What to do if a customer ghosts you.

Thumbtack Employee dinal
Thumbtack Employee
8 79 5,986

Outlands_Ghost (1).jpg

They contact you, then they disappear. So what can you do to get them back?

It’s so, so infuriating. A customer reaches out, you pay, you respond, then… nothing. Silence. You have no idea what went wrong. Maybe the customer hired a different pro, maybe they decided to do this project later, maybe their kid broke her leg and they’ve got bigger things to worry about right now. Whatever it is, we know it’s frustrating for you.

There’s no way to stop ghosting from happening completely, but there are a few things that can help.

1. Reply fast. And follow up.

The faster you get back to them, the more likely they are to respond. Try to reply within 5 minutes. And if you don’t hear back within 12 hours, try again. You can even try one more time the next day. Sales and marketing pros often point out that it often takes multiple "touches" for people to consider making a purchase. Not sure what to say? Keep reading.

2. Give them a reason to respond.

People are nervous about being "sold," so give customers a compelling reason to call or respond.

"I'm available to give an estimate right now." is good, but getting an estimate isn't a compelling reason to respond if I'm sitting on the fence. A better approach might be, "Hi again! You probably have a lot of questions about hiring someone for your event. I'm available to answer your questions right now if you have a few minutes."

3. Try giving quick pointers.

Customers don't know what they don't know, so use follow-ups to offer quick pointers that most "new" customers never consider, and then close with a call to action. For example: "Hi Bob! Did you know that how far away a moving van has to park from a property may affect the amount of time a move takes? That, and other "hidden" factors can impact the total cost of your move, and you deserve to know the cost up front. I'm happy to answer your questions, so give me a call!"

4. Leave them with a good impression. Just in case.

Some customers may not be ready to hire now, but they may be ready to hire later. Those customers often remember who took the time to follow-up and educate them and will reach out to that pro first.

5. If nothing works, move on.

It’s human nature to focus on the one that got away, but if you tried everything listed above and you still don’t hear back, it’s probably not worth it to keep trying. Your time is the most valuable thing you have and there’s no return on investment when you’re chasing an unresponsive customer for longer than a day or two. Get back to your inbox or the Jobs tab and win those jobs.

How did you win back a customer after they stopped responding? Share your tips in the comments below.

79 responses
DJStevie
Level 11

@dinal 

I was able to win customers after they stopped responding by looking at "customer viewed quote" and replying with a personable message which includes mentioning how they viewed my quote and I was just following up. They really loved that.

But recently,  that tool was taken away from us for some unknown reason. I'm hoping it comes back after last week's thread and frustration comments by myself and other Pros. It was a very helpful tool, and I'm sure it helped many Pros win customers as well.

 

 

AutumnElectric
Level 8

Bring back the 'customer viewed' feature.....otherwise we have no idea if the client knows we even quoted!!

davidjscott88
Level 5

We shouldn't have to pay if they're just window shopping.  I've gotten ghosted 3 times now, and that's like, $60 bucks that could've gone to a client that actually wants my service.  I don't mind paying for leads, but if they're not going to respond to me even asking about the kind of service they want, why am I wasting money?

Hankster
Level 9

We already know all of these tips! Why in the heck would TT remove the 'customer viewed' feature? What purpose does that serve? Why does TT constantly take away features that help the service pro? We the service pro are TT customers as well!

TXArchitect
Level 5

I agree with the above replies.  The 'customer viewed' feature would best serve the Pros using the site.  Please reinstate.  Thank you.

Woody
Level 5

I seems TT now decides which leads are good for me and charges me for them at a greatly increased price per lead. 

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

@DJStevie @AutumnElectric @Hankster @TXArchitect thanks for reaching out about the customer viewing your quote feature that was recently removed. I hear that you guys have concerns about this being removed, but let me give you a little more context behind why this change was made. Ultimately, we want you to focus your time where customers focus their time.

 

 

Seeing whether a customer viewed your quote isn't very valuable now that you only pay when a customer contacts you. It's less about views now and more about focusing on responses — that's what you pay for, and those customers have the most potential.

We know this is a shift, but our goal is to ensure you have productive and valuable interactions with customers, and the direct requests you receive from customers are more likely to lead to that desired outcome than custom quotes.

