We get a lot of questions about why we don't require customer phone numbers, so this week I thought I'd share this video that explains our point of view on the issue. Check it out and use this thread to share any questions or comments.
The lady in the video says...
"On Thumbtack they (i.e. leads) get a choice to choose how they want to be contacted. If they want to get on a phone call they leave their phone number."
When a lead enters the details of their job how and when are they given an explicit and clear "choice" indicating how they want to be contacted by the Pro?
If a lead is reaching out to a Pro and the leads wants to "get on a phone call with that Pro" is the lead ever presented with a "choice" to choose from to indicate to the Pro that the Lead wants to get on a phone call with the Pro and subsequently prompted to enter their phone number so that the Pro can call them?
Even when a lead hits the "Request a Call" button when viewing a Pro's profile it doesn't seem to me that the lead is prompted to explicitly enter their phone number so that the Pro can actually call them. Why is that?
@ScottA Well, it sure is nice that you shared Thumbtack's point of view on the issue. I thought Prachi and Tim were super polite and well spoken. The backround music was delightful and soothing. What I take away from this powerfully informative video is that no one involved in its production has one day's experience as a business person. Not one.
I found it interesting that a member of the feedback team is part of this production. Whenever I am asked why I decline a lead my response mostly notes the lack of contact information. Minutes later, I receive an email that shows a picture of intrerlocking arrows and a rocket ship at the end. It's a really super cool way to explain how the feedback system works and certainly adds clarity to how dynamic the feedback team can be. Totally Awesome.
Thanks for the point of view.
@ScottA It behooves one to mention that when a customer posts a project on your competitors' service platforms, they do provide contact information such as email and phone number. Same exact people, same exact job to a tee. Also, the lead goes for a lot less. A lot. Why the same exact customer posting the same exact job would choose only Thumbtack to not include their phone number or email is mysterious. Can you could shed some light on that?
Am I missing something here?
We were invited by @ScottA to share our questions in this thread regarding 'Phone Numbers'.
@ChefOfAllSeason and I accepted that invitation but no-one from Thumbtack has responded to our questions.
Why would Thumbtack invite Pros to ask questions but then ignore them? It's very odd.
@Lar I looked through the question flow for customers when contacting a magician as an example. You're right, when a customer contacts a pro there's no explicit section where we ask that customer how they prefer to be contacted aside from the messenger in the app. Currently for a customer to include their phone number or email they would need to include it in the additional notes of the project or simply share it in the messenger with the pro. When a call is requested there's still that secondary step of messaging the customer with your contact information and possibly asking for theirs as well. I'll be sharing your feedback that you feel this is something include for customers to fill in when reaching out to a pro.
To address @ChefOfAllSeason, other sites may require customers to include their contact information when contacting a pro, but we don't. We've found that requiring that information upfront can deter customers from the site when a large number of them will still continue without it and end up hiring a pro in the end.
I recommend taking a look back at our first feedback loop post. On number 1, we mention some additional thoughts around this and ways that we're working to improve this part of the experience for customers and pros.
Thank you for the response @Kameron.
From your reply the assertion by Prachi in the video that, "On Thumbtack they (i.e. leads) get a choice to choose how they want to be contacted. If they want to get on a phone call they leave their phone number." is erroneous because no "choice to choose" is presented to the lead for them to express their preferred method of contact.
I believe that even if the lead presses the "Request a Call" button they are NOT prompted to enter their telephone number. If the lead is "Requesting a Call" from the Pro then why wouldn't they be expected to enter their telephone number? How does the lead expect the Pro call them if the Pro doesn't know what their phone number is? This issue was raised months ago to the developers and to the best of my knowledge is still unresolved.
In addition to 'phone numbers', presumably at some point when entering their job details leads are asked for their email address so that they can receive notifications from Thumbtack? If that's the case then why doesn't Thumbtack provide that email address to Pros when they purchase a lead? Given that the majority of leads seem to be 'ghost' leads the ability for Pros to reach out to their purchased leads via email as a backup mode of communication would be hugely beneficial. If Thumbtack have the lead's email address then why not provide that to Pros when they purchase a lead?
Here’s one example: planning is already underway for customers who are looking to book time with a pro in services where that’s the clear next step. When contacting a pro in these services, customers are being asked to provide a phone number.
Specifically, what is happening with this? Anything yet?
@DustiO, also said... This and other solutions are being explored to improve lead quality beyond providing phone numbers.
Like what solutions exactly? Since May what has been done is this regard?
@Kameron If you re-read my post I did not once mention any requirements whatsoever. The data I shared was about choice. The leads choose to give their contact info on other sites, but not on TT. Thumbtack does not encourage this choice either. A one click button or some other such apparatus that adds this info to their request would be in order. It should be just as easy to one click contact info as it would to one click "What's your estimate?" or "What's your availability?" These two, by the way, are not of much use to us as they overwhelmingly result in ghosting.
Again, it comes down to a business point of view. All the platforms offer the choice of including contact info; Thumbtack's setup somehow discourages it. The leads that have contact info are valuable. The ones that don't are questionable. If TT wants to sell us a product, make it a good one. Otherwise our lead aquisition $ will go continue to go to your competitors.
Many of my customer leads com eto me with a phone number righ tin teh body of thier request - but the numbers are redacted - it looks like this:
"Please call me ###-###-####. How is that happening - clearly teh customer is NOT being given a choice!