VConnect Reduces Yellow Pages User Travel Time From Days To Minutes

In Western English-speaking countries, the term yellow pages is understood as a directory where potential customers are put in touch with local (and national) businesses.

The brand has come a long way since a fortuitous event of 1883 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, when a local printer compiling a phone book had to use yellow paper after running out of white paper.

As usual in such events, the innate entrepreneurial spirit of the American meant that three years later a man by the name of Reuben H. Donnelley compiled the first yellow pages directory.

Oddly enough, the term was never registered in the United States (unlike several other countries) and over the next century a number of companies used the term and it became synonymous with telephone directories.

In the US and here in the UK, the annual, physical doorstep delivery of the Yellow Pages directory was welcomed, but the internet, understandably, was a huge challenge and the arrival of a yellow pages directory is certainly not the event he used. to be.

The search engine should have been the end, but the yellow page branding has endured, albeit in a different and digital way. Some yellow page businesses saw what was to come and are still thriving online, although Yelp now dominates, especially in the United States.

Now, however, the greatest challenge to its hegemony comes from an unexpected source… Africa.

The disruptor of this directory model is a platform that offers interactivity between potential customers and businesses, not the time-consuming one-way arrangement that currently exists.

VConnect is the company that is shaking up this sector. In 2013, the company was described by Forbes as one of Africa’s hottest tech startups and the next four years have grown that reputation.

The company is a Lagos-based discovery and engagement platform that helps clients hire local professionals for all of their service needs. VConnect has over 1.5 million registered businesses and plans to connect all organized service businesses in sub-Saharan Africa with potential customers.

His yellow pages style model became a interactivity platform, unlike traditional models which are a one-way relationship between the potential customer and the company. This model is time consuming and unreliable.

This is a typical user experience and journey. The client goes through the directory for about an hour, makes a decision based on the options available over the next 24 hours (although still not 100% content which is the right decision), then another day while waiting for the business to launch.

According to VConnect, this process has been streamlined and algorithm-based that creates an interactive, personalized and organized service. This two-day experience now takes less than 15 minutes and is an experience of mutual engagement between the customer and the company.

In many ways, VConnect is the Just Eat or TripAdvisor of local services, a meritocracy customers now insist on when using online or mobile services through a trusted platform of ratings and reviews.

VConnect Global Services

“In Nigeria, where social security numbers or its surrogates do not exist, a 27-year-old man moving into a new apartment is unwilling to call an unknown plumber to fix a leak, unless he or recommended by a friend or family. And if he’s new to town, he’s lacking in options.

“We are addressing this problem by using a variety of methods to verify every service professional who subscribes to generate leads through our platform. We want to build a community of professionals with trust as a basis, ”said Deepankar Rustagi, CEO of VConnect.

Africa, of course, poses challenges that are less prevalent in the West, especially when it comes to insurance, not a service typically provided by Nigerian companies. VConnect says its platform covers this eventuality, increasing the trust element of its business.

Other challenges unique to Lagos are the continued expansion and movement of the city where up to 30,000 people arrive each month from all over Africa.

Moreover, in a country that has a failing national postal service and a chronic all-day traffic problem, anything that can improve the logistics of day-to-day business is something Nigerian SMEs desperately need; to the point of actually existing. VConnect was an African business to watch in 2013, now in 2017 it looks like it’s a business to watch.

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Calvin W. Soper

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