Are you having Blocked Calendar Issues ??

RogueRemodeling
RogueRemodeling Posts: 8
edited March 31 in Business Resources

Anyone else experiencing issues with customers bypassing your blocked calendar or days you are unavailable to work ?

Are you having Blocked Calendar Issues ?? 5 votes

YES
80% 4 votes
NO
20% 1 vote

Comments

  • DustiO
    DustiO Administrator Posts: 715
    edited March 30

    @RogueRemodeling It could be because customers have selected that they are flexible on their dates. I would still reach out to them and ask, and if they are not flexible on dates then I would request a refund! Also, if it's a matter of you blocking a long period of time, because you are out of town or something like that you can always use the Hide My Business option too. Hope this helps!

  • @DustiO Thanks for the reply !

    In my experience most customers only want it on a certain day and stop replying whenever you notify them of an unavailability.

    With the new policy change, I am unable to get a refund without a customer stating they don’t want to wait in writing

  • DustiO
    DustiO Administrator Posts: 715
    edited March 30

    @Mage @busyb Do either of you run into this being in your industries where people might be "flexible" on times? Any advice on how you approach customers who have requested a time you don't have available?

  • busyb
    busyb Posts: 26

    @DustiO this is definitely an issue I have run across as well. I have discussed it with a few Thumbtack concierges and they said to request refunds but I rarely get one anymore. And in my industry, I will say that people get "cold feet" so on top of the fact that they submit the request with dates that I have blocked off, they often back out before we've even had a chance to discuss alternative dates. I am not sure how Thumbtack can resolve this since I know you don't want to have to ever charge the customers for the connection but the cost does add up over the course of a year and I personally don't think Pros should have to pay the price for flakey customers😏

  • @busyb the no reply issue is another problem !

    I used to receive refunds for the blocked out days but now they says it’s a new policy not to issue a refund unless I have written proof ?

    So I can’t even call them and confirm, I have to use a text message. It’s terrible. I’m out a few hundred on these alone in just the past two weeks

    One concierge recommend putting my profile in inactive status but that only works if you have work for that week. I can’t put inactive for a week long job scheduled for best month.

  • busyb
    busyb Posts: 26

    @RogueRemodeling I know that Thumbtack is trying to figure out the right balance that is fair to both customers and pros. I think there is definitely an argument from our standpoint that we shouldn't be penalized because customers are flakey but I understand Thumbtack's point of view that they are concerned if they start charging customers that back out of their inquiries that they will stop using the service. I consider the leads lost just a cost of doing business and as long as I am still netting significantly more from all of the jobs combined over the course of the year than I am losing in leads, I am accepting it. But blocked days you definitely shouldn't be charged for right @DustiO ???

  • They do not charge customers or tell them that we are being charged.


    I asked a concierge if I could mention to customers that book on blocked days something like “ can you confirm this day doesn’t work so I do not get charged”


    and they said they would kick me off if I did !

    that they do not want customers knowing that WE are being charged


    it maybe helpful if they knew so they don’t price shop with 5 contractors that are each being billed $30 a piece …..

  • busyb
    busyb Posts: 26

    @RogueRemodeling I agree re: customers knowing that we get charged but even if they did I have a feeling they would still reach out to several people at a time because they don't want to have to go through the process more than once. I get that but I don't know if there is really a great solution based on how Thumbtack works. I will tell you though that I still come out way ahead even paying for leads that don't go anywhere. I have tried other apps like Angie's List and Yelp and not one lead ever converted to a booking so I continue to work Thumbtack as hard as possible and try not to stress about any leads I don't get for whatever reason.

  • I 100% agree that thumbtack is the best platform !

  • The no reply charge doesn’t make sense but I’ll eat the charges to continue to use the platform

    Now they can contact me when I’m blocked out, not reply and I get charged ?

    That’s almost a deal breaker.

  • The issue is.


    When we block our calendars out, customers can bypass the “calendar block” by clicking the “allow pros to suggest other dates option”

    Even a simple prompt telling the customer, “This pro is not available until xyz date” may help.

