A local business consultancy firm called Qurious Consulting Pvt Ltd is looking to end the time-honoured tradition of bothering your friends and loved ones in the event that you need a plumber, mechanic or any other service. The company launched Wire, a business directory chatbot on WhatsApp that registers and catalogues local businesses and operators both big and small.
Before I go any further, I have to say I like this a lot. At times it appears that we are at the mercy of our immediate circles when it comes to accessing services. If your friends or acquaintances cannot provide whatever contact you need then it’s going to be a problem. The other route is going on the internet and looking up contact information for a company or operators but it’s usually hit or miss.
What I mean by that in most cases there are few businesses (especially the smaller ones) listed online or on social media. Even if they are there, it is very likely that the details are outdated. I have personally been frustrated when I try numbers that are out of service or get answered by someone who exasperatedly says the person or company I am looking for no longer uses that number.
What Wire is offering here is great because it attacks the problem on a platform that most Zimbabweans have access to and are familiar with (WhatsApp)
How businesses can register
It might seem counterintuitive to start with the companies rather than the prospective customer. However we need these guys to become more visible because,
- There are a lot of very good businesses and sole traders that don’t have the visibility they deserve
- Bigger companies need the competition
- It would be easier for customers to do price or rate comparisons if they knew more players in the market.
For a business to get started all they need to do is go on Wire Business Directory’s website and register (link here). You’ll then need to enter all the information associated with your organisation and click “Submit”. After that, you’ll get a confirmation message from Wire about your listing.
Before you list your business, it would be wise to go through Wire’s terms of service. I have seen a number of “colourful” (for a lack of a better word) advertisements for services in WhatsApp groups. So it would be prudent to go through it to see if your particular enterprise meets the service’s scope.
As far as the cost for a listing is concerned, Wire says on its website that registration on the directory is free. And your listing will be displayed with your phone numbers, social media handles, web address, location details (including maps) and email.
The one thing that the company is working on, is registration on WhatsApp. Broader internet services or general data bundles are expensive and out of the reach of most. So integrating the registration process on WhatsApp would make it a lot easier for local businesses, especially the smaller ones.
How to access the Wire Business Directory on WhatsApp
To get into Wire’s directory you’ll need to save the number +263 71 549 0290 and send hi or anything else in chat. You’ll then see a message that reads:
Hi, Welcome to Wire Business Directory. This platform connects you with businesses offering the products and services you need all over the country. To get started, please select your location below by entering the corresponding number (eg 1 for Harare)
0. All Cities
Select the region you are in and the chatbot will ask you to enter the business name, the product or service you are looking for.
So depending on the service you are looking for, listed results may vary. However, the folks at Wire said that submissions for listings are very much open and they will continue to improve the service.
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