I did my MBA at London Business School in the United Kingdom and one of the benefits of studying at a top school and being an alumni is seeing all the really cool things that the entrepreneurial alumni coming behind you are doing or that alumni in the venture capital industry might be involved with.
One of the startup ventures a fellow London Business School alumni is involved with is called ServiceWire, a company focused on the on-demand services industry. ServiceWire bills itself as the help desk for your home service needs, and unlike Amazon’s new offering Amazon Home Services which requires you to go to the Amazon web site and make a bunch of clicks, ServiceWire lets you send a text message with your request and get a response from your Personal ServiceGuru with an upfront price estimate from handpicked professionals with satisfaction guaranteed. It’s a very interesting model. Much more mobile friendly than Amazon’s offering.
Too often people get caught in the mindset of a web site or a mobile app being the only way to deliver a quality service to customers, or as being the best way to solve a customers problem.
For example, yesterday I went to the YMCA and entered the building behind another patron but I was able to enter the facility probably a minute or more before him because he was trying to find the app on his phone and load it and use it, while they scanned the plastic card I keep in my wallet in two seconds and I was on my way. Technology doesn’t always make things more efficient or effective, and it’s easy to over-engineer a solution.
This is why I like ServiceWire’s approach to helping solve life’s little problems. At this point it is a UK company only and is taking new members by email invitation only (request an invitation on their web site). If it is successful I imagine someone else will copy their approach in the United States and elsewhere.
Will the ServiceWire approach succeed at the expense of Amazon Home Services’ approach?
The ServiceWire approach should also prompt the following questions:
What solution might you be over-engineering?
What other mechanisms could you use that you are ignoring now?