DJStevie
Level 11

@Meckell 

Again, any sarcastic or angry comments isn't directed at your personally, but the higher ups, Hopefully message will get to them.

Sorry to disagree, but that was and still is a very valuable tool for not only myself, the 3 other Pros you mentioned but for many Pros who have voiced their concerns about this. We were able to see if customer viewed quote/message and try to seal the deal. That's communication! Now we have to sit back and wait. That's not a way I've done business and not something I plan to do for the rest of my career. I'm a go-getter, not one to sit back and wait. That's why I've been successful, I've explained my success to you, and many others, including @DustiO 

Less about views, and more on focusing on responses? How can we respond using manual system if we don't see the view? Unless the manual system is going to be taken away from us as well.

Who makes these decisions for the Pros?

Hankster
Level 9

Sorry @Meckell I have to disagree with you. It's valuable to me as a service pro to see if a lead has viewed my quote & I'm sure the others on this thread will agree. At least seeing that the lead viewed my quote puts me in the game & give me a chance to sell myself. It's hard enough to interact with customers who don't provide any contact information in order to interact with them. Why does TT consistently take away features that benefit the service pro? TT is soooooooo concerned about their customers who don't pay to use TT. It would be nice to see that same concern & respect from TT for their service pros who do pay for leads on TT. We the service pro are your customers too! 

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

@DJStevie you can still respond to customers quotes through the jobs tab, that's not taken away. However, if a customer doesn't respond to you, we don't want you to focus on that customer, but rather customers who are responding and engaging.

 

Again, thanks for always sharing your thoughts with us! 

DJStevie
Level 11

@Meckell 

That's not what I was referring to. I know I can respond to customer using Jobs Tabs. I've had success with that again this week(2 more bookings). It's the "viewed" option that was very helpful to me and the other Pros mentioned here and alot of Pros on other threads as well. That's where I was able to seal the deal. Now I'm in the dark if a customer has viewed my quote/message

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

@Hankster We truly do value our pros and care about their successes, I apologize if it ever comes across otherwise. Something to keep in mind is if we don't care about customers or the customer experience, we wouldn't be doing the job of getting pros connected with customers. If we don't keep customers in mind, you pros wouldn't be getting leads. 

You always bring great points to the table and we really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. As you know, when we make changes, pro feedback is super important for us to hear.

Hankster
Level 9

Yes @Meckell I more than understand that. Without customers there wouldn't be a TT. The same needs to be done for the service pro experience as well. Any topic on any posted thread you look at the majority of the service pros are unhappy. This is where Thumbtack falls short in my opinion. I sound like a broken record here but we are Thumbtack customers as well. Only difference is we pay to use TT. Without service pros being satisfied they will leave TT as some already have & find other lead service platforms to use. 

gkvideoguy
Level 5

@Meckell  >" if a customer doesn't respond to you, we don't want you to focus on that customer,<"

Excuse me? If I paid for a lead, especially if it was through Promote and I had no choice for that specific lead, I should just walk away from the money it cost me?
That sounds to me more like a tip from a Thumbtack Theory Coffee Break Group than what we have to consider out here in the REAL world.

Gary

 

Moderator Kameron
Moderator

@gkvideoguy What Meckell was commenting on there is a bit more in reference to customers that you have not yet paid to connect with when pros quote manually through the Jobs tab and then continue to send follow-ups to customers that haven't been responding. That said, yes at some point when customers haven't been responding even when you've already paid for the lead, there are going to be times where it may be best to focus on the next one. 

Cyndi-Via
Level 5

Probably like many others on Thumbtack look at the previews to determine weather the potential customer is in contact with someone already. If that is the case I do not undercut someone who is already make contact if no one is in contact with them then I reach out. I use it as a tool to make a decision on whether or not it is a viable customer are not a viable customer. It is one of my most helpful tools and dealing with thumbtack considering we have no tools to work with we said we wait we respond. That's it oh excuse me wepay and we pay and we pay and we pay and then we get a lead. The ability to see what is going on behind the scenes is very important to the people who are trying to decide how to run their business because we have very little if any control over our very own business. I do not quite understand why Thumbtack does not deem us as important enough to be involved and our own business. Thumbtack is a tool to accumulate customers for our business but we cannot utilize the tool in any way shape or form other than putting our information up there and wait and see what happens. I would welcome any input on this matter. Thank you all so very much no offences to thumbtack but please consider what we're trying to do as a small business.

