Interview with Tom Archer, Managing Director at Just Text Tom
Tom Archer is the founder and director at Bonhive, the company that enables buying and selling of Consulting Services simpler, faster and highly cost-effective by bringing together experienced Procurement Specialists with a powerful online platform. Having worked on consulting engagements in Europe, North America and recently returning from three years in South East Asia, Tom brings a worldwide perspective on the management consulting industry and a deep understanding of businesses expectations. Tom is a qualified Prince2 project manager and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. He also holds a First Class bachelor’s degree in Physics from Bristol University. Recently Tom Archer has launched a new text messaging concierge service Just Text Tom.
Magazine MN: Tom, tell us a bit about yourself.
Tom: Prior to immersing myself into the world of startups I worked as strategy consultant for 9 years. This gave me a good opportunity to work with business leaders from across the world, spending time with clients in Europe, North America and most recently three years in Singapore, covering South East Asia. When I decided to relocate back to the UK, I felt that it was the perfect time to make the change from corporate life to something much more entrepreneurial. Running my own business is something I’ve wanted to do for many years and there are only so many startup books you can read before giving it a go yourself! I’m finding it very refreshing to finally have the time and focus to develop my ideas into reality.
Magazine MN: What is Just Text Tom? What is its main mission?
Tom: Just Text Tom is a text messaging concierge service that will source and deliver literally anything a customer requests via a text based chat. Our mission is to provide a delightfully simple solution for customers to get goods or services on demand and hassle free. We’re aiming to be the go-to service that can be relied on to quickly handle requests of any complexity.
Magazine MN: How does the concept behind Just Text Tom work? How do you charge users?
Tom: The concept is quite simple. You send a text to our Just Text Tom number with your request and a member of our concierge team is tasked with sourcing your goods or services. We look to fulfil your request in the most efficient way, using one or more providers as needed, whether it’s booking plane tickets, ordering a hot meal to be delivered with your favourite beer or something much more ambitious.
Once sourced, a concierge will text back with the exact price that includes our small commission, so there are no hidden fees. You can then confirm or decline the order by text. The first time you confirm an order we text you an encrypted link to enter your payment details, which are processed via Stripe. After that, completing requests is as simple as sending a text.
The commission we charge is kept as low as possible, which helps us encourage regular usage and is based on the complexity of each request. If a customer asks for local cinema times, they’ll receive the information for free, whereas a request for a rare bottle of Dom Pérignon to be delivered by helicopter in an hour will require a significant amount of coordination, which will result in a higher commission.
Magazine MN: Who can use Just Text Tom? Where is it available?
Tom: Currently anyone with a UK mobile number can use Just Text Tom. As you’d expect the majority of our requests come from within the UK, however we also have customers who use the service when travelling abroad.
Magazine MN: Tell us a bit about the team behind Just Text Tom.
Tom: We currently have a core team of five staff working from our London office, including a number of ex-management consultants. The team works in three shifts supported by four additional part-time staff in order to provide twenty four hour coverage. The key skills we look for are strong problem solving capabilities as well as a diverse range of knowledge and contacts. We’ll often share complex requests between team members who are matched in terms of experience and connections to ensure the best result.
Magazine MN: How did you come up with an idea of creating Just Text Tom?
Tom: Having lived in Singapore for a few years, I’d grown accustomed to service businesses really striving to deliver convenient customer experiences, so when I returned to the UK I sought out the equivalent types of business.
It quickly became apparent that the services I discovered and signed up to, such as TaskRabbit, JustEat (takeaway delivery) and We Deliver Local (groceries), required a fair amount of micro-management and coordination – whether online, via apps or email.
A number of my friends had similar experiences and I reasoned that there must be an easier way to process our requests. Whilst Siri and the equivalent can handle limited tasks, there was nothing that could intelligently process complex day to day requests. It was from this need that Just Text Tom was created, with the focus on providing a solution that could get you whatever you need by simply texting an experienced concierge.
Magazine MN: How can users get in touch with you?
Tom: If a user has any question or would just like to try out our service they can text us on 07821 821 715 (we currently support UK mobiles). We’re also available for web-chat on www.justtexttom.com or Twitter @justtexttom. Users can contact me directly via Twitter @thomasarcher or LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/tomjarcher
Tom Archer was interviewed by Natalie Myhalnytska
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