Lately, I’ve been spending some time on Angie’s List, the consumer review site, to try to get some maintenance done around the house.
The idea of finding a highly rated, local carpenter or plumber via one website is really appealing. Sure, there’s a subscription fee of $10/year, but if that is what it takes to access valuable crowd-sourced opinions, I’ll gladly contribute an Alexander Hamilton.
SnapFix to the Rescue?
Last month, Angie’s List let me know about their new mobile app, SnapFix.
(Because every company needs an app, right?)
SnapFix is designed to uber-simplify the entire process of hiring a local service provider.
- First you open up the app on your smartphone and log in as an Angie’s List member
- Then, you take a picture (or video) of the work that needs to be done
(while still in the app)
- Write a short description of the job
- Provide three convenient service times
- And you’re done!
SnapFix does the rest of the work for you…
- Angie’s List finds a highly rated service provider
- A concierge team representative is assigned to your job
- The representative texts with you via the app
- And provides you with the company info and a cost estimate
How easy is that?
Well, frankly… it was a little too easy.
Not Enough Room for the Details
I had some follow-up questions regarding how the service provider was going to do the job, and my representative shared a somewhat generic response from the company. It pointed to the likely reality that a technician would figure things out when he got to my house…
Then, there was the cost estimate… it had a pretty wide range.
And that pointed to the real problem here.
The ‘bidding’ company was partially blind, because all the service provider had to work with was one picture and my written description.
(I later wanted to send additional photos and a video, but the app didn’t seem to allow for that.)
And I was also kind of in the dark, because I couldn’t talk to the company directly.
A Leap of Faith
All that was really in front of me was a big button on the app to click and accept the proposal.
It really was such a snap.
But I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
What made this app so wonderfully easy to use was exactly the problem that was preventing me from doing the job… So much of the human element had been stripped away, I felt too disconnected.
I didn’t trust that the work would be done properly for the right price, because I had zero connection to the service provider.
So I sat there and stared at the app.
And then I closed it.
My concierge texted me if there was anything else I wanted to know.
(That’s a pleasantry for “Why are you stalling?”)
A week later, I received an emailed satisfaction survey from Angie’s List.
What could I say?
SnapFix did everything it promised.
But I just couldn’t move forward with the job…
My Lack of Commitment
Relationship building takes time.
And that key ingredient shouldn’t be entirely extracted out of the equation with a convenient app designed to do all the heavy lifting for you…
It doesn’t satisfy my need to develop some level of trust before letting someone through the front door.
I think Angie’s List is great, because its crowd-sourced opinions can narrow down the field significantly.
But at the end of the day, don’t you also want to talk with someone or look him in the eye… before signing on the dotted line in a convenient… but cold and silent app?
Sure, you’ve got a ‘concierge’ on your side, but when there’s dirty work to be done, you’ve probably got to roll up your sleeves a little bit too.
Otherwise, the destiny of the ‘job’ is in someone else’s hands…