Remember - constant vigilance!

Consistency is key. Have you ever been to a website to find a phone number, but found no one picking up when you rang? How about that contact address you sent a letter to three weeks ago, but you got no reply from? Then of course there is that email address that keeps sending back delivery failure notifications.

Monday, 25th April 2016, 9:50 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 9:56 pm
JPCT 150713 Alan Stainer. Photo by Derek Martin

These problems often occur because the information you are reading online is either incorrect or out of date.

How on earth can that happen in this day and age? Well, there are a few simple answers to that, but before I get into those, remember this. It is advisable to double check the contact information you have for an organisation, preferably by visiting their own website, before you make that call. Alternatively, don’t be put off if the first time you try and don’t succeed.

One of the main problems facing businesses is that their contact information is often spread around many different places. This makes keeping everything up to date and accurate tricky at best and difficult at worst. For instance, if a business changes office locations and also has to change its phone number, someone will need to remember to not only update their company website, but also any social media profiles and directory listings that the business appears on.

Social media profiles and business directory listings can present difficulties if left unchecked. Often they will not have been created by the business themselves, but by a third party. If that third party either fails to hand over the keys, or else is otherwise not contactable (irony eh?) then the business owner has got a problem.

If you are a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure you maintain control over any social media profiles that are created and any directory listings too.

It isn’t just for the inconvenience caused to your customers that you need to do this either. If someone comes across inaccurate contact information, it does two things. 1) It gives a bad experience and first impression to future customers. 2) It may also result in potential customers going somewhere else and you really do not want that to happen.

That is not the end of it though. If you rely on Google local search results, you will find that having inconsistent information pushes your website down in the local rankings. This is because Google cross check their information with other sources, to verify that their information is accurate. If they cannot trust the information they have about your business, why should anyone else?

If their information is inaccurate or otherwise appears untrustworthy, they will give priority to more trustworthy businesses, which means you lose out. It’s the same as with people when you think about it.

Whether you are looking for contact information online, or are looking after that information, you should take the words of Mad Eye Moody (of Harry Potter fame) to heart, “Constant vigilance!”