LeakProofBen
Level 5

If I was on the recieving end of truckloads of small business money I would probably say this too, "if a customer doesn't respond to you, we don't want you to focus on that customer, but rather customers who are responding and engaging".
I have been using TT for several years noq
I have a good profile,good rviews, and respond pretty quickly to all leads I recieve. Up until about four or five months ago I did fine. I understood that about four out of ten leads would be no good but the other six would be actual, "real" people "seriously" looking for a pro. Yes expensive but it was understood that its the price to play the game and out of the five or six leads that were real people Id close half so it covered the loss of the other leads. It barely fit into the budget but it fit. The past several months did not at all! Prices changed, procedures changed, customer service hasn't been much help, and the amount of spam leads h as s quadrupled!!! Seems to me that TT does not care what benefits us pros at all! If they did they would listen to the thousands of Pro complaints! I just went through the past three months of TT leads and I am in complete shock!! I have loved TT in the past I hate to say it but if it keeps going this way not only my company but the other 11 family owned companies in my group will have to say goodbye and send our money somewhere else! Somewhere that looks out for their assets (THE PROFESSIONALS PAYING THEM)
I mean dang, I have spent an average of $900 a week one out of 10 leads that have responded after the initial inquiry. Out of the last fifty leads I payed for only three ended up with an onsite estimates! The rest ghosted after the initial "can you give me an estimate" message!! Thumbtack are you planning on looking out for us or have you gotten so big that you dont care anymore??

 

 

MYteddydog1
Level 6

Bring customer view back ! I think TT has forgotten that we are their real customers ! What do I do when I get a request for a bid for a plumbing repair leak and then what they really wanted was someone to dry their carpeting ! I hate spending twenty bucks for a response when I certainly don't list carpet cleaning as one of my trades ! What kind of questions are being asked of these people ? Evidently not the proper ones ! I feel I should have gotten a refund for that response ! But it certainly doesn't seem there is anyway to ask for one as you will never get e reply from TT

Bjh262
Level 4

I have decided unless the customer who messaged me directly has a very detailed request I'm not responding anymore  Responded to a handful of these and had literally no response. I didn't even send a quote  just a hello and introduction message. No thanks. These are not good leads

MR
Level 10

Would love to have the ability to see whether or not the customer has viewed my response. Then we pros have a better idea if we need to work on our responses for the future leads, or if the lead is not even returning to TT to see the pro's responses.

 

Lar
Level 9

MR, this used to be a feature in TT. You used to be able to see when a message you sent to a lead had been Viewed.

TT decided to remove this feature recently. I tried to get a response from Thumbtack to explain why this very useful feature had been removed, see this thread...

Why did TT remove the ability to see if a quote or message had been read?

The explanation I received from Meckell regarding the removal of this feature was nonsensical and bizarre. 

I believe the reason Thumbtack removed our our ability to see if our replies are being viewed by a lead is because Thumbtack don't want us to know when we are paying them for dud leads who don't even bother to read our replies.

Regards,
Laurence.

 

MR
Level 10

@Lar Thank you for the info. 

I do remember when the functionality existed and found it very useful. Hopefully this can be turned back on. I know that I use read receipts on emails to leads from other lead generation services I use and find it hugely beneficial to know if/when a lead has read my response. I have found that a quick followup after a lead reads my response but doesn't respond has a pretty high positive return. In fact, I tailor my followup responses based on whether I know if the person read my response or not - which also I have found to be very beneficial. 

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

@MYteddydog1 I am more than happy to look into this charge for you. Please send me a private message with the name of the customer. 

icandeephoto
Level 5

Please bring back customer view.  And  remember where your money comes from.   The Pros!  And how about making it mandatory that clients give Pros a little bit of info about their job vs making that section optional.  I would like a phone number too but I know they would through out a bogus number so let's not waste our time on wishful dreams.  

Pearlpro
Level 5

Im tired of the Ghosting, Fake Leads from no one and charges for nothing, Im about to say goodbye to TT, it was doing well but too many changes and charges, Yes Ive gotten refunds and I stay on top of my leads, I respond quickly, I had three Promoted leads, none of them were real people, TT Get your act together, go back to the simple App you were in the beginning, we all made money, your ruining the platform.

