In the wake of news that a potentially aggressive and well-tooled played is about to end the market for itinerant, time-based tasks (prompt.ly), and with TaskRabbit rolling out internationally to significant markets like the UK and existing players like BookingBug ramping up, this whole arena is getting hotter. But one of the missing pieces of the pie is trust and scalability. Many ordinary citizens – especially in Europe – simply don’t trust these new platforms to deliver someone who can do a task. One way to solve this inherent mistrust of the ‘sharing economy’ would be to partner up with a big player that people trust, giving instant validation and footprint. And that is exactly what Mila, a European mobile and online task marketplace startup, is doing today.
It’s partnered with Switzerland’s leading telecom provider Swisscom to launch “Swisscom Neighborhood”. Now, before you lay the charge that is is small beer, note that Swisscom has 5 million residential customers for internet access, digital TV services, and mobile telephone services. BUt it’s using Mila in rather a unique way.
Because simple customer problems arise like ‘How do I set up email on my phone?’ or ‘How do I extend the range of my Wi-Fi?’, Swisscom Neighborhood will mean customers can simply dial up one of the people listed – someone technically competent of course – rather than Swisscom having to send round a technician.
Swisscom is testing a pilot service in Zurich and after the trial phase, other cities will follow.
Clearly, that will save a lot of money for Swisscom and also get people used to the idea of this kind of share economy marketplace.
Manuel Grenacher, Mila CEO, says: “With this type of P2P customer service initiative, corporations can really tap into the power of the crowd to boost customer satisfaction levels.”
So Mila may well be tapping into a new trend – getting big players to offset costs but still retain customer loyalty, while at the same time educating their potential market.
Trust has proved a huge issue in Europe for these marketplaces. Teddle, a UK TaskRabbit clone, had to re-brand and pivot to become Hassle which is a hand-picked marketplace, after finding people in the UK simply didn’t trust anyone to do the job they said they would do.