When I first heard about addafix, founded by former mobilePeople exec Claudia Poepperl, I thought that the company’s model was somewhat “tortured.” It’s a mobile “caller ID” app for smartphones that enables you to link your Facebook friends’ photos to your phone’s contacts and see their pictures when they call you.
The business model, however, has nothing to do with that service. By contrast it taps into yellow pages.
When you make a call, if there’s no answer or the call doesn’t connect otherwise, you’re shown three alternative businesses in the same category, in the same area or that service the same area. These business listings are yellow pages advertisers and addafix is paid a revenue share on calls it sends through to them. There’s a bit of a disconnect between the consumer and advertiser propositions — sounds a little forced right? Yet the company keeps rolling along.
Currently the advertising aspect of the service is only available in Germany and Austria. What’s also interesting is that, as with coupons or offers, this won’t look like advertising to consumers. It’s a search model that takes advantage of the phone’s location awareness and the user’s calling behavior to recommend alternative businesses nearby.
The reason I’m writing this at the moment is because this morning I received a press release from Claudia that showed 25% of calls to local businesses don’t connect and that consumers are open to “substitution” in those cases:
25 percent of all calling customers are not able to speak to an actual person. Blocked extensions, answering machines, nonexistent numbers or simply a slightly displaced handset are some of the many reasons that lead to these circumstances.
Non-answered calls mean a loss of customers and revenue. More than 63 percent of customers trying to call a business in vain, claim to be willing to switch to another company – as long as there are other options available. This is where adaffix comes into play, offering its customers a plethora of relevant businesses, which are geographically located nearby. Even for established and existing customers the willingness to switch to another company is still at a staggering 38 percent.
The press release also contains some interesting information about the categories of businesses in Germany and Austria where calls are most “unanswered”:
The “top five of non-reachable businesses” in Germany during workdays are clearly restaurants, leading the way with 18 percent failed phone pick-up rate, followed by lawyers at 10 percent, family physicians, internal medicine specialists and hotels at 9 percent and dentists at 4 percent. The rest is distributed among a wide variety of other business types. On weekends the figures turn out to be different: restaurants, cafés, governmental institutions for health and social work, pizza delivery services and intensive-care units are ranked among the top 5.
A similar situation has been shown in Austria, however in slightly different genres. From Monday to Friday adaffix has proven the following: taxi services lead the score with 5 percent of unanswered phone calls, followed by insurance companies with 4 percent, banks at 3 percent, physicians at 2 percent and car dealers at 1 percent. The remaining percentages are divided among other business types. On weekends the statistics looks different: taxi services take to top spot in the ranking yet the other four spots are being made up of various gastronomy areas, such as pizza places, pizza delivery services, traditional restaurants and Chinese restaurants.
There has always been a problem with SMBs answering the phone and various startups have tried to address it in various ways. Some, including FastCall411, have tried sending out calls/leads simultaneously to multiple businesses.
Addafix has the advantage of being a mobile application. When consumers do a lookup and make a call from a mobile device it’s often because they “need it now.” Thus their receptiveness to nearby alternative businesses on the handset is going relatively high especially in categories where they just need the service and aren’t going to be highly discriminating (e.g., taxis).