  • Mage
    Mage Posts: 79

    Good question. I wonder if my industry even has this option anymore. 🤔 I don't get those "instant book" requests anymore, and I am very careful to set my targeting preferences for times of the day in which I can do. Is the instant book what you are referring to? Most of the time, in my industry (music performance and music lessons, currently mainly music lessons has the higher demand), I have this saved template that tells the customer to register on my website for a consultation. I have asked Thumbtack, and they said my auto-response is good, but I wonder if I need to just put my Calendly on there. I used to give consultations at no charge, but I talked to others in my industry, and some of them could not believe that I am not charging for those! The only exception I will make now is that if a customer wants to have a consultation at "no charge" is that they attend my office hours, which are held on specific hours on Thursdays only, and during those hours, there are existing students that attend, and the customers get to watch me teach these students and ask questions. I had to come up with something creative. I am sorry if my answer was kind of long; it's late! 😆 But I don't think I get those "instant books" anymore. I would love it if Thumbtack integrated with my Google Calendar or Calendly, but for now, I at least have a good auto-responder. Front Desk is the best too! 🤩 I wonder if we can pay extra for Front Desk to help set expectations for customers and let them know that if we are in demand that they need to wait before they can book us! 😆 I actually have been exploring this option at Signpost, another company, that has a live receptionist service...I can't remember the name of the company that merged with them from the top of my head...but maybe....could Thumbtack look at something like this?

  • DustiO
    DustiO Administrator Posts: 715

    @Mage @busyb @RogueRemodeling I am loving watching this conversation (especially because you all know so much more than I do and your advice and experience are so much better than mine!).

    @Mage I will look at Signpost and see what that is and send it to the partnerships team to see what they think.

    To all of you I would suggest that you follow up with support if you were denied a refund on a blocked date. I know teams are actively working to improve the refund process so that feedback is important. I know that doesn't really help the current conundrum, but hopefully it helps moving forward. And I would also suggest that you update your availability - blocked times and business hours - regularly to make sure they align with your actual availability so you get the most accurate matches possible. (ie if I have a week where I am booked every morning, I would change my business hours and block my time for that week.)

    We are working on some Google Calendar integration...but I don't know when it will happen (we do hear this a lot from pros, though). I know a lot of pros use Calendly and I think it's a great idea to send that link, @Mage! I love that idea! @RogueRemodeling I also love the idea of the app reminding customers that you aren't available during a certain time, although if they truly are flexible, that may turn them away?

    I love @busyb's perspective about looking at the overall ROI vs individual leads!

  • @DustiO All of these situations are occurring when our calendars are blocked and updated ! That's the issue, the system is set up where customers are able to bypass our blocked dates and then we are being denied refunds... Same with business hours, I have my business hours (Mon-Fri) I do not work weekends and do not get refunds for clients requesting work on weekends.

    As for the reminder idea, I would rather lose a few customers than pay for no reason. It really is roughly 95% of people that only want work performed on certain dates even though they choose " allow pros to pick other dates" Maybe just get rid of that option all together !! That would solve a lot of headache !

    I've tried all of the options listed above and customer services keeps denying. I was just curious to see if anyone knew of a loop hole.

    Just seems like a money grab. I don't understand, no refund for no replies because we are expected to call them and work it out....... BUT we can NOT call them to reschedule for when we are blocked out. We HAVE TO have them refuse in TEXT and send a screenshot. Kind of contradicting. Maybe just take our word for it considering our calendars are blocked.......

    Ok I'm done ranting 😂

  • DustiO
    DustiO Administrator Posts: 715

    @RogueRemodeling You're not ranting ;) These are valid concerns! I hope we see some improvement in these issues as we are always working to make things better - so your feedback is very much appreciated!

  • Mage
    Mage Posts: 79

    Thanks @DustiO for sending the Signpost (and their call answering service, which comes from another company, and they merged) to your partnerships team. I am willing to pay extra if it means less stress for me! 😆 I am amazing at answering calls (I put myself through university by doing tech support in call centers!), but time is something that I value more these days, especially with my profession as a musician. I need to be able to practice, and that takes hours per day! 🎶 ⏰

    I wanted to ask something: is there any way for us to split our business hours? I want the public to know that I am not available during my lunch break! 🥘

    Yes I will just keep sending the Calendly link. I have decided to start charging for initial consultations (it keeps out the tire kickers! 😆 ).

    Very interested in seeing the strategies of other Pros. I am also looking forward to Google Calendar integrations and a better experience for Pros who are receiving leads that are requesting times that they are not available.

  • DustiO
    DustiO Administrator Posts: 715

    @Mage Unfortunately you cannot split your business hours, but this is really great feedback! I love that you send your Calendly link, this is such a great idea. And good on you for charging for consults, those take a lot of time and energy!

  • Mage
    Mage Posts: 79

    Thanks @DustiO! 😎 Perhaps I should just mention "closed for lunch 5-6 PM Pacific" or something along those lines. You just reminded me to update my saved replies to include the Calendly link. 😆 Thanks for that.