This confidence in local businesses stands out at a time when people are losing faith in the pillars of society including big businesses, government and media, according to Yell, which commissioned the survey.

The study finds that dentists, hairdressers and gardeners are viewed as being among the most trusted local businesses in the UK, while by contrast, car dealers, estate agents and letting companies are viewed as being the least trusted to give a good standard of service at a fair price.

Richard Hanscott, CEO of Yell says, ‘While public sentiment towards established institutions such as governments, media and large corporates is at a record low, the need for reliable information in the era of ‘fake news and ‘alternative facts’ is growing. Our research shows that while trust for the traditional societal pillars is waning, local businesses are stepping up to the plate to fill this vacuum.’

The value attached to personal recommendations is also at a premium, with 77 per cent of respondents saying they would take the advice from a friend or family member when identifying a local business or service they haven’t used previously. The findings coincide with the launch of the Yell for Business app, which allows SMEs to view their Yell profile online and respond to reviewers directly from their mobiles.

‘Our findings emphasise the need for local companies to understand their audience’s decision-making journey when choosing a local supplier,’ Hanscott adds. ‘The influence of online word of mouth will continue to grow, and small businesses should consider the technologies and digital marketing expertise that will elevate their online and social media presence to achieve customer acquisition and retention.’

Further reading on local businesses

Nominations are now open for the British Small Business Awards 2017, the leading event celebrating the brightest stars in the SME sector. Click here to enter, and make sure you get involved today using the hashtag #BSBAwards. Good luck!