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topic id 100: Is quick reply worthy of charge?
topic id 11582: Pricing
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topic id 5571: Pricing
topic id 7120: Charging practices
topic id 7090: Insanity
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topic id 5713: Quote pricing / how much will I pay per quote?
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topic id 3937: Unhappy with thumbtack
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MailKingUSA
Level 4

New system

Feedback for Thumbtack. The new system is horrible. Please switch it back to the way it was. Costs are way too high, and hidden, and perhaps even worse is that the leads coming in are down dramatically. Not sure where all the good leads have gone but I am not seeing them as I was. The drop in leads has been by about 90% and the few that make it to me are not really even in the right category anymore. Please switch it back to the way it was or I will need to leave this service.

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120 responses
Moderator Jordan
Moderator

Re: New system

@MailKingUSA I hear you, this change is not going as smoothly as planned. It's rough - to put it lightly. While I don't have a "It'll be fixed at this date" type of answer, I do know pricing fairness and pricing transparacy are at the top of Thumbtack's list right now. Regardless, I still want to send over all the feedback I see. So, can I get a little clarification on this before I submit it? Are you wanting to go back to the model where you pay to send every single quote? Or do you like the idea of paying only for a contact, but just have concerns about the high cost and price transparency?

MailKingUSA
Level 4

Re: New system

I dont mind paying per quote and then getting refunded if they dont view OR you can bill me when they reply as long as I know what the lead cost is - as I did before. I also think you are overcharing a bit on the leads now. Of course, I dont mind paying a little more if they are good quality but that is not the case. The pricing before was low enough that I would contact LOTS of leads every day. Not the case anymore.

My bigger concern, perhaps, is that the leads for my service has dropped significantly and the quality of leads has gone down. My category (direct mail) was combine into marketing and it seems other layers of service types where added in like (operational, creative, etc..) which I dont see they point in. This may be confusing the consumers and so they are just not moving forward in the process to get the quotes. Whatever it is - my leads dropped from about 5-10 per day down to 1-2 and the quality of those are bad. Did you change teh way you advertise this on google or something? Perhaps the consumer experience is broken? At least for my key categories I can tell you it WAS working great and now it is about useless.

Moderator Jordan
Moderator

Re: New system

@MailKingUSA Ahh, yes we had a big consolidation of categories. As far as I've been told, we did this in hopes that specific categories (such as direct mail marketing) would get more hits if they were under a broader category. In this case, looks like we took Direct Mail Marketing and merged it under the Marketing umbrella. I started a marketing request (canceled before it actually sent out!) to see the flow. As of right now, if I type in "direct mail" it'll give me an option to select Marketing. Then, once I  get to the "What type of marketing are you interested in?" there is a direct mail option. From this perspective, it sounds like it should be beneficial, but if your numbers are dropping so drastically it's definitely something we need to look into!

0 Kudos

Re: New system

Why are you charging a enormous price when the customer response to you and not charging when they hire you , and charging $65 for a response , and still not hired...
Jeff
Level 5

Re: New system

Related to this is a point I have never seen a moderator touch upon and quite frankly don't expect they would be allowed to. But at least I'll ask because it's just a common sense question. I was a beta user/advisor in an NYC app based startup. It was going insanely well. Investors coming out of the woodworks, pros from all over the world in an industry with very specific skillsets. Despite numerous warnings not to, they rolled out a terrible upgrade. It isn't nearly as horrific, disatrous and comically bad as what TT has done but it is, in my experience a distant second. Within 30 days after the rollout, they had lost 40% of their clientele, as the 60 day mark approached they were near 60% loss of their clientele who had been with them since the start two years earlier. My point is this, and it's one I've never seen a moderator address. Most of us here have a lot of experience running a business. It's not hard to see a bad rollout, it happens. But what the leadership of the above case did (and yes, it is a real company), was to realize it, admit it to the community and dial it back to what it was just to stop the bleeding. They had the business sense and business savvy to do that. Theresult was that after a ling email explaining the mistake and committing to not doing it that way again, they refocussed on the core of what had got them there, rolled out rolling, incremental changes based on the feedback and as of a few months ago they sold to an investor group for an obscene among not and are now about ten times stronger than they were. So, rather than kids ask what elements we would like, and rather than say that TT is "looking into" what can be done, why not do the one thing that makes comkin sense to anyone who has run or managed a business? Why not reset to where the platform was before the changes and start from there? Please don't tell me it can't be done because I've seen it done and not just in the case above. You can reset back to prior to the changes to a point of "first, do no harm", or in this case, do no additional harm. Your credibility, which is in tatters due to the curcular and happy Pollyanna spin we get that never really answers questions would return,you would be better for it, and you could then embark on a journey to incrementally roll out changes that really are good. Many companies have a bad rollout. It happens. Why not reset to the previous state and go from there to her than endlessly asking what we want and endlessly stating that TT is considering or looks ng into or "hearing" us and nothing changes? Itcan be done, I've seen it. THEN there would be time to canvass the community and ask for input and develop changes that work.
Moderator Kameron
Moderator

Re: New system

@Jeff I'm happy to try and answer this as best I can for you. The main point I'd like to make is that the changes that have been made recently have not led us to believe that this was a "bad rollout". In fact, it's been the opposite. We've seen a much higher engagement from customers resulting in higher contacts, conversations (more than just one message from a customer), and overall pro hires. It's been a positive change for both customers and professionals using the site. As I'm sure you know whenever a big change is made to a site like Thumbtack, there will be people that have a hard time with the changes. However, the majority of pros on Thumbtack have been seeing great success. It's not that we're avoiding rolling back to the old system out of pride. It's that the new system is showing more sustainable growth than the old, in regards to all parties including customers, pros, and Thumbtack.

