So I have received lately a lot more than usual responses from customers that never turn into work because after an initial response from the potential customer, I can't get them to communicate with me.
I am VERY punctual on my responses to client communication, often times within 60 seconds of when I get a message from them. The most popular message I will get and not get any follow up on is the "Great, what's next?" or "I'd love to chat, when can I call you?". These are canned responses that they are prompted with after receiving an Instant Match quote. More often than not when I get these, I am unable to actually reach them. I will reply back with my phone number saying "now is great", or "anytime". I also will check to see if they put a number in their job request...most often NOT.
So I started checking my bill to see if I am getting charged for these people's communication and in many cases I am. I reached out to Thumbtack about it and they said they have an appeal process for disputing charges...I will find out what that process looks like today....however, I believe that process should be more well known and easy to access on a per client basis. Here is my thought, what is yours?
1. We should have an option in any given customer conversation thread, the opportunity to flag the customer as "non-responsive", or "no contact made". That would enable us to notify Thumbtack that they need to review that particular scenario for whether there is evidence that a charge should be made or not.
2. If not in the customer thread, than somewhere in our profile or dashboard, there should be a button or something that simplifies our ability to dispute charges that clearly were never real leads or opportunities.
As far as abuse or shadiness goes on the part of the pro, I think that can easily be managed by measuring how much a person disputes charges, the credibility of the dispute once it has been made, etc. I don't think the shady characters in the world are going to find success through Thumbtack for other reasons, but I think far more fairness and integrity would come from such a process than bad.
According to Thumbtack, I have a much larger budget for leads than most, if not all, of my competitors. I am not afraid to pay for every opportunity that comes my way, as I know if I can get communication with a customer, I will win business more than I will lose it. However, to get charged for leads that never turn into dialogue, or never give me the opportunity to win the business...that can get expensive and tremendously increases the overall average cost of a lead through Thumbtack and I have to measure that when I consider my spending with them and ROI for my advertising investment.
I will follow up regarding their current appeal process and let you all know how it goes.
**Update** - My appeal to Thumbtack was unproductive, to say the least. The person I chatted with had no interest in hearing my justification for a repeal review and kept giving me "canned" answers as to what the purpose of Thumbtack was and why they would not refund the examples I gave them. Very disappointing to say the least. If other Pro's start seeing this same trend in their charges, maybe they will say something as well. It may only be a few charges per week, but those charges add up and when there clearly is no real communication with customer, it is simply an unjustified charge. Please consider doing better Thumbtack.
@Lightguy333 I'm truly sorry to hear this and I assure you that we do care. I took a look into your account and found that on your Services page "Suggest jobs near my travel area" was on and likely why you were seeing jobs outside of your immediate area. I've shut that off for you and you should now see jobs that are more aligned with your settings. If there's anything else I can help you with please feel free to ask.
So true, Before they would only allow 5 pro responces but now they allow 15. Well sure cause there makng money from all of us becuse they prompt the customer in to thinking they are responding to us and none of us even ever get a chance to sell our services. Thumbtack is making all the money from us with no jobs to show for it.
@RickB sorry to hear that you felt the help you received was canned. Just remember that you're no longer paying every single time you send a quote. Instead, you're now only paying for that customer response. It does sound like you’re referring to conversation starters. Those were put in place to help customers make that next step in communicating with the pro. In those instances, the contact will cost less than if the customer were to type out a longer customized reply or give you a direct phone call. I'm happy to help in any way if you still have some remaining questions feel free to send me a direct message.
@Larry8509 Correct, once a customer has received a quote and then sent a message to the pro they can then leave a review based on any experience they feel they've had from then on out. Getting a review like that could definitely be tough. We've often seen in similar situations as long as the pro responds while being professional and kind while explaining their side of things, it shows other potential customers how well they handle adversity and tough situations.
Made this suggestion in a different thread: I'd like to see a customer rating system implemented. I'd gladly pay more for customers who write accurate descriptions, have actually hired people, pay on time, etc. Every customer gets to see our reviews, we should be able to do the same.