Expanding to new countries during a global pandemic. Phase 2: Challenging the in-home installation market in Germany
Roamler utilises specialised, on-demand professionals for executing repeatable, high-volume and widespread in-home installations, and for the past five years, it has been serving the top telco and utility companies in the Netherlands.
In this new chapter of my journey, I will tell you more about how we are dealing with operational issues.
Starting conversations with potential clients and setting up operations are probably the most exciting phases of a new market launch; you begin to see whether your plans match the actual operational needs of the market. But most importantly, it’s the moment when you need to combine an agile and flexible approach with efficient actions to ensure your plans come to fruition.
During the last few months, we have talked to 58 different companies in Germany, discussing their process and the challenges they face. This was a great opportunity to get a full understanding of both local needs and the clients’ specific requirements and expectations. In this phase, we not only listened but also challenged the “traditional“ market approach with solid proof of the benefits of a crowdsourcing platform.
The two most relevant aspects emerging from our first talks with potential clients were:
1) a strong need for specialised installation technicians nationwide
2) a shared interest in finding innovative solutions to compensate for the shortage of qualified and available professionals.
Over the years, Roamler has proved the value of crowdsourcing, providing a flexible and efficient solution for overcoming personnel shortages in diverse, specialised markets. We have found that utility companies have an especially strong interest in leveraging a pool of on-demand workers to execute repeatable and widespread tasks such as the installation of smart meters.
The other main topic that emerged during our talks with potential clients, was how to manage and ensure quality while relying on flexible resources. This is where we challenged the “traditional" market approach in which the majority of installation companies focus primarily on selecting and training their technicians yet do not monitor the quality of service.
With Roamler every installation is registered and complemented with photos and videos, thanks to a mobile app where installers select available tasks, receive direct instructions and live support, and eventually submit the result of their installation. Each submission gets reviewed within 24 hours by a quality-control team. This ensures issues and mistakes are immediately identified and corrected, which results in enhanced efficiency and increased customer satisfaction.
Furthermore, this approach makes it possible to analyse a constant stream of data to identify large-scale trends and weaknesses within a company's installation processes. This is the biggest added value for companies operating in a market where high quality and cost management are king.
One final crucial element emerged from our talks with potential new clients: the enhanced flexibility provided by the use of a digital platform. Most large installation companies operating in Germany currently schedule their technicians according to the old-fashioned “8-to-5” mentality, forcing customers to stay at home for long timeframes without knowing in advance who will visit them and at what time. However, consumers are now demanding more flexibility and a tailor-made approach: nearly 70% of Germans want to book in-home installations at their own convenience and at a specific time. (Roamler Data 2019) At the same time, more and more specialised professionals are seeking a flexible solution that accommodates their schedule and allows them to make the most out of their skills.
Active for 10 years and driven by data, the Roamler platform matches the needs of companies with the right professionals at the right place and time. This enables businesses to adopt a more customer-centric approach while cutting overhead in favour of a more flexible, on-demand workforce of specialised technicians.
So far, the German market is responding in a very positive way to the Roamler proposition, and we are confident we’ll soon be able to announce our first two launching customers in the telco and utility industries.
In our next blog, we’ll tell you more about the setting-up and expansion of our operations in Germany and what practices worked best.