What to do if a customer ghosts you.

Thumbtack Employee dinal
Thumbtack Employee
10 81 10.6K

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.

81 responses
ncnavyguy
Level 4

Just a couple of notes. Before sending this comment, I reviewed the others to see if any "topics" echoed my concerns/questions. I am in complete agreement with other pros asking for the "viewed" feature to return, with one added question, not addressed in any responses by Thumbtack. The feature was part of the Thumbtack application and my contacts with customer support only vaguely mentioned "viewed" was removed during an "update".  The answer provided does not seem to address why something which was part of the Thumbtack application cannot be returned (perhaps wih a manual (on/off) check for pros not wishing to use. It worked before and does not interfere with any of the updates. Perhaps something to consider? Thank you.

GMC
Level 5

I believe we can handle "customer viewed" and giving attention to the customer seamlessly. We are saying it is helpful and takes up NONE of our drive and attentiveness.

Give up on ghosting customers? We paid for the lead.

TomRubin
Level 4
As everyone else has said, the system doesn't work nearly as well as it used to. I have numerous screenshots of customers ghosting me. Granted, I haven't had nearly as bad an experience as some of the others, but it's extremely frustrating when someone reaches out to you via your profile, supposedly only contacts you, you respond in less than 5 minutes...and then silence. Here's an idea: How about a pop-up window that informs the customer's that these leads are paid for by the Pro they are contacting? If any of the moderators want to see my screenshots, please contact me.
00blackout
Level 4

I know a ton of others have said it but I am going to beat a dead horse here in hopes that TT may listen to us, which I doubt. 4-5 months ago before all of the changes, I had a ton of clients reach out to me and booked maybe 50% of them which was fantastic. I was booking 4-5 clients a month. Now?? I have not booked a client on TT in months. I tried the "promotion" thing which has ridiculous charges and no one even responds! Let me get charged $60, $70, $80 on a "lead" and have the client never respond. Skip that! I was spending nearly a thousand dollars on month and got nothing in return.

TheProfessor
Level 5

I read your advice and I can even do better and still the customer does not respond back. I have offered the customer the service for free if they respond back and they did not respond back. One would thing that if a pro offered me their service for totally free, I would at least respond back asking how can they do it for free. Since I run a tutoring service, I can offer 1 hour for free. So even with a free service, they do not respond. In my opinion, Thumbtack or someone they are paying is producing phony leads in some areas.

 

MR
Level 10

As I read the many posts, a huge issue is the fact that TT will not restore the read receipt functionality after numerous pleadings by many pros throughout many of the boards.

The only response by TT was that it was removed to reduce distractions. I think we all know that is a silly response to say the least.

Since TT refuses to address this issue competently, we can only assume at this time that the function removal was done to mask a bigger problem that is not favorable for pros. I will not claim to know what that problem is, but there are several guesses on the boards and I have a suspicion that they are likely pretty close to being correct.

Here I apply the Duck Test - If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck - it's probably a duck.

 

 

DJStevie
Level 12

@MR 

You would think that with many Pros complaining about the viewed feature being taken away, and if feedback was passed, Thumbtack would have reinstalled that useful tool for us. It's not the Moderators fault, yet they get the brunt end of our anger and frustration.

The viewed feature should also be implemented with Promote so we can see if our initial response to customer is viewed or not. We are in the dark with that as well.

I know that they want us to concentrate on communicating with the customer, but we need to know if customer has viewed our quote and/or response to continue communicating with them

Maybe, just maybe, it will be brought back.

MR
Level 10

@DJStevie Agreed and well said. 

And full agreement on the moderators. This is certainly a tough job for them right now as the negative sentiment far surpasses anything on the positive side. Also, the ability to reduce the nagative sentiment is far above their pay grade. In reality, it is ashame that their management keeps them in the line of direct fire and have done little to help them out as far as we can tell.

