Honor provides users with a lean and simple user experience. Consumers are automatically matched and connected to a caregiver based on their inputted needs. The platform sets the prices for the services delivered to consumers.
Carelinx is as simple, but does not automatically match consumers with caregivers. However, Carelinx provides more information about caregivers through a rating system. The platform doesn’t set prices, it allows its caregivers to set their own.
Hometeam’s approach is radically different. An individual’s request for elderly care service is fielded by a Hometeam support member. The support member works with the consumer to create a tailored program specific to that consumer’s needs. The service is then fulfilled by a Hometeam caregiver after this whiteglove process.
What do we mean by commoditized?
Service marketplaces can be placed on a spectrum according to their level of commoditization or the degree to which the service can be standardized.
Here’s a classic example we use all the time. Uber is a commoditized service. There aren’t a lot of purchase considerations. You need a ride, you get a ride. Done and done. Airbnb is a non-commoditized service. There are a lot of purchase considerations. Would you like a pool? Does the apartment have wifi? You get the point.
As a rule of thumb, we advise platform entrepreneurs to set the platform’s prices if it offers a commoditized service. If the platform provides a non-commoditized service, it should allow its producers to set the price.
We believe certain types of elderly care service can be commoditized. These include the less intimate services such as transportation, food and medicine delivery and home cleaning. Vetting caregivers goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway. Services that can’t be commoditized include bathing, companionship, and medical services. These services aren’t as likely to be dispatched automatically like an Uber ride because the decision maker will certainly have questions and want to pick who delivers those services.
Each of these platforms have unique user flows.
Setting up an account on Honor is straightforward. It asks whether the service will be for oneself or a loved one, and then prompts the user for some basic information. After the account setup, consumers are prompted to schedule an assessment. After this hour-long consultation, an Honor employee determines the need of the elder.
After this initial input of data is analyzed, Honor can automatically match consumers with service providers without any additional input. Their website claims they’re able to provide in-home care within two hours.
Even though their service is on-demand, Honor still tries to make it personal. After every booking, they follow up to schedule a time for a 1:1 session.
Carelinx focuses on consumer choice. Caregivers are well filtered, and clients are provided extensive search tools for finding the right match for their needs. But matches are not made automatically; rather, a care advisor can help you with your request and/or you can view caregivers independently. These caregivers determine the price of their services themselves and are extensively reviewed.
The Hometeam platform focuses on connecting consumers with a long-term caregiver based on that consumer’s unique needs. Consumers are first prompted to input their area code and then immediately asked who the care is for.
Consumers are then asked for what type of care they need and when and asked to input payment information.
Hometeam then emails consumers the list of potential caregivers in their area. Their approach is focused on finding long-term solutions to caregiving needs. The platform isn’t setup to enable on-demand deployment of service.
Two clear and divergent use cases exist for elderly care platforms.
First, clients who need a one-time service. Elders who may not require constant care could still require limited assistance from time to time. In particular, functions like meal preparation or transportation might fall into this category.
Second, clients who need recurring service. Some elders instead require 24/7 care. At this level, functions like bathing, mobility assistance, and companionship become necessary.
Honor offers both, but leads with on-demand to enable consumers to test the service quickly and without long-term commitment. Hometeam is very set on finding a long-term care solution. Because of Carelinx’s open platform approach, we hypothesize that they have a strong base of caregivers in their network. This allows Carelinx to present their consumers with a lot of options. These options and extensive reviews lead users to take their time in choosing a caregiver. Because the consumer is taking extensive time to review their caregiver, the service lends itself more towards recurring opportunities.
These platforms should ask themselves: is one time bookings or recurring bookings the bigger opportunity?
Obviously both of these are in demand, but it remains to be seen which can be better served by platforms.
We believe the platform that develops the strongest network effects delivering one specific type of service will have an advantage. They can then expand their platform’s offering from there. However, trying to address both markets from the beginning will be a disadvantage.
Filed under: Platform Innovation | Topics: platforms, service marketplaces, uber for
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