 

You may say as I've seen from others in the Community, "Where are these pros? We haven't been hearing from them here", and that's a fair question. To be honest many of them have expressed that they don't feel like voicing their being in favor of these new changes and success in many of these threads, as you can imagine it may not make them very popular. However, if you visit the Top Pros thread and the thread titled "Inspiration - Tell us your story" you'll see a sample of these pros.

 

For those who haven't been as successful after the changes that were made, we're here to help make adjustments, give advice, and take feedback as often as we can in order to make future adjustments and add on to the new system in order to make it work for even more pros than it already has. 

0 Kudos
Vensent
Level 6

Re: New system

@Kameron You really expect us to believe that when although it was very time consuming it is easily disproven.      I've been to those other threads and could find no example of pros even mentioning these changes on those "positive threads"  let along praising them.    In fact some "positive threads" like "Let's talk about your profile" has been completely hijacked by the opposite Pros complaining.    Those kinds of responses are causeing pros to  completely loose all faith in TT.  Don't tell us absolute lies that you cannot back up and that are easly confirmed as total fabrication.  

HansenJC
Level 8

Re: New system


@Kameron wrote:

....."You may say as I've seen from others in the Community, "Where are these pros? We haven't been hearing from them here", and that's a fair question. To be honest many of them have expressed that they don't feel like voicing their being in favor of these new changes and success in many of these threads, as you can imagine it may not make them very popular. However, if you visit the Top Pros thread and the thread titled "Inspiration - Tell us your story" you'll see a sample of these pros."

I think you could at least do a summary of the characteristics of those Pros who are pleased by the changes. I suspect (without proof) that it will be the Top Pros who are happy. Those who got there with the old system and show well to the customers when using the Instant Match.  This may not be all of them who are doing well, but there must be some discernable common characteristic that makes them happy in this.

And please do not send us to look at anecdotal evidence. This is a stock in trade of marketing departments. The Pros who are not in the 4% (the rest of us) want evidence based on some serious analasys. You owe that to us for the money we are paying you.

To even mention the "Inspiration - Tell us your story" is disengenuous of you to include in this thread about the New System. Did you even read them? I read them and am unsure there is even one of those anecdotes that says anything about the New System. And one of those Pros is struggling with the New System. You are deflecting. @Kameron Please go read those anecdotes to find the relevance to this topic.

I also suspect (without proof) that those who are happy are in particular categories, or particular markets. Perhaps some particulars about the categories where there is improvements might point you to common factors in those categories that are absent in others. Some markets also may influencing the improvements you tell us about and those of us where it is not going well are not in those markets. Again, I feel you owe us some careful analasys that does not rely on anecdotes.

I still do not believe that our profiles make the difference. A profile will have ZERO impact when a customer doesn't even view the quotes as I have seen in my case. Why are customers not looking at all of the quotes? I suspect (without proof) that they are satisfied with 10 or fewer quotes. So, the result is that a custom quote is of nearly ZERO value to the customers who are here today. The old Thumbtack may have appealed to a different customer than those who are using Thumbtack now. Again, the market may have shifted. Do some analasys on the topic of market shift.

The feeling I get from some of the responses that I have received or read here on the forum is that the Pros who are losing the business and also paying an enormous additional cost while doing so, are also a bit like the victim who is being made to feel that I (we) are to blame some how because of inferior profiles. My profile worked in the past. Explain that please. And the phrase "We are listening" just does not feel sincere BECAUSE you are not giving us hard evidence. All I hear you saying to us is: "Believe what Thumbtack tells you."

Show us the proof. And no more anecdotes, please.

John C Hansen, LEED AP
Hansen Home Inspections
Jeff
Level 5

Re: New system

HansenJC,

 

Those are awesome and very spot on points.  I believe that they will fall on deaf ears as have most of the complaints on most of the threads.  I realize the moderators are required to hype the new system but in some of my comments over the last couple of weeks I have pointed out similar points as you are making.  They hilariously push the point "To be honest many of them have expressed that they don't feel like voicing their being in favor of these new changes and success in many of these threads, as you can imagine it may not make them very popular".  But, as I've said in previous comments, no matter what, the math doesn't add up.  They may cringe in fear of becoming "unpopular", but yet Marco's video explaining the mess of a system has only 7 kudos.  They may not want to express their love of the new system but you'd think that they would have at least anonymously swamped Marco's video with kudos where no one could see names attached, something, anything that would at least bolster the position they are trying to put forth.  But just as there are no comments beyond the anecdotal evidence you refer to, there are no anonymous kudos for Marco's video from the"silent majority".  Math, it gets you every time.

