@SeekinsContract we understand that it's frustrating when you hear from customers initially and they then end up ghosting you. Be sure to check out this article here with some tips on what to do in those situations.
If you have a customer that states they're just looking for advice regarding property and don't have any intention on hiring someone, please let us know! If you send me the first names of the customers, I'll look into them and see if it's something we can refund.
The short story:
Problem: Thumbtack does not offer cost protection to Pros for idle and unresponsive customers.
Resolution: If customer is idle, doesn't log in or respond to messages for either 72 hours, or max 7 days, issue a credit to Pro. Note, this is not a refund, this way Thumbtack keeps the revenue, but allows Pros to use credits given for that amount to pursue other customers. Amend policy docs and prceedure to encompass such automated activity.
The Long Story:
It appears that many Pros suffer from this big revenue drain that keeps occuring over and over - idle / non-responsive / "ghosting" customers.
In many cases, and about 70% of the time in our case, we respond to a job with a personalized quote, competative, and in a timely manner (according to best practices), and then we wait... and then follow-up, and again the next day, and the next... but it does not matter. The customer does not respond. Then what? TT policy does not cover idle customer, nor gurarantees the "hire" for the job.
On the Thumbtack's side, we have to pay attention to the company's revenue stream. Essentially, protect the company's financial interests too. The proposed solution is one that offers a rather sensible, middle of the way approach. No new revenue is generated when a credit is issues, but also no revenue is lost that has already been collected from Pros.
The long term solution also involves more effort and development features to more effectively notify a customer of all quotes/responses entice the customer response. For the purpose of this discussion, we are not going any deeper into that function.
The most immediate remedy is to patch the heavy bleeding of costs devoted to bad and unresponsive customer leads. It is nobody's fault, other than the customer, but they don't have any penalties or skin in the game, hence they "ghost" without a worry. They don't even know that this causes Pros a financial loss, but TT does not want to blatenly state that to the customer in fear of scarring them away from seeking a quote for a given job.
What are your thoughts? Please keep the conversation focused more on the solutions.
@DNGVideo thank you for taking the time to share your experiences around this topic. In our recent Q&A with our CEO Marco, a pro made a similar point about the number of customers that had not been responding to them. In his response, Marco gives some advice along with recognizing that this is something that we need to work towards reducing and that we're looking into ways to do that. Your solution that you've suggested here is definitely one that I want to share and feel could possibly be effective for when customers reach out for the first time to then go unresponsive. Thanks again for bringing this to us, I'll be forwarding your thoughts and suggestions about this.