Problems can occur at anytime and anywhere in our lives. Sometimes, finding the right solution is hard. Problems related to health, legal, technical, money, etc., could consume lots of our energy and time. Even after that, every so often, the solutions cannot be satisfactory due to a lack of professional expertise. Taking professional advice can help people find the right answers in a short time.
Sometimes people have more than one problem that is relevant to different experts. Not everyone can go out and find experts on their own. Getting expert opinions from different professionals as per our requirements can help us more efficiently. Today’s digital lifestyle has the advantage of reaching help swiftly.
JustAnswer connects people with professionals who can help them whenever and wherever they need it. The platform was founded by Andy Kurtzig (Founder and CEO) in 2003. The organization has professionals from different fields on the same platform where they can provide opinions and solutions to the seekers.
In a recent interview with JustAnswer’s Team, we discussed more about how the organization helps people 24/7 to find the right solutions to their problems speedily.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
Please brief our audience about JustAnswer, its mission, and the key aspects of its stronghold within the virtual care services niche.
JustAnswer is a platform that connects people with live doctors, lawyers, vets, mechanics, and other verified and vetted experts for real-time assistance, insight, and answers to just about any question or problem 24/7. With more than 12,000 experts across 700 categories, JustAnswer is the leading destination for accessing affordable professional help on-demand when and from wherever you need it.
Founded in 2003, JustAnswer has helped more than 16 million customers in 64 languages across 196 countries. The company provided answers to more than 3 million questions in 2021 alone.
Our mission is to help people. And a big part of that mission is in providing a platform for virtual health care so that people can chat online with real doctors in any number of specialized fields – from cardiologists and oncologists to pediatricians and OB/GYNs – whenever (and from wherever) they need the help. And actually, this is one of the reasons the company exists today.
The idea for JustAnswer originally came to Founder and CEO Andy Kurtzig when his wife was pregnant with the couple’s first child and found herself frustrated wanting answers to her many questions at all hours of the day and night. Andy decided to create a site that would enable her and other people like her to have that access to professional help anytime from anywhere.
What makes our company truly stand out is that we actually help real people every day, sometimes in life-changing ways or life-saving situations. Literally every day, we hear dozens of stories from customers illustrating how much we have helped them with important problems in their lives.
Being able to connect people with an expert who can answer questions and provide critical, educated, and personalized advice to help them solve real-life problems in real-time without having to leave their home or pay hundreds of dollars an hour means we are truly making a difference in people’s lives.
Tell us more about the offerings that give JustAnswer a distinctive edge to stand out from the competition?
- On-Demand: JustAnswer shifts professional services from “appointment” to “on-demand” — meaning answers are available NOW.
- Accessible from anywhere in the world, anytime (24/7/365)
- Affordable – Ability to access top talent on an unlimited basis for a fraction of the cost of a single offline session. No health insurance is needed!
- Accuracy – Not just generalists, but access to doctors across 21 different specialties, including Cardiology, Mental Health, Orthopedics, Pediatrics, and Urology.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them while ensuring the safety of your employees?
During the pandemic, when most of the world shut down, and people hunkered inside to socially distance themselves from others, customer question volume on JustAnswer surged almost overnight. That meant JustAnswer needed more doctors, more employees, more servers (the site was repeatedly crashing), and more of nearly everything.
At the same time, we needed to keep all our people safe and productive. For doctors and employees, they took on more work in the short term while we hustled to bring in more people to help. Many face-to-face doctors suddenly found themselves without work, so we filled that void for them, allowing them to help people and earn an income from home.
For JustAnswer employees, we immediately let all of our people globally (US, India, Ukraine, Philippines) work from home and provided them with the tools (laptops, video conferencing, etc.) to be effective. In the U.S., we have adopted a remote-first workplace policy for the indefinite future.
With continuous development in technologies such as AI and ML, what is your prediction about the future of the virtual care services market?
For most doctors, the ‘fun’ part of the job is actually helping people by solving important health problems. On the flip side, the ‘not-so-fun’ part of most doctors’ jobs is dealing with administration, sales, marketing, IT, and billing.
JustAnswer uses ML to automate everything but the answer, so doctors can focus on the ‘fun’ part. For example, we have built a sophisticated chatbot called “Pearl” that automates a lot of the steps and questions consumers have before and after their interaction with the Doctor.
As an established leader, what would be your advice to the budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the HealthTech space?
My advice, first and foremost, is always to focus on the customer. Your first and last question should always be, “What does the customer want?” Too many founders/CEOs are focused on tax structures (LLC vs C-Corp) or office space or logos. If the customer does not want what you sell, you will not need that other stuff.
How do you envision scaling JustAnswer’s operations and offerings in 2022 and beyond?
We continue to see increased demand and question volume for JustAnswer across nearly all the categories, including health and wellness, and so one of our first priorities in scaling is recruiting and hiring experts for the platform. We are always seeking great physicians, specialists, therapists, and other healthcare professionals to join the platform.
In terms of where we are expanding this year and beyond, one interesting area we entered in 2021 is the employer market, working with corporations and other organizations looking to provide access to JustAnswer to their employees as a paid benefit. The ‘JustAnswer for Employees’ offering gives companies the ability to give their employees immediate access to verified and vetted experts such as doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, tech support, car mechanics, therapists, and more.
In addition, we are rolling out a number of interesting partnerships that provide unique benefits to JustAnswer users. For example, we recently announced that customers of auto repair network RepairPal can now have access to online, interactive chat with make-specific mechanics working as experts for JustAnswer. In addition, JustAnswer customers who ask questions in the car category can now also get a reference for a nearby RepairPal-certified mechanic for repairs.
The Prime Mover
JustAnswer’s CEO & Founder Andy Kurtzig started the company back in 2003 when his wife was pregnant with the couple’s first child, and she—like so many first-time moms—had tons of questions and concerns at all hours of the day and night.
It was not always possible or practical to call her OB/GYN or wait until her next appointment to get answers to everything she wanted to know. That is what gave Andy the idea to develop a site that would help people like his wife to connect with verified and vetted doctors (and all kinds of professionals) to get answers and advice whenever and from wherever they happened to be.
Because Andy is a programmer and a serial entrepreneur (he had already started and sold two businesses by that point), it made sense to create this marketplace connecting people with vetted, live experts to solve this problem. Over the years since then, Andy has grown the company and helped steer it toward its current breadth, depth, and financial success, with nearly 700 employees across three continents and processing more than 3 million questions a year from consumers around the world.
Few Stories of JustAnswer
– Advised a woman about legal custody and guardianship issues involving her grandson, whom she was trying to enroll in school while removing the child from a volatile home situation.
– A woman found a four-week-old kitten under her home on a Saturday. A Veterinarian on JustAnswer spent most of the weekend giving her personalized instructions on how to keep the newborn alive via dropper feeding, etc. until she could get him into an offline vet on Monday. That vet told us that JustAnswer saved the kitten’s life.
– Expert in the relationship and parenting category who has personally helped stressed-out parents navigate the strain of digital device addiction, depression, and anxiety in homebound children and teens during the pandemic.