I'm very surprised that it was such a short Q&A (25 minutes) especially given the number of questions and issues Pros in this thread took time to submit.
There was one part in the Q&A where Marco revealed that the main reason for the recent changes was that Thumbtack felt the need to adapt to the changing needs of its end-users. My understanding from what Marco said is that Thumbtack's end-users wanted to see more information upfront and that they wanted pricing upfront - that's why they introduced Search. It seems like a sensible move for Thumbtack, they want to accommodate and attract more end-users - it makes sense.
I really think though that Thumbtack didn't give enough consideration as to how these changes would affect the Pros. Specifically I think that Thumbtack have grossly overestimated how many of their end-users will actually choose to voluntarily reach out to a Pro on the new platform.
Thumbtack Search works great at giving its end-users what they need, but where does that leave the Pros? It leaves the Pros scratching their heads wondering why they're only getting a fraction of the leads they used to get. Why is that? Why are we getting fewer leads? Weren't the changes supposed to make us more successful? Shouldn't we be getting more leads not less? Doesn't Thumbtack want to encourage our success?
That fact is that because of the changes Thumbtack made most end-users don't need to reach out to us Pros at all anymore. Why? Because most end-users are merely window shopping, they're just looking for ballpark pricing for whatever job it is they need done or maybe just trying to glean some information. Thumbtack Search gives them all that for free now. All it takes is a quick search and they get everything they require. There's no pressing need or desire from most end-users to voluntarily reach out to a Pro. That's why we're seeing fewer leads.
Reading between the lines from what Marco said, Search is definitely here to stay, Thumbtack can't reverse course, they are too committed. As a result the current decreased volume of leads I'm receiving will I expect be the norm. For the last few months I've been getting on average 2-3 a month, that's 24-36 a year. I reckon I'll close about 20% of them if I'm lucky, which works out to about 5-7 new customers this year on Thumbtack. Hardly a recipe for success, but it is what it is, I know where I stand.
The other consequence of receiving fewer leads is that I will end up spending less money on Thumbtack this year than in previous years. I wonder if Thumbtack considered that. I don't think I'm alone in this regard and if that's the case then over the coming months Thumbtack will begin to realize that its Pros are spending less money because they're now receiving fewer leads.
If that happens then Thumbtack will have to come up with another revenue generating plan. They are wedded to Search so they can't change that. What they could do (and it would be pretty easy for them to do) is start automatically charging Pros everytime someone views their profile. It would be a modest charge, at least to start off with. I can't imagine how that would be received by the Pros but if the Pros are spending less on leads because there are fewer leads being generated then Thumbtack will have to make their money from somewhere. How else are they going to do it?
I'm disappointed (but not really surprised) that Marco didn't dig deeper and really try to address the concerns and issues Pros have raised in this thread.
The fact that the Q&A was only 25 minutes long says a lot (or little depending on your perspective).
Can you make the potential customers profile picture clickable so that I can enlarge it? I do complimentary initial consultations. I meet the potential client often in Starbucks or a local restaurant. It would be helpful if I could enlarge their profile pic in advance to recognize their face among a crowd for my initial consultation.
Please put back the ability to mark hired and to ask for a review. My last few hires, I have to ask TT support to do these things for me. Don't understand the reason for that change.
Can you make it so that if they do provide their phone number, we can call with a tap?
And, as mentioned by others, please correct the issue of flooding my inbox with jobs that are 100's of miles away from my targeted area. It wastes everyones time and is not productive. I realize that if I sign up for promote then it would be resolved, but that sounds like I'm being forced into a decision unwillingly.
Along those same lines, I completely disagree with the method of allowing a potential client the opportunity to request a unpromoted quote from me (which I like because I do not have to pay unless the customer responds). Within seconds of her sending that to me, TT allowed her to send me another request but this one comes to me as a "New Lead" which I must pay first before sending the quote. Support says "yes, she 'SELECTED' you based on your profile and decided she now wanted a quote specifically from you because you were 'SELECTED'. Please, please keep things fair. If a potential client already sent a quote request via non promote/non selected/non new lead method, please do not allow the customer the option to then switch to a new method. It only seems to benefit TT. Your business is technically all of our businesses. If you keep frustrating all of these businesses, what happens next? The pricing structure changes, this type of lead switchery, the lack of ability to even mark a job as hired anymore all do not seem to support the small businesses who use your platform.
No mention from Marco about my biggest problem with Thumbtack's new system which is the vastly decreased volume of leads.
I tried to get answers to what was being done about this in another thread. I didn't get any and I've come to the conclusion that the decreased volume of leads simply isn't fixable. It's baked into the new Search/Promote system. It's how the system works now and Thumbtack couldn't change it even if they felt they needed to, which they don't.
You can't unmake an omlette.
@Lar Here's my thought, as much as TT says that they have seen a healthy increase in pro/lead interractions, we sure aren't seeing that on these boards. Yah, I get that boards like this tend to weigh more towards the negative comments.... but anyway... if the new system is bad for the pros, it is likely bad in the leads eyes as well. I tried it from a lead perspective as has others as well.. its not nearly as user friendly as it used to be... and getting messages that a pro has responded is not graceful at all.
Thumbtack wont provide numbers on useage... so.. we are left to believe what we believe we should believe....
I urge ever Pro here to do a little bit of simple math.
Go to your Insights, go to the figure "4 Week Overview" and make a note of the "Views".
That's the number of customers who visited Thumbtack and did a Search that matched your criteria.
Mine says 411 views in the last four weeks.
We have been told lots of times by Thumbtack that in the old system 80% of customers never got to see a Pro. If we take Thumbtack's word that this figure is a statement of fact then it stands to reason that 20% of the customers DID get to see a Pro.
OK then, if we were still using the old system and 411 customers visited Thumbtack looking for my type of service I can estimate how many of those 411 would have got to see a Pro. That's 411 customers, 20% of them enter their job details, that's 82 customers.
The job details of those 82 customers would have ended up in my Inbox and in the Inbox of every other Pro that matched the customers job details. Think about that for a second. That's 82 leads in the Inbox of EVERY SINGLE PRO who could fulfill that service, myself included.
Guess how many leads I got with the new system in the last 4 weeks?
I got 6 ... 4 or which ended up getting refunded because they did not match my job preferences and 1 was a test job I sent to myself.
I've had 1 viable lead in the last four weeks. With the old system I estimate I would have got 82.
So yeah, I think I do have a bit of a problem with the new system.
Go ahead, estimate how leads you would have got with the old system and then compare that to the number of leads you're getting now. The problem is obvious, or at least it is to me.