That said, I trust leadership spends a good deal of time reading these posts and meeting daily on devising ways to repair the damage. However that is only my trust. 

Time will tell....

morwil24
Level 4

This model is not working. I certainly hope Thumbtack is reading all of the comments here. 

Hankster
Level 10

Anyone else notice since the viewed feature was taken away that you are not getting any responses back? That's what I've been seeing with every quote I've submitted since this change was made. In most cases my quoted price was lower than any of the other service pros the lead contacted using Promote. I sure hope as heck that the quote & subsequent intro response I'm sending along with follow-ups is getting to the lead & not going into a black hole (so to speak) because I'm not using Promote. Awfully suspicious! Just saying.

 

MR
Level 10

@Hankster It is indeed very strange and I have noticed exactly the same thing. I really believe that there is a bug in the system somewhere. It is so quiet that it cannot be working as designed. 

What was strange is that I asked the moderators several times off line if they can see whether the lead saw my post or if there was a post returned that I did not get. I received no answer whatsoever - basically ignored.

Kmp
Level 4

It’s interesting that TT says they listen to pros.

They don’t.

This HUGE thread has dozens of messages clearly communicating the VALUE of seeing when a customer views a quote.  

TT doesn’t bother to listen.

Instead they ignore our pleas and tell us what’s good for us— perfect example when @Meckell says ...“Seeing whether a customer viewed your quote isn't very valuable now...”

 

get with it TT 

Stage66
Level 6

The viewed quote feature was great...and back when leads didnt cost an arm and a leg was nice you had a good thing going but now that your leads cost 3 times what the used to I have found another leads service that have fair prices 

wincincala2
Level 4

I agree that I want the "Viewed" to return.  It did help, and I believe it let me know they were at least interested enough to view my quote.  

Also, I don't understand why sometimes when I quote, it will pop up saying that 6 pros already quoted so I can't; yet sometimes it will say 11 or 12 pros quoted.  I waste my time quoting to have that pop up.  If they are no longer available, please remove them before I spend time quoting.  

I have very few people hire me, I have talked to many TT employees for help, done what they say, and still very few hires.  I am told I have a great profile, I did lower my price lower than it has been in 30 years, and only 1 hire so far after dropping my price.  I have lots of reviews, more on my website, and many years of excellent testimonials.  My business has been referral only for 30 years, so I am doing something right.  A client referred me to Thumbtack.  I love the idea of TT, however, am about to quit.  I do appreciate that you lowered the fee.  There are so many pros in my category now that if I don't quote within 5 minutes, I miss out.  When I don't reply quickly, it is usually because I am working with a client or and having a life.  Sometimes I can reply later than 5 min.  No consistency.  Please reply.  Thanks,  Summer Simonton

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

@wincincala2 thanks for your feedback about this recent update, it's very helpful for us to know!  

 

The next time you go to send a customer a quote and then receive a pop up stating that it's no longer available, will you take a screenshot of that and send it to me in a private message? I want to take a look into this and see what's going on. 

 

You're a Top Pro and have clearly found success with Thumbtack in the past. I want that to continue for you. Let's work together and see what can be done for you to find that success again. Before we do so, I'd love to hear more about what's been going on. What tips have we given you? What changes have you made to your profile? I look forward to hearing from you. 

Hankster
Level 10

Anybody else notice that since the customer viewed quote was removed that when you send a manual quote you never get a response back? I've submited several quotes since February that are lower than the service pros who use Promote. You would think that would warrant some interest, right? Still waiting for my first response. I'm hoping that what I am sending out is actually getting to the lead & not sitting aimlessly in a virtual mailbox. Since I don't use Promote I'm way at the bottom of the darn list. Sorry I'm not promoting good vibes here but when is Thumbtack going to start promoting good vibes to it's service pros?

