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promoting services is not working for me

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when I first signed up with thumtack I started getting a lot of leads looking for tennis instruction, then about a few weeks later, I setup an actual service and setup promotion hoping to get more leads, instead, the number of leads has gone drastically down !! what is going on

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Re: promoting services is not working for me

Community Veteran
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@luisperez5518 Many are seeing this symptom. We really do not know what is causing it but the lead activity for so many of us has dried up.  There is speculation that, because lead volume is a direct result of buyers chosing pros, the volume or interest of the buyer has waned dramaticaly in recent weeks. 

 

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Promote your business to tell us exactly what jobs you want.

Community Veteran
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The issue with this statement is that I know exactly what jobs I want.

And I have in the past and continue to describe to Thumbtack how I define those jobs.

Home inspections are not a commodity that is priced simply by the square footage of the house. But Thumbtack does not seem inclined to change anything in the system to get home buyers to describe correctly the inspection to be done so that I will get "...exactly the jobs I want to my inbox."

And even if the job is a close match, the pricing expectation is not clearly communicated to the job poster with any detail. Without any way of knowing with any  certainty what is to prevent a job poster from being dissapointed by a quote that must be corrected or amended because Thumbtack did not ask the right questions?  --  This is not an issue specific to Home Inspections. I read this issue is a sore spot for many categories.

Let me give you just one example: Thumbtack asks the job poster when they would like the inspection to be done. If they wish it to be done at 6pm or later, there is no way to perform a professional Home Inspection in the dark of winter after about 4pm. Thumbtack simply does not undertand the real world and daylight. The sun does not shine at night.

Then a dialog ensues with the job poster that costs me money just to find that the job poster really wants a less than complete inspection in the dark. That is one of those jobs that falls into the category of "Not exactly the job I want" but I got it because I am using "promote".

John C Hansen, LEED AP
Hansen Home Inspections
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Re: Promote your business to tell us exactly what jobs you want.

Community Veteran
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Exactly John.

This from Thumbtack's Search Results article webpage...

Promote your business

When you promote your business, you tell us which jobs you always want. In return, you get a rank boost because we know you'll deliver a great customer experience. After all, these are the customers you told us you’re looking for. You also get 20% off those leads and pay automatically when a new lead matches your preferences.

Examine these statements in detail.

When you promote your business, you tell us which jobs you always want.

Yes, we tell you which jobs we always want based upon the few parameters Thumbtack allows us specify. However, in some cases these parameters are inadequate for Pros to accurately define 'the jobs you always want'.

Here is a prime example which happened on Monday.

As a Magician Thumbtack allow me to specify the types of performance types I 'always want'. One of them is Walkaround magic. Thumbtack also allow me to define a price for 'Walkaround Magic'. I have it set at $250.

The customer does a Search for a Magician, selects Walkaround Magic in Sarasota FL and a duration of 2 hours the Search results showed him an estimate of being $250.

The parameters that Thumbtack allows me to specify are woefully inadequate. Thumbtack do not allow me to specify an hourly rate for Walkaround magic, nor do they allow me to specify any travel expenses for non-local gigs. Because of this Thumbtack repeatedly calculates 'estimates' that are way off the mark.

I charge Walkaround magic by the hour, not a set fee. Sarasota is a two hour drive from my home. The correct estimate (if I were able to define parameters for hourly rate and non-local travel) would have been $450-$500.

I got promoted. Reached out to the customer specifying my correct estimate and received no reply and no replies to follow ups.

Put yourself in the mind of the customer. The quote he receives from Thumbtack is for $250. I see that his specified budget is $200-$300 so that make sense. I inform him that the estimate should have been $450. It's no surprise that he didn't get back to me.

I asked for a refund using the 'Automated Refund' feature. I selected 'Customer stopped responding' and I outlined in detail everything I just mentioned above. The response I received from Thumbtack was...

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.

