As the lead engineer for SetSchedule, Danial Mohammad provides insight into the new SetSchedule App that introduces the Community ecosystem built to provide professionals with a suite of tools to expand their reach to clients and partners. Here’s what he had to say:
“I follow the engineering philosophy that any software solution worth building should answer a real frustration with the way current systems or structures work in the world around us. This is similar to my life philosophy – if we all take responsibility to resolve the issues and challenges that bother us in life, the world becomes a better place! So, I wanted to take some time to share the motivations and thought processes behind the development of the upcoming SetSchedule application, which we are incredibly excited to release.
“To set the scene, I want you to picture yourself in this situation – maybe it’s something you have actually experienced recently – let’s say you need a recommendation for a professional service, like a mechanic to fix your gear shifter. This was a scenario I had found myself in, and I have historically not had the best luck when it comes to finding a mechanic. I do my best to be informed, so when potential mechanics give me outrageous quotes for simple projects or tell me that a task can’t be done (but I can tell they’re just not interested in doing it), it puts me off of the process completely because it becomes such a headache. This time around I wanted to use the tech solutions at my disposal to overcome my issue, instead of needing to do the fact-finding myself. After all, with today’s level of connectivity between people, you’d think it would be simple enough to get a relevant recommendation from at least one person I trust. I was in for a rude awakening.
“For starters, asking for recommendations from your social sphere can be difficult, not just for me but for a lot of people, especially as you get older and the people you care about happen to move around. After all, I need a mechanic here in my location, so the people I get my recommendations from should also be in my location. There are other alternatives to this, like asking for recommendations in specific interest groups or online neighborhood groups. But at that point, how much should you really trust the recommendations from people you’re not familiar with? It becomes no different than selecting a professional at random, unless you know the specific person who is recommending the professional. What I have found time and again is that, once you do make contact with a recommended professional, no matter where the recommendation comes from, you should have a couple of prepared questions to ask during that first connection. After seeing the way they respond to your questions, you can then be more assured in your decision to work with them or keep looking.
“This was when we realized that there isn’t a good way to get your question in front of the professionals you may end up working with. There are question based forums where enthusiasts and users can submit their questions, but it is very rare that a local professional is available to connect regarding the questions that are being submitted. If there were some way to get the attention of all specific professionals in a certain geographic area by posing a question, and assessing the answers in order to whittle down the list of prospective professionals you may want to engage with, the process of finding the right professional could be much smoother. This want is what eventually transformed into the soon-to-be-released “Ask the Pro” feature within the SetSchedule application.
“In the SetSchedule updated application, professionals from all different industries will have the ability to blast their questions and updates/offers to their communities by utilizing the “Ask the Pro” and “Broadcast” features. “Ask the Pro” focuses on getting a real-time answer from the actual professionals that are available to address your needs. The “Broadcast” feature addresses one of our other primary concerns when thinking about working with professionals – how would I know which mechanics were currently running specials without connecting with them directly?
“Sure, professionals have the ability to place strategic ads, but traditional marketing has been quickly outpaced by digital marketing – and in the world of digital marketing, only those companies that have the biggest marketing budget to burn through actually experience a boost in traffic and business. For smaller professionals and businesses, the cost associated with getting the word out can be too prohibitive, lowering their ability to generate new business through marketing. Doesn’t this seem counter-intuitive? Competition between businesses shouldn’t be so off-balance that the smaller ones can’t stand a chance. That was the motivation behind the creation of the “Broadcast” functionality – once professionals can share their message with their peers and potential clients, the best fit businesses (regardless of size or spending budget) will be able to connect with more prospects, overall resulting in better connections and client satisfaction thanks to a level playing field.
“Coupling the ability to more organically start conversations and prospective relationships with professionals and enabling those same professionals to more effectively tout their services are the core premise behind the upcoming changes behind the application. Now, there are a wealth of other features that will be introduced, but I wanted to share about the abilities that I am most excited about currently! If you are interested in learning more about the SetSchedule development strategy and suite of software solutions, don’t hesitate to check out our first episode of the Meet the Developer series here.”
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