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Whelp is an innovative platform offering consumers super-affordable assistance from IT experts, at the place and time that suits them best.
Whelp addresses the gap in Belgium’s consumer IT support market to offer professional IT support at home:
- Sharing economy model ensures optimal flexibility, lower operating costs and swift roll-out
- No-cure-no-pay model fosters customer satisfaction and affordability
- Focus on customer convenience
- Built on scalable digital platform and smart tech solutions
Whelp matches customers with available technicians who carry out their intervention in the customer’s home or workplace. Jobs are tracked using a mobile app and electronic payment carried out at job completion. Customer satisfaction is tracked systematically. The average margin per job stands at around 30%, with an average revenue per client of €50.
Whelp stands out from its competitors thanks to its affordability, its home-visit model, swift response times and no-cure-no-pay approach. Low cost and high efficiency are maintained by focusing on those IT problems most commonly experienced by consumers today.
In addition to its B2C operations, Whelp understands the strategic importance of B2B2C partnerships, and is actively engaging with key players in areas where value can be added.
Whelp already covers the main Belgian urban areas, and will continue to extend its geographical coverage across Belgium and to France and Germany (end of year 3).
We want to become a low-cost, high-trust service provider that aligns high customer satisfaction with a scalable business model and an extensive geographical coverage.
We live in an increasingly hi-tech world, where it is now possible to use or order most traditional daily services via digital technologies. From shopping and traveling to managing your bank account and declaring your taxes, all can (or sometimes must) be done online.
As a result:
- The older generation can’t always follow, with 43% of those over 55 declaring that they don’t have the skills to use internet services.
- The number of internet-enabled devices is growing, with 54% of Belgians using at least 3 different devices to go online.
Yet the market for consumer IT support hasn’t matured and is still characterized by many small, local, brick and mortar players, charging very high prices, with long waiting times and limited concerns for customer satisfaction.
Since none of the currently available services appeared to offer solutions that were fully tailored to today’s needs, we were keen to build a company that focuses on consumer satisfaction:
- Provide super affordable IT assistance.
- Bring unprecedented convenience: when and where the clients wants to help, at home, the same day, during the week and, after work hours if necessary.
- No more bringing your heavy and fragile computer to a shop.
- No diagnostics fees.
- No more hesitations before calling for help.
- No fear of being ripped off, prices are transparent.
Facing these challenges we realized that the core of our business must rely on:
- Sustainable customer relations and retention via an exceptional quality of service
- A no-cure-no-pay service to compensate for unmet customer expectations
- A pledge to meet our customers’ first or second choice of availability windows
- A lean, tech-oriented business model built from the ground up, keeping operational costs low while offering the scalability of a digital platform
- Tech-savvy students: we know from experience that they can fix 95% of consumer problems and will bring the natural flexibility this model requires
- A focus on the top 20% of problems impacting 80% of the population, through precise analytics and ultra-targeted marketing campaigns and partnerships
Today, this is Whelp:
An innovative platform meeting consumers’ need for super-affordable IT assistance when and where it suits them best.
90% of our customers find Whelp via targeted AdWords campaigns and contact us via phone, email or by submitting a form on our website.
Our call center collects the customer problem description, contact information and first two availability windows for an intervention.
We then match the request with our pool of technicians (based on availability, existing customer relationship, technical skills needed, etc.) and come back to the client with a confirmation of appointment.
During the intervention, our technicians use a mobile app developed by Whelp to track the job duration and request the client’s approval for electronic payment.
As soon as the client signs the approval screen on the technician’s smartphone, a link is sent to his or her own phone for payment. This allows the technician to assist the client with the electronic payment.
We implement a €36 per hour fee plus certain fixed prices when appropriate (for instance, we currently apply fixed prices for iPhone screen replacements, which include both the price of labor and the new screen). At the current time we are looking at a 30% margin per job.
Our cost of acquisition stands at around €25 and can drop as low as €15.50 for our most optimized campaigns.
Our technicians are paid €13.50 per hour. We apply different employment models depending on the circumstances: part-time, student-entrepreneur, sharing economy jobs.
An average intervention lasts around 1h 40min, billed at an average price of €50.
Whelp has concluded a partnership contract with Okra Antwerp by which Whelp provides preferential rates for the association's members. In exchange Okra agreed to advertise Whelp's services to its 19 000 members via its monthly information letter and quarterly magazines.
What’s more, Okra Antwerp and Whelp will organize around 200 training workshops on digital technologies (10 to 20 people each) from September 2018 to June 2019.
We are currently focusing our online marketing on Google AdWords as this channel yields the best cost per acquisition and conversion rate: a large portion of our clients have urgent requests for which they tend to turn more naturally towards Google search than other digital media channels.
Nonetheless, a significant proportion of our target customer base comprises those with low digital illiteracy (often senior citizens) who thus are very difficult to reach through online marketing channels. In order to reach these people, we have a B2B2C strategy involving partnerships with senior associations and consumer-facing businesses.
We can therefore focus on this market segment in a cost-efficient manner until we have the financial capacity to launch marketing campaigns targeted to seniors via traditional media (end 2018).
By end of year 3 we will have expanded our service offer to France and Germany, capitalising on the founders’ respective experience of those countries.
Both countries bring their own specific challenges and opportunities which will require entry strategies we intend to develop during the first half of Year 2.
One important driver of Whelp’s development is B2B2C partnerships.
We have built relationships and are actively engaging with key players in areas were Whelp can bring an important added value.
Senior associations, especially active in Flanders and Brussels, are a key channel through which Whelp can develop relationship with senior citizens.
We have devised an attractive commercial offer which gives these associations the opportunity to obtain digital training for their members.
In 2017, more than 110 workshops of 10 people were delivered. In 2018, to date, Whelp has developed a more structured partnership approach with senior associations:
- FedOS is a Flemish organization based in Brussels and Flanders that provides organizational and administrative support to senior associations. Whelp is partnering with FedOS on a number of projects, such as the setup of Digital Cafés for their member associations, and local government initiatives related to senior well-being.
- Okra Antwerp organizes events and gathers leisure services for seniors in the province of Antwerp. It is a subsidiary of Okra, an ASBL with 180 000 members and with which Whelp will be able to develop deeper commercial relationships in 2019 and 2020 based on the performance of the current contract.
When it comes to B2B2C partnerships, Whelp’s capabilities and unique market position are a natural fit for digital technology retailers as well as Telecom providers.This is why we have started partnership conversations with key Belgian actors (Proximus, Telenet, Fnac, etc.) in both industries in order to bring disruptive innovations in the cost, quality and overall model of their after-sales services.
For instance, we know that telecom actors are confronted with thousands of requests from their customers over general IT support. This causes these companies a real dilemma between the high economic cost of addressing customer’s problems and the reputational risk of ignoring their customer problems. We believe that Whelp is a credible answer for them, with a national outreach to fix their client’s IT problems.