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

@Pearlpro You mention that you're getting leads from people who aren't real. Can you elaborate more on that? I'm happy to look into those contacts and give you some clarification.

MR
Level 10

@Meckell This happens a lot to all of us. This is why it would be great to at least get a read receipt from the lead to see if they even came back to TT to read our responses. Without that, we are completely in the dark as to whether the lead ever saw our response or not.

As I said in another post, I use email read receipts on emails I send to leads from other lead generation services and it is of HUGE benefit to know if the lead even read my invitation to continue discussions.

 

Pearlpro
Level 5

I recently got three leads that said the customer had chosen me and wanted a Quote, I always answer my leads even if I'm busy with thanks for selecting me and please call me to discuss your Job, WAITED, Nothing, Replied with a quote even though I didn't have enough info to be accurate, WAITED, the Third replay, Are you still interested ?? NOTHING, CHARGED...NO JOB...But TT got $$$$

MR
Level 10

Based on PearlPro's situation, I wonder if TT can actually see in their system if the user even re-visited the site and looked at the pro's response. 

I am having exactly this issue right now.. lead asked "when am I available" - I responded in 10 seconds.. and now no response... really seems fishy that this happens as often as it does. 

 

jaxxie59
Level 4

You guys are breaking my pocket with the different and high fees. I want to pay one price per lead not different prices and they get higher, I notice. I had too many ghost clients and never got any refunds. I will ot be responding all the leads. I will just decline the high fees. 

MR
Level 10

Responding to my own post in this thread a few days ago and similar posts and DMs to TT.

To date, TT has not responded whether or not they can see internally whether a lead has opened our response and displayed it on the screen. 

This insight would be of HUGE help for us to better understand what is happening in Ghost leads as the situation is vastly different if (a) a lead opens the response and then choses not to respond or (b) never actually opens the response.

The removal of the read receipt function that we used to have is both dissapointing and enlightening at the same time, and consistent with my next paragraph.

Quite frankly, I am led to believe it is more the latter (see my post entitled "Disadvantages with Promote Off - and troubles for consumers") and that, due to the confusing system leads are given, in many cases, they actually never even know that the lead (especially non-promote lead) has even entered a response to their project request.

Lar
Level 9

As useful as it was to Pros for them to know when their replies were being read (or not being read) Thumbtack removed this feature because it is more beneficial to Thumbtack that the Pros don't know that information.

It wasn't a good look for Thumbtack when Pros knew that their replies weren't being read. It made Thumbtack's platform appear ineffective and exposed them to complaints from Pros who were justifiably annoyed that some of the leads they had paid for weren't even bothering to read their replies.

Now that this feature has been removed, and the Pros no longer know if their replies are being read or not, Thumbtack no longer have to deal with those complaints from Pros; problem solved for Thumbtack.

That's how I see it.

Regards,
Lar

jcp
Level 9
Look at the insights - when you are ghosted look at how many other pros were contacted. 7,8 9 other pros contacted. Who has time to get back to you when they contact so many pros. The customer already has a list of many, many, many pros to choose from. They don’t know that it costs us money - so why not contact as many as they like? This is my area of profit concern and fairness that needs evaluation. Customers should know that we are charged and/or limit the amount of pros a customer can contact for free - should be limited to 3 or 4. Thus capping the endless opportunity for TT to profit on every lead and decreasing the odds of a pro being hired. Being charged $26 for a contact and not hearing back? Ouch. If that happens 4 times a week? How is a small business able to remain successful on this platform? or Maintain confidence in this platform? Fortunately I booked off my leads from last week. But I see the potential of huge losses. I hope my 30 day trial of promote goes well. This is week 2. I used to spend $80 a month and book about 6-7. So far $100 the first week. $50 this week on two leads that may hire me? They said they would get back to me. That is a lot of money for a small, independent, sole
Proprietor. But I am committed to at least the 30 day trial on promote to see what my end numbers will be. I am
Going to stay hopeful !
TheDiplomat
Level 4

@jcp  Many good points:
"They don’t know that it costs us money ... Customers should know that we are charged and/or limit the amount of pros a customer can contact for free - should be limited to 3 or 4. "
"That is a lot of money for a small, independent, sole Proprietor."
"Ouch"
LauraClark
Level 4

Since ghosting is known with most leads,  the charges should get changed somewhat.   Perhaps charge if they hire?  If we pay because they responded but then no longer responds and we can't win them over with a different approach,  we shouldn't be charges for them just the ones that do hire our services.   That's a major waste of money. 

