192 overhaul will result in big bucks, says Responsa, but how long can this be sustained without offering a better service to consumers?
When the old 192 number stops working for directory enquiries services on Sunday 24th August, is it boom or bust for the new DQ providers? Big budget TV ads have been appearing all week, and Oftel made its final push to inform users of the move away from 192 to six-digit numbers starting with 118. This may help to secure customer interest, but according to Responsa, DQs must differentiate their services and offer value add to consumers if they are to stay in business long term.
Responsa forecasts huge demand for these directory services in the UK in the future:
1 Billion UK requests for information (70% for classified / business information)
£500m revenue industry
£120m in marketing investment
But how long can this be sustained as profitable business without bringing better services to consumers through strong differentiation and high levels of customer service - all of which can come with a heavy price ticket?
“The fact is that directory services have not become cheaper as a result of deregulation,” comments Steve Milligan, Marketing Director at Responsa. “That was certainly one of Oftel’s aims. Assuming that prices may fall or at least level out over time, the next opportunity for 118 directory providers is to offer enhanced services to consumers thereby justifying the price positions. Failure to achieve this will result in heavy marketing investment and price as a key competitive leverage all of which will ultimately result in lower margins and consolidation of directory companies.”
Services such as mapping information, find me the nearest etc, will undoubtedly be on offer. But are these the services that consumers will want from a directory service? According to Milligan, this is questionable as many mobile application providers can bypass the directory business and offer these services direct and at a lower cost to consumers. So how are directory services going to offer better services to consumers?
Consumers need more than just a telephone number; what consumers want are answers to their specific needs. If a directory provider wants to sustain a competitive advantage whilst justifying the pricing models currently on offer, it will not good enough to give a consumer the telephone number for a plumber when what they want is the washing machine fixed, a boiler serviced or a radiator replaced. Responsa believes it has the answer.
Responsa is a UK based organisation which has patented a unique value added service to directory providers. Imagine a service where you just make a single phone call and ask for exactly what you want and very quickly up to three relevant providers ring you back with the solution. Responsa is a completely automated service that does exactly that. In essence, it matches a buyer with sellers, whether it is the restaurant that has free tables, the car mechanic that will come to your office or the decorator that can paint your house – whatever you want Responsa can automatically find it, if it is available, more conveniently, quicker and cheaper than consumers can themselves.
Responsa can be used on the move, over lunch, between meetings, from the car park, at home or in the office. In fact all you need is the time it takes to ask for what you want and Responsa does the rest. This fully automated service makes it low cost, which means that it can be very competitively priced for consumers unlike other “concierge” type services. Because the service allows for sellers (or advertisers) only to pay when they choose to use the service, Responsa will have the most comprehensive list of sellers available giving more choice to consumers. This will encourage more consumers to use the service and more sellers will ultimately benefit from “red hot” customer leads. Sellers also benefit by having a simple mechanism of dealing with unwanted inbound calls – they just hang up. In addition, they also benefit from market research as they get to hear what people want in real time.
The benefits of the service are clear: as a buyer you get an always available, convenient and easy to use service that brings solutions to your phone. As a seller, Responsa brings consumers to you who are ready to buy; it also offers valuable live information on market demands, and an opportunity to advertise via SMS or MMS.
A licensee can use Responsa to provide a valued service to existing customers, as well as expanding their offering to the new “on the move society”. It naturally captures customers from all networks thus giving the licensee access to across network revenue.
Responsa is marketing its services and platform to directory service providers in Europe and is in the planning stage for extensive market trials and research with a number of partners and potential customers. Milligan says these trials are the culmination of months of planning and technical development and will showcase the value added which Responsa brings to consumers, sellers and directory service providers.
For further information contact Tony Goss on +44 (0)1483 688259
For further press information, please contact:
Steve Milligan - firstname.lastname@example.org
Katie King - Email email@example.com
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