Lokicatt
Level 4

I have to agree with just about every pro in the sense that I used to tout TT as being one of if not, the best slead generating service.. in the last 6 months or so however, I would say that it has become a new homeadvisor in terms of tirekickers. All functionality, a lot of which was the main reson for getting the jobs has been taken away. I remember using this service and paying in credits roughly $10 for a decent job. Now we're charged $75 for the ability to message someone who "wants their whole house painted" meanwhile they checked a few wrong boxes.. don't reply or do reply with the "whats next" preset message you guys encourage them to use, then never reply. Then when we go to customer service saying.. this person is clearly a tire kicker we get some generic response so that your company can continue charging the service providers exorbitant amounts of money for dud leads and no way for us to prove they're dud leads.. 

lsharp
Level 4

Leads in my industry are $32 -$86. So far this year, 38% of the leads I was charged for never replied after my response to their request. That's ridiculous.

JS2
Level 4

Do "potential customers" (if they are even real bc Im beginning to question) know how much it costs for us to respond to them?  This new model is just garbage...there's nothing in it for the pros!  Thumbtack should only get paid if we get paid, like other successful platforms such as Air bnb and Uber...

MR
Level 10

@JS2 

They do not have any knowledge of that. Nor do they have any knowledge that the top ranked pros paid for that ranking (for better or worse).

Now, most customers should realize that the pros are paying to use the system, but that's about as far as it goes.

 

 

MR
Level 10

By the way, I do find it interesting how pretty much every blog thread that a TT employee posts on constructive tips on how to get the most out of TT quickly turn into a laundry list of dissatisfied pros. 

Perhaps that is yet another message???

DJStevie
Level 12

@MR 

It is very interesting whenever a TT employee posts on constructive tips with the thought that every Pro will say thank you. But it has become a laundry list of dissatisfied Pros. Yet, TT does nothing about that list(keeping us updated as to what is happening with our "feedback being passed on").

 

MR
Level 10

@DJStevie 

Right now I think that their customer service group is overwhelmed. Things are an absolute mess right now and I doubt they can keep up. I have several open issus regarding the mobile app synching with the desktop and a couple of other things and there has been no followup on resolution of issue, logging the case in their call tracking system, etc. Any case like that should have been assigned a call number and I should be getting email updates on my issue. I get that with every other service I use except this one. 

DNGVideo
Level 6

@Meckell 

Quote: "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."

Response: I am certain that as much good thought as much effort goes into managging a complex system, assuming what's "valuable" to a pro and making that decision on their behalf is not necessarily the best practice. What is valueable to the Pro (from a Pro's perspective) may be different than what is valuable to a Pro  (from Thumbtack's perspective).

I'd tread carefully in discounting pro's opinions when it comes to "value" - as they certainly do not feel they are getting enough value for the "non-valuable" leads they spend money on.

The ability to see whether or not the customer saw the responce paves way for me crafting a message that may be different and more expansive than the one if they haven't seen it or reviewed the prior message or quote. That itself is a time saver, as I will briefly follow-up, rather than assume they read all the other messages and continue to pitch our services and the benefit of working with us.

Good Policy: More transparency and more information is hardly ever "less valuable". More informaiton is better, especially in this case, because it is a time saver, and allows Pros craft a more informed and appropriate follow-up message, given the context and the view status of last communication.

DNGVideo
Level 6

@dinal 

Thank you for the article, overall all, great points (on 1 through 4), everyone should already be doing that, if not, shame on them. So thank you for the time taken to write all that. Much appreciated.

Now on to the area where I disagree partly with item number 5.

Quote: 

"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."

It would be applicable, if this occured lets say 5-15% of the time. But most pros, and you included, would find it hard to "move on" and just say no to roughly 70% of your weekly TT marketing buget, tied up in those leads.

You see, TT provides a service that is supposed to be valuable, after all, you place value and sell contact opportunities to customers without guaranteeing a job. And that's fine, to keep it simple, you think you are selling "Good Apples" most of the time and if that was the case, mostly TT as a platform would be fine.

