KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Whether it is getting someone to fix a pipe or cater for an event, we as customers expect a decent service for what we pay. But there are times when the plumber fails to show up or the food from the catering service gave some of your guests food poisoning.

What can you do to prevent these things from happening? RecomN (pronounced as recommend) is a community-based online platform that connects you to service professionals based on reviews and ratings. Founded by Jes Min Lua and Alex Tan almost a year ago, the platform benefits both the service professional and the customer.

From a cake to interior design, it covers a wide spectrum of services. RecomN was started based on Lua’s own personal experience. “In 2012, I was looking for a professional to shoot a video for my wedding. After some research, I picked a videographer I found online.

“One week after the wedding, he sent me a text message saying ‘Sorry, I lost all your wedding videos.’ That experience taught me that, when it comes to hiring service professionals, there is a difference between what he says he can do, and what his previous customers say he can do. Because I was not able to check the second part, I got burned by a bad experience,” she said.

So how does one hire a service professional through RecomN? On the site, there is a search bar that lets you type in the requirements you need according to category and location. You get results based on top-ranking service professionals according to customer reviews and ratings. Within a matter of hours you will get a quote from a handful of different service professionals.

Learn how to use RecomN with these easy steps.
Learn how to use RecomN with these easy steps.

RecomN is now free for use for a limited time. Currently, the service can be used nationwide and there are plans underway to go international, starting with Asia first. “We will focus on growing our base in Malaysia, really serve our target market there which are busy people going through the major moments of their lives — getting married, building a home, having their first kid. That’s why our initial focus services cover things like interior designers, renovation contractors, wedding photographers and event and party planners,” said Tan.

“We will also expand to cover other countries in South-east Asia, which has the same problem that we are trying to solve — a service industry that is less structured or regulated, and a huge gap between the good/validated and ‘grey market’ service professionals,” said Lua.

RecomN’s service professionals are crowd-sourced from a community of 300 individuals who have tried and tested the services. The platform is integrated with social media, so if you want a recommendation that you trust more, let’s say your Facebook friend — the results will show based on what your Facebook friends rated and reviewed as well.

When in doubt, leave it to the professionals at RecomN to help you out.
When in doubt, leave it to the professionals at RecomN to help you out.

“We use recommendations and relationships between people to match customers with service professionals that they can trust. So if you are connected via your Facebook account to RecomN.com, we can check if a service professional has been reviewed by someone you know. And, unlike forums or social media which take ages to get good answers, if you send us your job requirements, you will get quotes from service professionals who are already ‘vetted’ by the community, all in a matter of hours. This gives you more confidence in deciding to hire them,” said Tan.

Choose what kind of service you need from a wide variety of trusted professionals.
Choose what kind of service you need from a wide variety of trusted professionals.

According to the founders of RecomN, the platform also provides a unique tool for service professionals to pass them business leads that are already qualified. When RecomN gets a customer request for a job quote, the service professionals can choose to respond to those that they feel comfortable with. Upfront, RecomN does the work to build confidence and credibility before the service professionals invest the effort to go out and meet the customer. This way, their cost of acquiring a customer through RecomN is lower than what they can get via other channels.

“RecomN.com also functions as the marketing arm of these small-l and medium-businesses (who don’t have in-house teams), bringing them job leads and helping them build their online brand presence through our interesting and engaging content,” said Lua.