No mention of my detailed reason for the refund request. Also, if 'Customer stopped responding' is not a valid reason for requesting a refund (as seems to be the case according to Thumbtack) then why are we allowed to select it as a reason for requesting a refund in the first place? 

So when Thumbtack say, 'you tell us which jobs you always want', it doesn't mean much since we can only define a narrow set of parameters for 'jobs you always want'. In situations like mine I am charged for a job that I DON'T want and which I won't do. I will not do a two hour walkaround gig which is two hours drive away for $250 but Thumbtack will charge me for the lead because the system thinks that it is 'a job I always want'.

I'm sure Pros here in different categories run into exactly the same problem I do.

I have reported this to Thumbtack repeatedly. I even discussed it here in this forum. I am yet to receive any feedback from Thumbtack.

 

In return, you get a rank boost because we know you'll deliver a great customer experience. 

How do Thumbtack KNOW that a Pro will deliver 'a great customer experience' just because that Pro has Promote switched on?

The Pro may historically takes 4+ hours to respond to a customer. Is that indicative of delivering 'a great customer experience'?

The Pro may have 1 hire and no reviews. That's not sufficient for Thumbtack to KNOW that the Pro will deliver 'a great customer experience'?

The assertion that Thumbtack KNOW a Pro will deliver 'a great customer experience' just because a Pro switches on Promote is invalid.

 

After all, these are the customers you told us you’re looking for.

No, not 'after all', that's an invalid assumption on Thumbtack's part. Thumbtack will send me leads that I'm NOT looking for and which I WON'T do. I'm not 'looking for' a lead which is a 2 hour Walkaround gig and 2 hours drive away with a max budget of $300. My fee for that type of gig is going to be $450-$500. The customer cannot afford to hire me because they don't have the budget.

I'm not looking for leads who CAN'T afford to hire me. I'm looking for leads who CAN.

 

You also get 20% off those leads and pay automatically when a new lead matches your preferences.

And that's the key 'clause' that permits Thumbtack to refuse refunds even when leads do not respond to us.

When you purchase a lead from Thumbtack ALL you are purchasing, the ONLY thing you are purchasing, is the opportunity to talk to a person who happened to enter some job details that matched the preferences Thumbtack permitted you to define. The lead may not want to talk to you. The lead may have no intention of hiring you or indeed hiring any Pro. That's not Thumbtack's concern.

Thumbtack's ONLY concern is that they will automatically a charge Promoted Pro for a lead when the job details as specified by the lead match the preferences Thumbtack permitted the Pro to define. That is all Promote is.

 

I'll offer a suggestion to Thumbtack, a very simple change that entails a minor modification to the Search Results article so that Pros know precisely what they are paying for when they are automatically charged for leads via Promote.

You also get 20% off those leads and pay automatically when a new lead matches your preferences as Thumbtack allow you to define them. Please note that the preferences Thumbtack allows you to define might not accurately reflect your current business practices and/or pricing. This may result in Thumbtack providing inaccurate price estimates to customers. Thumbtack accept no responsibility for the accuracy of price estimates it provides to customers on your behalf.

 

I'll offer another suggestion to Thumbtack.

Many Pros expect that when they purchase a lead from Thumbtack that the lead is actually looking to hire a Pro for a job. This expectation is unrealistic. Very few customers actually end up hiring any Pro on Thumbtack.

It would be very helpful if Thumbtack provided Pros with a a crystal clear unequivoqual definition of what a 'lead' IS so that Pros know precisely what they are buying when they purchase a 'lead' from Thumbtack.

This would allow Pros to...

  1. Have realistic expectations of Thumbtack.
  2. Make an informed decision as to the viability of Thumbtack as a platform and as a partner for their businesses. 

 

Regards,
Laurence.

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Re: Promote your business to tell us exactly what jobs you want.

Community Veteran
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@LarYou have said all the issues that affect me. TT does not allow me to add for mileage, or the age of the house or for bank owned property. To me this is a question of risk. The higher the risk, the higher the price.  And to use promote is like turning off my "risk radar" that would pretect me from unprofitable jobs.

