1) Inform the clients of your policy to charge pros for the leads and how they determine these numbers
2) Eliminate ALL template cookie cutter response options and allow only specified messges to the pro that explains their needs.
3) Full refund (instead of credits) for any ghost leads. TT must bear responsibility for its mistakes, as we do. That would inspire our trust and encourage us to continue answering leads without worry of wasting precious time and money.
4) Hire a competent vetting team that has representatives from all the services offered on this site. These representative would be actual pros (active or retired) who know how our businesses work.
Hey @TexasBest, do you happen to have the name of that customer? If so feel free to send me a direct message and I'd be happy to look through that experience with you to see what may have been the cause.
I just recently watched the youtube vidow of Noamar dated june 18th of last year. In that video Noamar lays out several reasons for the "new and improved" Thumbtack. One of those reasons was that our cutomers want instant gratification. Our customers have been trained like Pavlov's dogs to expect their rewards immediately. With the old system, our customers would post a job lead and have to wait for hours, or sometimes days for quotes to come in. With the new system, Noamar stated, the pro's customers would get immediate answers to thier requests. Sounds great... who can argue with that. However.., after closer inspection, the new system has not solved that problem.....at all. In the old system, I was eager to post a quote within the first 15 minutes of a job posting. I knew, any delay could cause me to be locked out. In fact... most pro's were operating this way, not just me. Today, under the new system, where our cutomer gets immediate access to some of the pro's profiles.. (note... they dont get access to all of the pro's profiles.. some of the pro's are locked out of even being seen... is that an improvement?) Our customer then selects at least one pro from the provided list. Now... that same customer, the one who wanted immediate gratification, has to wait for replys.... and wait.... and wait... (not much different than before). In fact, I have seen where one of our customers has selected 5 or 6 pro's from the incomplete list, and then only one of those pro's ever responded.. Wow... what an improvement.... or was it.. Used to be, our customer base had access to choose from the full list of pro's... now they dont. (that's not an improvement). The customers of today are having to wait just like the customers of yesterday... The only real difference is that now... with the new system, Thumbtack is able to make a deposit for every pro that was on promote for that customer to see. With the old system, Thumbtacks deposit was pivoting on the customer viewing a quote. It would seem that the the problem with the old system is that the customers were not actually coming back to view the quotes.. Today.. we have a similar problem, it's called ghosting... only difference, the old ghosts of yesterday did not generate revenue... today, with the new system.. every ghost is a money maker.
I'm not asking to go back to the old system.. if it wasnt working for TT then, it probably wont work for TT now.. but this new system isnt working either. It didnt solve the problem that you set out to solve....which was that customers were having to wait... they still have to wait... The downside... you've got thousands upon thousands of pro's that are not going to wait.
I used to hear horror stories about one of TT's competitors, Home Advisor. We still hear those stories, only difference is that now people add Thumbtack right beside Home Advisor.
So let's get constructive.. is there and answer, or will we continue down this same path, the one that didnt solve the problem.
If the client really wants quick responses, let them call us directly. Mask our phone number if you have to, but let them call.. if we dont answer... they will call the next guy. The pro's will adjust to that kind of system. We are very creative when we have to be to find a way to make things work... Our customers will get quik answers, Thumbtacks image will recover, and everybody wins.
I wholeheartedly agree with EVERYTHING George said! I have watched Thumbtack go from a decent lead-gen portal to one where the pros -- the people who PAY YOU, and NOT the job posters -- had a decent shot at growing their businesses, to this "whack a mole" approach that does nothing but frustrate most of us. Add to that the all-too-typical responses from the moderators of the Community, when pros lodge legitimate concerns, which are nothing but "rah-rah" messages that only serve to motivate them.
Thumbtack's senior management -- yes, Marco, we're talking about you -- really needs to take a good inward look at how things are being run. They're not the same as they were in the Fall of 2017, and it would be OK that they're not, but absent of any earnest listening to the PROFESSIONALS, we will start leaving. As George so solidly states it, you need to engage with the pro community...we are more than willing to help you build a portal that can be MUTUALLY beneficial.
Just thought you should know.
As a data-driven company, you will appreciate that my requests are based on data, not emotion. About 60% of my leads are ghosts who, after clicking on "when are you available" or something similar, do not respond to any messages.
When a customer reaches out to a pro under the Promote system, pros are charged. In theory, we are paying for this connection to the customer - and this is fair!
The frequent response from TT is that we are paying for the connection to the customer.
My request is that when a customer reaches out to a pro with nothing but a click, and the pro responds with a message - you demonstrate that the customer has received this message from the pro. This is what will verify that the connection we have paid for has been made.
We need to see that TT customers are reaching out to us, hearing back from us, and choosing to not respond. Otherwise, the connection that pros pay for has NOT been established. Communication happens not when someone speaks, but rather when they are heard.
It does pros no good to be connected to these customers - and charging pros for leads who do not receive their messages is unjustifiable. You have the data. Please share it.
Lack of transparency will lead to a lack of trust.
@Meckell The problem with your policy is that it allows no room for error on the side of the customer. It puts all the blame on the Pro for not doing enough. "Send another message.", "Ask another question." But then if we message the customer too many times, they get annoyed and we look unprofessional.
Your policy needs some sort of caveat for those customers that reach out to us Pros and then don't respond to our questions. We need more info in order to give an acurate quote. If they ghost us, where is the value in that lead? You can say "the customer might do this..." or "there is stil a chance that the customer will..." but if the customer is NOT RESPONDING to direct questions about their project, there is something wrong with the situation. The customer is not a serious buyer. Again, they reached out to me FIRST, if they can't answer a simple question, then the lead is GARBAGE and Thumbtack has no justification for charging me for that lead.
I asked for a refund on a customer that ghosted me. She reached out to me on Promote. She used the pre fab question "Can you give an estimate?". I asked her to provide me with more details about the project. No response from her for 6 days.
My refund request was rejected. In the email from Thumbtack it said "The customer reached out to learn more about your business, which is why you paid for this lead. It’s possible the customer may still reply, and you can also send follow-up messages to the customer for free. Follow-up messages are a quick way to show you’re still interested in working together."
I've already asked a follow up question, which is basically the same question again...asking for more details in order to provide the customer with an accurate quote.
So my questions to Thumbtack are:
1) Do I get a refund of the customer never replies to my second question? If not, how about a third question?
2) Why do the non-paying customers get treated better than us paying Pros in this situation? Under the "What's coming in June?/Targeting Offer/Promote" landing page it says "Customers should never contact a pro and not hear back."
3) What is the current policy on Ghosts that contact Pros via Promote and never respond BEFORE the Pro has given a quote?
@StoriesUpSTL if you watch this video here, you'll see that you're charged for the first time a customer reaches out to you. When a customer reaches out to you through search results, they're usually asking for more info, or are wanting to schedule a call or a booking. That's them showing interest. If you're promoting and the lead matches your preferences, that's when you're charged. We understand that it's frustrating when customers ghost you, but as of right now it's not something we refund for as they reached out initially showing interest. Check out our Refunds article to refresh what does qualify for a refund. If you have any charges you want me to look into, be sure to send me a private message.