aNewDomain.net—Launched in 2012, Directly claims it has a network that reaches 3.2 million customers every month, with an average response time of less than 10 minutes. The quick response comes from a network of expert contractors that Directly employs who, according to the company, have specialized knowledge about companies they answer questions for.
You can get some parts of the service free but for faster help on a wider range of topics Directly offers paid options. The site encourages tipping the experts if their answer is helpful. Additionally, Directly also supports social good which is a nice touch. Experts have the option to donate their rewards and tips to one of several non-profits that partner with the company. Also, a small percentage of the company’s revenue and equity is earmarked for charity.
In terms of screening for top quality experts, Directly says that only one in three applicants make it through the rigorous vetting process. Once vetted, experts are evaluated by the ongoing user feedback, based on the quality and helpfulness of their answers. The more helpful an expert is, the more questions he or she receives.
The company says the experts come from a range of backgrounds, so a user doesn’t have to necessarily get an expert that is company-specific. Directly can supply an expert that is not a part of a company’s official support team. It’s also possible to contact a specific expert about specific problems.
When I took Directly for a test drive, it turned out that most of the company’s claims were accurate. My first questions were: “How can I unlock my iPhone on T-Mobile? Is it going to violate any agreements?” The two experts who answered part of my question did so within nine minutes, as promised, and they did so reasonably accurately. But, neither expert managed to answer the second part of my query, which was, “Would unlocking a phone violate agreements with my carrier?” (It may, depending on the situation)
Four experts answered another question: “How much does it cost to get my iPhone screen repaired?” Two of the four answers were helpful. The most useful piece of advice came from an expert named Cell Phone Geek, who explained the costs for the various iPhone models.
My last question, for Bank of America, was, “How can I dispute a bank charge?” I got three responses that all answered my question, although with slight variations. Unlike my tech questions, the banking question took much longer. I received the first answer in about five hours.
Overall, Directly is an interesting service that, depending on the complexity of the question, can speed up the sometimes-painful ordeal of trying to get a human being to answer a tech support question. Directly is fast, and for the most part the experts know what they’re talking about. But, as it seemed up above, for tricky questions such as the legality of unlocking a phone, you might do better to suffer through a tech support call to your own provider or manufacturer.
Screenshots: Max A. Cherney for aNewDomain.net
Featured image credit: Wikicommons
Max earned his writing chops gathering field intelligence and reporting on international finance and investment banking. An ad industry veteran, he has extensive experience using emerging technology in interactive marketing projects. His byline has appeared in BYTE, the SF Appeal, Indiewire, TechHive, Film Maker Magazine, and others. Max also directs commercial and documentary films. His first documentary is due in summer 2013. Max holds a Master’s degree in Writing from the California College of the Arts.Tags: Business,Productivity