MR
Level 10

In the alternative, this may be an idea. 

If a customer creates a job, and then responds to no pros that responded to their job in 24 hours from the time that the job was created, all pros who responded (perhaps within a certain amount of time of original time the lead requested the pro) to the job receive a full credit.

This way, we incentify the pros to respond, as they can only receive the credit if they responded, but TT raises the value of the product because leads who never respond to any of the pros are junk leads and of little value.

I know there are a few holes in this scenerio, but the general point I think makes sense.

ReadySetSwim12
Level 4

How about the feature were we only pay once they view the quote or make contact after a quote. 

desimonefurnitu
Level 4

We need to know if the customer viewed our quote. The price of the quotes is getting out of hand as well

Lar
Level 9

That's a good suggestion MR but it would most likely require Thumbtack to issue more refunds than they do currently. 

Your idea would certainly be fair compromise to mitigate one of the biggest problems with Thumbtack which is that Pros are charged for leads that never reply and most likely never hire any Pro on Thumbtack.

I expect that Thumbtack will crunch the numbers and figure that automatically issuing refunds in the circumstances you suggest will mean that Thumbtack will earn less money from their Pros.

I can't imagine that Thumbtack doing anything which may result in a reduction in their revenue even if it would fair to do so.

Regards,
Laurence.

ASCOLLC
Level 5

Hi Pro's,

Here is a new issue I'm having with TT 

Customer contacts me, I paid the fee.

Problem is that my customers can't see My phone # my name or my Company name.

I call them, have them look at messages from customers saying "I can't see your phone #" or "I can't see your name" or "I can't see your company name Thumbtack has blocked it"

TT replies that they don't see any actual problems

MR
Level 10

Agreed Lar, but companies who tend to focus on only the bottom line tend to fall below their competition fast. This is a very competitive space and pros are free to move around... If TT is unwilling to build an uncompetitive product and focus on the bottom line only, TT will become just a memory for most pros.

You have to believe they are not aspiring for that - so change is really not a choice - its required if TT wants to stay the big name it is today.

Time will tell....

ASCOLLC
Level 5

Ghosting

Is it the customers? 

Or is it Thumbtack generating funds by creating FAKE CUSTOMERS?

While Promoted I have experienced the Ghosting effect

 

Moderator Kameron
Moderator

@ASCOLLC I'd be happy take a look into this with you to see if I can help. Keep an eye out for a direct message from me here soon.

Moderator Kameron
Moderator

@ASCOLLC This is not something we do at Thumbtack. There are those instances where a pro may be contacted from multiple customers to then not hear back and we understand how this can lead to feeling discouraged. We’re currently working to find solutions and lower the number of instances where customers don’t respond to any pros. That said at the same time it’s a two-way street and there are often times where pros may take a really long time to respond or not at all. When compared to responding after 2 hours or more, if a pro responds in one hour they are 20% more likely to hear back from the customer, and 50% more likely when within 5 minutes.
 

Lastly, in the case that pro may get a lead or job that seems a bit off,  please use these steps to let us know about it so we can help: https://help.thumbtack.com/article/reporting-suspicious-activity.

DJStevie
Level 11

@Kameron 

What is considered a really long time in Thumbtack's eye for a Pro to respond? Many have other jobs, family issues, doctor visits, etc, so we can't reply immediately as Thumbtack wants us to. In a thread earlier this week, there have been suggestions to give Pros a time frame, ranging anywhere from 4-24 hours. Why not implement that so we don't get penalized?

When a customer reaches out to us, they immediately get told that there are other options(Pros ) for them to consider. That isn't fair until you give Pros a fair amount of time to respond.