But that's just not the case. There is no value from bad leads, non-serious, non-responsive leads. So the value of an idle / dead lead is $0, but a pro may have spend $32 on it.  So in reality it is a $32 dollar "Bad Apple" and after 5-6 months of eating bad apples, the pros get restless and vocal.

TT policies are silent on this, and do not consider this, and if challenged, the fall-back is "we guarantee a contact but not the job." But even then, a pre-selected conversation starter is hardly contact. It is a user automated prompt with no serious engagement from the customer. "Are you available?" they may prompt... and the Pro's response is "Available for what?" A call, a meeting, the job? When are you inquiring about? Now? Today? Tomorrow? Next week? And so, such approach yields empowerment of lazy customers and probably makes easier for TT to generate revenue, but only at expense of an ever-more-angry pro. 

While it makes it easy for the customer to request a job, it doesn't make them more engaged. And that's the point that no one is talking on TT product development side, which is the work that needs to be done to drive-up customer engagement with the TT plaform. Update status, respond to pros, receive reminders, offer incentives, have skin in the game, have deadlines to respond to a pro, etc. If not financial, then even the psychological incentives are better than the lack there-of.

And better yet, offer some protection to pros! For such clear and blatent cases: if a customer never logs in, never checks, never hires, never cares about the job request they posted. It is only fair and sustainable to the very foundation of the community that pays your bills. Let's not forget, we, the Pros, are the ultimate paying customer, not the customer who puts up a request.

I have offered my ideas to make the platform more fair by offering protection to Pros in such cases. You may read more about it here: https://community.thumbtack.com/t5/Manage-your-jobs/Ghost-call/td-p/24242

Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read this.

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

@DNGVideo you clearly took time out of your day to give us your feedback about this, and we appreciate it! Thanks for the constructive posts and great suggestions. 

DNGVideo
Level 6

Dear @Meckell, any status updates on this subject matter? A progress update would be nice! Smiley Happy

Moderator Meckell
Moderator

@DNGVideo we understand that customers ghosting is a hot topic that pros are talking about. Your feedback, of course, has been shared with our team along with all of the other feedback that has been shared on this thread. With this being said, we are aware that this is a problem and know that pros want more serious customers. I don't have specifics to share but it indeed is something we're looking into and working on. 

extremefaceart
Level 2

It does not seem that customers know we pay to see the "lead".  Some lead when we pay and never hear from them again.  Or when the say yes let's book and even send details and then never hear from the customer.  Becuase I have a crew some of us may be booked on a date and some available so I get alot of are you available. Or perhaps we are booked in the morning by open that night, the calendar is of little use. I am paying for nothing. Why paying for more promotion is too risky with Thumbtack - your making money but I am not. Too many simply looky-loos here - many businesses are sure to be ghosted.

DrRevJenine
Level 6

This happens to me quite often. A customer is comparison shopping and asks if I am available on their date and time. My prices are shown already and what is included, and my profile is pretty complete. I respond to them politely, ask if they have questions, see if they want to be booked on my calendar. Then much of the time they are gone and I have no idea why they are not replying to my messages. Meanwhile I am charged for their lead. The customer connected with me as a direct lead and requested me personally, so it makes no sense that they don't get back to me to let me know if they would like to talk about their request or if they want to be on my calender. 

karen1
Level 5

Having the same problem.  I can justify the disappearance of some customers - contacted other pros and so on, however, there are others that are blantanly obvious.  Today, for example, I received a lead from someone who responded to my reply soon after asking for my availability and a link to my website.  First of all, her statement read, " send a link so WE can look at it", and the link is right there in my profile (Hmmm - red flag).  THen, when I sent it to her,  she responded immediately, too soon to take the time to open & read my webpage. Her response was, "Hi - Currently out of town. I will give you a call on Monday or Tuesday of next week." 

It is discouraging enough that I am wasting money on this form of ghosting; but, I am also wasting time that I could be working on my other jobs!!!

 

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