Every system of data points has a bell curve.  Sometime balanced, sometimes blooped to one end or another.  But here, there is no curve.  That's intuitively and mathmatically not possible.  If you review comments on any subject prior to the changes you see a fairly even distribution of like, dislikes, and middle grounders.  But since the change, dissent, no likes (even in the form of anonymous kudos), no middle grounders.  Trends in data just don't shift like that.  Organically it went from a fairly even distribution of opinion prior to the change on a variety of subjects, to one of only dissent.  And, the explanation to try and rationalize it back to a point that anyone with business ecperience would recognize is being undertaken not just to put forth the position that the bell curve is evenly distributed but that it is overwhelmingly blooped to the support end.  Again, math and group dynamics do not work that way.  Now, I don't actually believe that there is a tidal wave of pros in support of the system.  To push that and expect pros to believe it is at best naive and at worst patronizing.  I believe that there is something else going on.

1.  If you notice in many many moderator comments, they have begun to refer to the service seekers as "customers".  This indicates a paradigm shift on TT part.  The pros are their customers and the service seekers are the pro's customers.  TT makes its money off the pros, the real customer.  If they are now referring to the service seekers as the customer, that represents a huge shift in perspective and one away from the interest of most in the pro community.  That is a huge shift in perspective that means something.

2.  I think the shift in perspective means that they are aware that they will lose a larger number of pros and that it is, if not intentional, at least desirable.  It allows them to focus on high volume pros, shift to a platform where the service seekers are TT customer and not the pros, and one that will through attrition weed out small and medium players and allow them to focus on a stealth rebranding where they focus more on the service seekers as customers while doing so on the pros dime.  In the end, to become a platform for service seekers where TT goes and finds the pros rather than a platform of one where they find the service seekers for the pros.  To do this, weeding out the small to medium players and narrowing to more common categories where they can apply volume dynamics would make sense.

3.  The cost of a quote has gone up by at least 3X, potentially much more when you take into account that they have increased from 5 to 20 pro bids and we now have to pay for the rediculously foolish concept of paying when someone contacts us whether we get the job or not.  With this change in pricing I would assume they are as a company making at least 3X and possibly 5-6X the amount of moneyn as they were previously.  With this kind of cash gush, they could theoretically lose up to 2/3 of the pro community (remember the small and medium players) and still wind up with more cash than before the changes.  That would lean them out to move to a service seeker focus with fewer categories and ability to tap volume dynamics for those that remain.

Sure, it's a theory, but in theory, it makes more sense, explains more, relies on a better understanding of group dynamics, trend analysis and just common sense than the circular answers that always come when they come at all.  Again, everything shakes out on some kind of bell curve.  But the patronizing answers are more amusing than anything else for anyone who has ever run a business.  OK, so the silent majority of pros who love the new changes are timid to post responses.....where are the anonymous kudos?  That would at least show us that yes, there are people who love it, hidden as they are.  Instead....crickets.  

You were right about the deflection.  Most moderator comments have employed logic fallacies common when pushing a point that is appearing.....elusive.  One is a causal fallcy.  "The pros don't like the new changes so it must be because they don't understand them, therefore we will focus on making them understand them".  This doesn't hold up because with the exception of pricing (I think that is more based on tarot cards and dice rolls), I think the pros understand the new system perfectly well and have, as business owners with experience in their field, realized it stinks.  To continue to assume its just a matter of educating us to the point we love it too is a causal logic fallacy.  It is also a circular logic fallacy, petitio principii, as they seem to be constantly saying "The new changes are positive for pros because they were designed to be positive for pros".  Yes, they will allude to the fact that "nothing is perfect" and "We're listening" and "we're working on it".  But when a complex series of changes is rolled out some aspects will be fine, some will need minor tweaking, and some will stink and need to be scrapped.  And in those cases, it is evident pretty early on which fall into each category and what they can and should do.  They are identifiable.  After the amount of time that has passed since rollout, any responsible business team in charge of those changes would be able to say "Here are two or three things that did not work, here is what we are doing remedially today to correct and here is what we are doing to fix it and here is the date".  "Nothing is perfect" and "We're listening" and "we're working on it" mean they either don't know, or they aren't going to.  They would have had far less outcry of they would specifrically state what didn't work, what the immediate workaround is and when the fix will be done in order to satisfy their customer. By the way TT, the pros are the customers.  (Oh, by the way if my weeding out theory is correct and they are shifting focus, the circular responses may instead be a red herring logic fallacy, meant to distract us as they shift focus from a platform catering to pros to one that caters to service seekers, but that's a topic for another day).

In any case, sorry for the long response.  Again, I think you nailed it because you are coming at it from the standpoint of sound logic based on business experience.  And to Thumbtack, who may worry that my attitude and that of others is overwhelmingly negative I can only say this.  On behalf of most of the pros here....."Nothing is perfect, we're listening and we're working on it".