But now I learn that job posters have to be smarter than the average internet user to navigate the Thumbtack app to find my custom quote and its associated hand written follow up message(s) and sample inspection report.

This is all while the guy who is at the top of the promote list is 50 miles away and taking the job will surely be unprofitable.

John C Hansen, LEED AP
Hansen Home Inspections
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Re: Promote your business to tell us exactly what jobs you want.

Community Veteran
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Spot on John.

Here's another thing, this time from the How Thumbtack Works Page. I think this may be causing some confusion with Pros.

When a customer thinks you might be a good fit for a job, they’ll reach out. This could be a message, call or booking. We call this a lead. And it’s a big deal. The customer found you, provided job details and wants to hear what you have to offer. You only pay for the leads you want. 

When a customer thinks you might be a good fit for a job, they’ll reach out

This particular verbiage creates an expectation among Pros that WHEN a customer reaches out to them they are doing so because they think the Pro might be a good fit for their job. Thumbtack are telling them precisely WHY a customer is reaching out to them therefore it is reasonable for Pros to expect that the customer who is reaching out to them is doing so because they believe the Pro is a good for for their job.

What isn't mentioned though, is that a customer can also reach out to a Pro, when...

  • The customer has no intention of talking to a Pro.
  • The customer doesn't think the Pro is a good fit for their job.
  • The customer doesn't actually have a job in mind.
  • The customer doesn't want to hire the Pro, or indeed any Pro on Thumbtack.
  • The customer can't afford to hire the Pro.

I think a lot of the dissatisfaction Pros are expressing with Thumbtack is due to Pros having unrealistic expectations as to WHY customers reach out to Pros.

With the current system it is impossible for Thumbtack to know the reasoning or the intent of a customer when they choose to reach out to a Pro.

To address this and to help avoid creating unrealistic expectations among Pros I think it would be really useful if Thumbtack amended the veribiage on the 'How Thumbtack Works' page to make Pros fully aware of the circumstances under which a customer may reach out to them. Maybe something simple, like...

Sometimes when a customer reaches out to you they do so because they think you might be a good fit for their job. Sometimes customers may reach out to you even though you are not a good fit for their job. Customers may also reach out to you without having a genuine job requirement. Thumbtack make no representation that when a customer reaches out to you that they will want to talk to you, nor any representation that when a customer reaches out to you that they have a genuine job requirement.

I think something like that would be really helpful to Pros, set the right expectations and counter a lot of the dissatisfaction Pros are expressing.

Regards,
Laurence

 

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Re: Promote your business to tell us exactly what jobs you want.

Community Veteran
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@Lar @HansenJC 

Just to add two more to the bullet point list:

What isn't mentioned though, is that a customer can also reach out to a Pro, when...

  • The customer has no intention of talking to a Pro.
  • The customer doesn't think the Pro is a good fit for their job.
  • The customer doesn't actually have a job in mind.
  • The customer doesn't want to hire the Pro, or indeed any Pro on Thumbtack.
  • The customer can't afford to hire the Pro.
  • The customer randomly selected 3 of the pros on the first page w/o reading the profiles
  • The customer randomly selected ALL of the pros on the first page w/o reading the profiles just to see what kinds of responses they would get.
  •  
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Re: Promote your business to tell us exactly what jobs you want.

Community Veteran
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I completely forgot that customers can reach out to you without looking at your profile and are therefore unlikely to make a determination as to whether you're a good fit for their job or not.

Well spotted @MR - all your time at law school was obviously time well spent 🙂

Regards,
Laurence

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Re: Promote your business to tell us exactly what jobs you want.

Active Community Member
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Same situation here as a handyman.  TT just refuses to understand that we don't want automated quotes!

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Re: Promote your business to tell us exactly what jobs you want.

Community Manager
Community Manager
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@Carl quotes aren't automated. Even if you're promoting your service and a customer reaches out to you through their search, they don't receive anything from you until you send them a quote. Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions about this. 

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