Technology

Innovator turns phone into professional consultation tool

mwago

Nairobi-based lawyer Victor Mwago displays the CallPesa app during the interview at Nation Centre, Nairobi on July 9, 2021. PHOTO | FAUSTINE NGILA | NMG

Summary

  • He noted that many professional services when offered virtually, usually went unrewarded as they were wholly or partially never put into regular billing.
  • With services like telemedicine receiving a widespread adoption even in rural areas, the platform comes in handy for patients who want to consult doctors over audio or video calls.
  • Once the consultation is over, a notification with total amount billed is automatically sent to the client via SMS, directing him or her to pay through M-Pesa or bank.

You could soon start getting charged for every consultation you make on phone call, if the pace of adoption of a new innovation developed by a Nairobi-based lawyer spreads across the country and beyond.

Victor Mwago, an advocate of the High Court, realised a year ago from a pilot study that many Kenyan professionals would be ready to pay for specialised knowledge, computed from the number of minutes a consultation would take. But his idea was borne out of the Covid-19 pandemic economic situation, after the country went into its first lockdown, making physical consultations difficult across county borders.

He noted that many professional services when offered virtually, usually went unrewarded as they were wholly or partially never put into regular billing.

“Now, more than ever, pay-per-call makes sense for a service business. Remote work especially in professional services is gaining momentum, and that is gradually becoming the norm,” the 31-year-old innovator told Digital Business.

He has created CallPesa, which he describes as the caller-ID for billing and payments which combines three of the most used applications today - calls, video, and payments - to provide a single platform to businesses and individuals looking to create an additional revenue stream by converting their phone numbers into powerful billing systems. With services like telemedicine receiving a widespread adoption even in rural areas, the platform comes in handy for patients who want to consult doctors over audio or video calls.

Since its launch in December 2020, CallPesa has helped professionals working virtually either as financial advisers, medical therapists, psychiatrists, lawyers, technology specialists, architects, civil engineers, educationists and media trainers charge for services delivered more efficiently.

“At CallPesa, we believe that you should take all the necessary measures to be paid for work done. Our platform has various features, including automated payments and accounting, reporting and analytics, custom rate setting for individual clients and so much more,” Mr Mwago expounds.

When Digital Business downloaded the app from Google Playstore for testing, we realised that every professional being consulted for services has the option to set their own pay rate per hour, but most rates range from Sh300 to Sh10,000 per hour.

Once the consultation is over, a notification with total amount billed is automatically sent to the client via SMS, directing him or her to pay through M-Pesa or bank.

“You are responsible for setting up the per hour rate for your clients and we have unmatched pricing options in our app. You can choose from the following packages: Free Forever, Starter, Professional and Enterprise options.”

Mr Mwago advises first time users to start with the Free Forever option as it will guarantee that you will know how it works while getting all the technical support you need before selecting the paid options.

“Knowledge professionals know this all too well when they attend to, what they think is a 5-minute call only to spend 30 minutes giving a consultation that ends up going unbilled. Coupled with the mistaken belief that charging for a call might be petty, professionals end up leaving thousands in unbilled fees on the table,” says Mr Mwago.

He adds that on a daily basis people respond to client questions, give advice and direction, train or give a demonstration, or clarify and develop processes with clients, and they do so through calls or video and thus since that time has real market value it ought to be billed.

“We created CallPesa for specific types of businesses, although it is open to anyone with an android phone. This has allowed us to integrate all the necessary features that make turning a profit from your telephone calls a reality,” he says.

CallPesa, which now has over 2,000 downloads and 300 active monthly users, is managed by a team of seven technologists who help with the on-boarding process, with clients in Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, US, UK and United Arab Emirates.

Over the last seven months, the platform has recored over 10,000 billed calls that translate to 5,000 billed hours, with Sh12 million in transaction value.

“Since I started using CallPesa in March, I have made Sh72,000 on medical consultations,” said a Mombasa based doctor who spoke to Digital Business.