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Just a call away

The `talking yellow pages' provide it all. From the next-door beauty parlour to the newly opened restaurant to rentals, the info is just a call away.


DIAL A SERVICE: The Talking Yellow Pages is a viable alternative to the 197 queue. - Photo: Satish. H

IT IS 8 p.m. and you want to see a movie in a far-flung cinema hall. Looking into the voluminous yellow pages for the movie halls' telephone number can be one nerve-racking task especially when you are hard pressed for time.

So, you decide to call the `talking yellow pages'. Or imagine this, you want to try out the new exotic restaurant your colleague told you about and darn, you don't have the number to contact them.

You decide to call up the seven fours, 4444444, a.k.a, the `Just Dial Talking Yellow Pages', a number that has become popular with the Hyderabadis who have found the alternative to the `197' queue.

Four years into operations, today the service receives over 4,000 calls daily for information on shops, entertainment - cinema halls, clubs and recreation centres - to emergency services such as ambulance and blood banks.

One of the frequent users of the services, Ramya found the talking yellow pages a blessing when she had to find blood banks in the twin cities to arrange for transfusion for her father's operation. "The service is useful and instant, and one finds help just a call away," she says.

The multilingual service, seven days a week and available round the clock, comes for free except for the DOT charges for the local call you make, has other USPs apart from being a wedding of two popular technologies.

"Communication is making rapid progress. People find it difficult to search through yellow pages especially when on the move, while it is easier to find information faster using the telephone and computer media," says P. Srinivas Rao, CEO, Just Dial Services, Hyderabad.

"We have a separate department, which looks into the updates and changed telephone numbers. It is easier to update the database on the system," he adds.

"Further, it is an easy-to-remember number where people can call up 365 days for information for telephone numbers of companies and classifications. You could ask for the nearest beauty parlour or the number of the marbles and tiles showroom," Rao says.

Also, the callers' data bank here is provided to the associate members who could further follow up and assist the shopper or the person looking for the service.

A brainchild of promoter Mani Iyer, the Just Dial Services, with its first branch in Mumbai (8888888) that started in 1993, today is available in Delhi (2222222), Bangalore (3333333), Chennai (6444444) and Ahmedabad (6555555) apart from the large database in Hyderabad, and envisaged for Kolkata, Kochi and Pune soon.

Also one can log into the website www.justdial.com, where one can access data using the city, area, category and company search. One observes that the yellow pages (listing commercial, business services) and people pages (listing telephone numbers of people), which have been popular concepts in the West for a long time, are soon catching up in India.

With over 15 million calls annually and 15,000 page views daily, the Just Dial Services have been well-liked by organisations looking for purchases, importers overseas and techno-savvy young executives and students alike.

"About 75-80 per cent part of the twin cities uses our services but we haven't reached 100 per cent. Our focus should be also those remaining people who haven't been using the services. We are planning to introduce value-added services shortly so that we can reach every household," says Rao.

Housekeeping services via telephone such as for laundry, plumbers, carpenters, tutors, beauticians, and interior decorators, from home delivery of medicines, placement services and rentals - residential and commercial - to bridging the gap between buyers and sellers of cars - the talking yellow pages provide it all.

Secretarial services for companies who release frequent advertisements and would want their calls to be handled in a professional way, and providing 24-hour call centre facility are some of the value-added services from the Just Dial Services' forays in the coming months.

As for now, it would be getting that number you wanted, just a dial away.

S.F.

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