New app connects customers to SMEs
There are plenty of small businesses looking for customers, but other than a personal recommendation, how do you know they’ll deliver a proper service?
This is a problem that a new app called Kwebo has set out to solve. Prospective customers can choose from a wide range of services, including handymen, accountants, make-up artists, interior designers or tutors, and then pay the provider through the app.
The founders of Kwebo (a play on the word ‘kgwebo' – Sesotho for ‘business’) say their research uncovered the challenges facing SMEs to reach their target market.
Myles Donnelly, one of the four founders, says small businesses often couldn’t afford marketing costs, and also sometimes struggled to be paid after completing a job. Service providers on Kwebo only pay fees when they’ve been paid by the client. Clients also pay a booking fee.
Co-founder Lars Haacke says: “COVID-19’s impact on the economy has caused many skilled individuals to lose their jobs, accelerating the need for a liquid workforce. The app offers business owners a chance to be their own boss, accountant and marketer.”
There’s also analytics, such as booking and billing and payment history.
“Business owners can see other info such as how much time they spend on the road and how customers are rating their service. Maybe you’re always late for appointments... this can help improve your offering because the system compares vendor scores, creating a benchmark,” says Haacke.
The service has been launched in Gauteng, with KZN and the Western Cape to follow.
Businesses can already register on the app, so there’ll be something for the consumers to choose from. “There are no empty categories on the app,” says Donnelly. “When you make a booking, you’ll only see what’s available.”
For consumers, it aims to provide choice and security as vendors can be chosen based on customer ratings and by preferred price. It also notifies the consumer when the service provider is en route and when they start working. Any additional work needs to be cleared by the customer first. When the customer pays, the money is secured in-app through Kwebo Protect and is released to the vendor when the job is completed and the customer is satisfied.
Kwebo can be downloaded from Google Play, the Apple App Store or from www.gokwebo.com.