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Gone are the days where you’d have to go through hours and hours of arduous search for a professional every time you need something fixed in your house, or every time you need work done for a special occasion.

These days there are plenty of services available online that give you access to a pool of local service providers that can cater to your needs. Services like RecomN, ServisHero, Kaodim, among others are all about helping you get connected with local service providers.

Page Advisor is one such real-time mobile platform that’s looking to change the way people hire local services providers. Marketed as the “smartest and most convenient way to engage a service provider”, the app offers a variety number of services across different industries that one could choose from. Through the app you could find everything from photographers to balloon sculptors to limousine drivers and you can hire one of them in a matter of just three steps and within three minutes.

Image Credit: PageAdvisor

It was launched first in Singapore and my colleague did an in-depth review about how the app functions, and you can read about it here. The app was recently launched in Malaysia following its debut in Singapore.

“While we believe we can realistically service any Malaysian with a smart phone and credit card, we believe our service is likely to be used more regularly by the middle to upper range of income earners—individuals with some disposable income and who are comfortable with an m-commerce model which will bring them convenience and save them time,” the team said about their target market.

The app was officially launched on the 9th of July and the response towards the app has been substantial. “Our daily downloads of the app have been extremely encouraging, and demonstrates to us that Malaysian consumers are very tech savvy and are ready to embrace the value we provide,” the team added.

Creating A Balanced Ecosystem

Anytime you need to hire a professional, all you need to do is to answer a short set of questions regarding your requirements, specifically the job scope, budget and the preferred time slot. As soon as you hit send you can sit back and wait for the local service providers to bid for the job.

Page Advisor doesn’t just benefit the users of the app in terms of the amount of time one can save, but it’s also beneficial to the service providers themselves.

Image Credit: PageAdvisor
Image Credit: PageAdvisor

“Our biggest challenge is shifting Malaysian local service providers’ mindsets to moving on to mobile commerce as we are the first player in the industry with a robust full loop cycle, which takes them from marketing, to bidding, to payments and dispute resolution.”

“As such some local service providers are still learning to accept our real-time platform and the fact that a job can be won within hours (and at times in less than an hour) – without the need to spend excessive time answering customers’ queries individually.”

“However this creates an opportunity for us to be connected even more closely with the service providers to understand the needs of local providers and provide a middle ground where consumers’ wants are met and local providers are able to deliver. For the first time, consumers are able to receive quotes from multiple local providers in real-time, while merchants, on the other end, are securing jobs daily,” said the Page Advisor team.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 1.28.31 PM

The ecosystem of the app is dependent on both the consumers and the local service providers as well. The service providers need to be both efficient and effective in what they do and they also need to provide a positive experience every time they deal with customers.

While at the same time, the app is dependent on a solid customer base that is being receptive towards the services provided on the app.

The Page Advisor team strongly believes that in order to strike a healthy balance between the service providers and the consumers of the app that they need to treat both groups of users equally well and not favour one side of the chain over other.

Just Dig A Little Deeper

The one thing that definitely sets Page Advisor apart in terms of their offering is their voluntary Merchant Guarantee Programme (MGP). This programme ensures that you receive 100% of your money back in the scenario that you’re dissatisfied with the quality of a merchant’s work.

“We are able to do this because we provide a full loop service, and payment is made through us. The MGP is something which we have received very good feedback on, and we hope to eventually get all our merchants signed up to the MGP, once they realise that it makes a difference to consumers’ choices.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 1.28.23 PM
Image Credit: PageAdvisor

“Another big difference from the rest of the market is that we only charge our merchants if they successfully get a job through Page Advisor. We don’t charge our merchants any directory, listing or bidding fees and we don’t limit the number of times merchants can submit bids. As a result, consumers are able to receive more quotes (at times exceeding 10 quotes), and this in turn translates to more competitive prices for services,” the team assured.

The team also said, “There are, for sure, providers offering services which look similar to Page Advisor on their surface. However, if you dig just a bit deeper beneath that, you’ll find that Page Advisor really is a one-of-a-kind product. We’re the only service that goes the full loop both for consumers and for service providers, and this is something we feel makes a real difference in the convenience that consumers and merchants should be getting.”

“Other factors which set us apart include the convenience of making in-app, cashless payment, a PIN safety passcode which will allow you to ensure that the right person has turned up to your job, and the knowledge that when you read a review on Page Advisor, this can only have come from someone who has used that particular merchant’s services before,” the team added.

How Bright Is Their Future In Malaysia?

“We’re really excited about Malaysia and see huge potential in this market. Without going into too much detail, our plan is to establish operation centers in major states as we grow our market reach for each state. Strategic planning for infrastructure and staffing is on-going to ensure we are able to meet our growth plans. We are, after all, in the local services business, so it is important for us to work at a very micro level, so that we can understand local issues and practices which might, for example, differ in Penang and Terengganu,” the team said.

There are quite a few apps and platforms that are currently looking to make life easier for both consumers and service providers alike. The differentiating factor that will definitely give a particular platform edge over the others, in my opinion, is the size.

Image Credit: PageAdvisor
Image Credit: PageAdvisor

A platform that has a giant offering of merchants while at the same time is adored by Malaysians is one that will definitely come out on top. Merchants wouldn’t enjoy being part of 10 different platforms and neither would consumers enjoy downloading 10 different apps that provide them with quotes when necessary.

I think merchants and consumers would prefer belonging to one giant platform that caters to all of their needs.

That being said, I think Page Advisor is definitely on its way of becoming a force to be reckoned with because of the additional features that they offer. I like the fact that they don’t favour one group of users over the other—they cater to the needs of both their merchants and consumers equally.

The Merchant Guarantee Programme and the practice of charging merchants only when a job is successfully done through Page Advisor are both examples of how the interests of consumers are protected.

These are all the key factors that will definitely play a part in how successful the app is going to be in Malaysia.

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