23% | Used online recommendation tool (Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.)
7% | Other

Time people spend on choosing a service provider

21% | Considered the decision “Urgent”
79% | “Took time” to consider and decide

Number of service providers people consider before making a decision

69% |Considered one or two service providers before making their final decision
29% | Considered three to five
2% | Considered six or more


Top qualities people say they look for in a service provider

1 | Trustworthiness

  • Straightforward and truthful information is provided at all times
  • No hidden agenda or a feeling like information is being left out
  • No question that, “I’m in good hands”

2 | Dependable

  • A business I can count on to provide reliable and consistent quality service
  • I can place my trust in this business during times of uncertainty
  • They do exactly what they say they are going to do

3| Expertise

  • The provider demonstrates knowledge of the problem I am trying to solve
  • We both are able to learn from each other
  • I’m confident I am getting value for my investment

4 | Responsive

  • They’re there when I need them
  • They quickly respond to requests and resolve problems
  • They make me feel like I’m they’re only customer even though I know they are not

5 | Professional

  • The show up professionally at every interaction
  • Every interaction gives me reassurance they are doing what they said they would do
  • They are respectful and open, even in times of conflict

Customer satisfaction

Of all the survey respondents, the ones who were most satisfied are customers who…

  • Took more time to choose a service provider
  • Used a service provider on a recurring basis
  • Were referred to a service provider

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The 150-Year History of the Term ‘Small Business’

Until the end of the 19th century, there were few big businesses so the history of the term “small business” is less than 150 years. Today, no other phrase comes close to describing companies up to 500 employees.