 

kmslegal
Level 4

Unfortunately, I have had to completely stop using TT.  I first discontinued the promotion of services feature due to the outrageous costs. The next issue occured when I received a request for my availability at 9:29AM one morning.  I promptly responded with my standard and extremely detailed follow up as soon as I got out of court at 11:43AM. The next thing I knew, the “potential client” had left me my first less than perfect review at 1:03AM the following morning along with rambling message about just getting out of jail and a fake phone number. When I brought the matter to TT’s attention, they refused to do anything about it. What’s the point of using TT anymore If they’re not going to take any steps whatsoever to protect their professionals and reputations, which are available to the general public, and allow professionals not only to be charged for fake customer contacts, but to be ranked lower/reviewed poorly purely because they fail to provide any oversight?

MR
Level 10

@kmslegal What??? You can't respond to a lead while in court?? 

Smiley Happy As a fellow attorney I definately understand your concerns. In your case, it was anomoly that a lead actually responded to you at all in one way or another. Lately there are far more ghosts here than in the haunted mansion at Disney... My response rate of even getting a heartbeat from a lead here is near 0% even though I am very good on sending a quick response and followups in a timely manner.

Lar
Level 9

MR said...

  • Agreed Lar, but companies who tend to focus on only the bottom line tend to fall below their competition fast. This is a very competitive space and pros are free to move around... If TT is unwilling to build an uncompetitive product and focus on the bottom line only, TT will become just a memory for most pros.

    You have to believe they are not aspiring for that - so change is really not a choice - its required if TT wants to stay the big name it is today.

    Time will tell....

I can only speculate as to what Thumbtack's strategy or vision for the future is based on my own experiences as a Pro.

Thumbtack decided to made changes to its platform to better serve its customers, Marco said as much in his recent Q&A. At the same time I believe Thumbtack also wanted to more effectively monetize those customers to boost revenue which is why they implemented the new Search/Promote functionality.

While those changes may (or may not) have achieved those two goals for Thumbtack the knock on effect has been that in the space of 12 months Thumbtack has managed to alienate a sizable portion of its Pros here and squander a lot of the goodwill and support those Pros have for Thumbtack.

This board is a tiny microcosm of Thumbtack's Pro base but its reasonable to believe that the thoughts and sentiments of the Pros here are a reflection of their Pro base as a whole.

Promote has been poorly received and widely derided, Thumbtack appear to be in triage mode trying to put a bandage on it. If you're not using Promote then good luck getting any leads. Even if you are on Promote, good luck getting any leads. Pros are getting fewer leads because customers no longer have to reach out to Pros. Customers can get the information they need from Thumbtack (i.e. pricing) just by doing a Search - there's no need for most customers to reach out to Pros. Look at the number of search views (big) and the number of actual leads (small). Seems pretty obvious to me what's going on.

The problem we have as Pros is that the things that Thumbtack could do to fix the system would result in reduced revenue for Thumbtack in the short term.

Thumbtack are fully invested in the Search/Promote model and I can't envision them fixing or changing anything that would negatively impact their bottom line.

Regards,
Laurence.

SLHS
Level 4

Sorry to say but I also have been very frusterated with this.  Particularly when someone reaches out directly to me from my profile.  I pay A LOT to respond and they don't contact me again.  I have no way of knowing if they even read my response.  If they don't even view it then I shouldn't have to pay for it.  It makes absolutely no sense in TT taking my money for a lead that goes no where (not viewed).  I have no other way of getting a hold of them to close the deal, as most do not leave a phone number.  If this continues I will be leaving TT.  I have been with TT for years.  Ever since they changed the process of getting leads things have not been positive for me.  I have excellent ratings and reviews and this process is expensive and not worth it.  I used to rave about Thumbtack but no longer do.  I have many other pros in my field ask me how I get my clients, sorry to say that Thumbtack may not be my answer for them anymore....unless TT makes some significant changes to how they respect their pros concerns about the process and make the approprate changes to make it beneficial to us.

EddyServices
Level 4

In the old method I had clients looking for me, interested in knowing more about my work every day. How much my service costs ... now, if I do not promote my company, I do not even have an interested customer! And I have great competitiveness in TT.
My feeling is frustration! I'm disappointed with the changes in TT.
NO customer sees more my quotes !!
If I promote my work, the same customer who did not see the quote that I sent manually, contact me and 6 Pros asking for irrelevant information, which I have already sent on my quote, such as: What is the next availability ???
6 Pros Pay TT and Customer Disappear!
Sad. I no longer use TT as before.