Keeping you in the (feedback) loop: July edition

Community Manager
Community Manager
8 43 3,543

We heard we could do a better job updating you on the status of all the great feedback you give us. We want you to know we’re listening to you, and we’re working hard to turn many of your ideas into new product features. 

You’ve given us a lot of feedback about how we can improve the customer experience. This month’s post highlights quite a few pieces of feedback pertaining to the customer experience and how it impacts you. 

Keep reading to learn what we are (and aren’t) working on regarding your feedback. Below you'll find updates on some of the most consistent and insightful feedback we've been hearing. And keep in mind, timelines may shift as we learn more about how to improve our product.

Status Key:

Implementing - This change is coming soon! Look for it an upcoming product roundup post.

In Development - We’re revising, building and fixing updates that address this feedback.

Evaluating Options - We’re working on it and the project is in research and design stage.

Under Consideration - We’re reviewing, but other projects may block us from working on it currently.

Not Planned - No change planned.

What you’ve told us you want:

  1. An option to pause new leads when I'm unavailable

Status: Implementing 

We're working on this one. You need a way to pause new leads when you’re going on vacation, or don’t have time for new jobs. Soon you’ll be able to hide your business from customer search results. When you tell us you’re unavailable, you won’t have to worry about responding to new leads and new customers won’t reach out to you.

  1. More insight over how I rank in search results

Status: In Development

Since search results launched in 2018, we’ve been going through your feedback to improve the algorithm that decides ranking. 

Lately, we’re focused on making it easier for customers to get to the right list of pros (see next item). But we’re still collecting feedback about search results ranking and working to improve it, so keep that feedback coming!

  1. In search results, show customers if a pro is in their area or remote

Status: In Development

It’s frustrating to pay for a lead only to learn the customer doesn’t want to travel to you, because they think you’re too far away or wanted you to travel to them.

It’s complicated to get this exactly right. Some services depend on where the pro is located, and for other services, the pro’s location doesn’t affect their business at all. 

For example, some San Francisco customers won't contact a house cleaning pro listed in a nearby suburb, even though the pro works all day in the city and doesn't charge a travel fee. 

We’re exploring ways to show customers when pros are remote and when pros work near them.

  1. More direction for customers to lead them to the correct service

Status: Evaluating Options

A customer who reaches out to you but learns you can't do the job they were thinking of can feel like a waste of time and money.

Customers don't always know what type of pro they need for a project. We're exploring ways to help guide customers to the right kind of pro for each job, like providing more dynamic suggestions when customers are searching for pros. It’s a complex challenge and we’re working hard to solve it. 

  1. Bring back project status updates for customers

Status: Evaluating Options

We agree! Customers should be able to easily manage and update their projects on Thumbtack. Over the next few months, we'll be working on improving customers' ability to get to the next step in their project. 

We removed project statuses when we switched to search results, because the statuses didn’t fit the new project flow. But we’ve seen a definite need to reevaluate how we can bring this back.

We plan to show customers their project status in different ways to see what works best for them. Our goal is to help customers better understand how to hire a pro on Thumbtack, and encourage them to be more responsive.

  1. Charge customers to use the site

Status: Not Planned

We understand it can be frustrating when you don’t hear back from customers, or get customers who are shopping around. We’ve heard feedback on both these issues and we’re working hard to address them. But customers have many free options to find pros, and at this time we have no plans to charge customers for using Thumbtack.

When customers come to Thumbtack, their money should go into your pocket, not ours. 

  1. Pay only when I’m hired

Status: Not Planned

It would be great to pay only when a quality lead turns into an actual hire. But right now, Thumbtack doesn’t have a way to confirm when a hire occurs. Before considering this route, we're working on getting more pros hired.

That’s why we’re more focused on getting you better quality leads. We’re doing this by improving how we match customers with the right pros in search results, and gathering more information about each job. On the customer side, we’re building features that move customers along the hiring process. 

  1. Require customers to use all search filters before they can contact a pro

Status: Not Planned

Currently, customers must fill out every question on the job request form before contacting you (but not before viewing search results). If you receive a lead and any of the details don’t match your preferences, you’ll only pay after you review the details and choose to accept the lead.

Customers don’t always know how to use filters on search results to help them find the right pro for their job. We know this can lead to disappointing experiences for both you and customers.

We are always looking for ways to encourage customers to use the filters, but will not be requiring them at this time. We’re also looking into more ways to share when a pro can or can’t do a project based on the customer’s request prior to it being sent to you. 

43 responses
Community Expert

@DustiO 

So then with the last Status(number 8)--Not Planned that you listed..

We will continue to get charged for conversation starters?

INSTEAD of reviewing "customers" entire profile(event info, customer info, date, lead cost, etc) then get charged after we make a decision? I've been suggesting this for 8 months now, and thought it would be a great improvement. After all, we(Pros) are the only ones who know will be a great fit for our business, not Thumbtack and its' filters.

So,  not implementing this will guarantee quality leads to us?

 

DJ Stevie 7-12-2019

Community Veteran

It's disappointing to see & that there are no suggestions that are under consideration for the July updates. I've made some great suggestions in the last few weeks. Is anybody paying attention to my suggestions? Feel free to PM me & I'll be happy to share them with you.

Community Veteran

It appears nothing has been mentioned about what TT is willing to do that prevents ghost leads. I know ways to prevent it, and so do many others. Nothing is mentioned about changeing the way filters are worded. The options present in my and a few other professions are incredibly vague. Most of the leads that are sent to my inbox don't make sense and for some odd reason, I am not given the option of stating a range of prices for events. Only two amounts are allowed. Additionally, An amount is automatically included in my quote against my wishes. Frankly, RR's methods discourage me to spend any money on these leads. It is difficult to send an adequate response and the leads themselves are unreliable. When is a vetting system to be implemented? The available "preferences" for a Pro to set are very few. 

Whenever I answer that question "tell us why" after declining a lead, the same canned insecere message is emailed to me. Something about "understanding my frustrations" and claims that a support team is on the job. It's always the same message. It seems obvious that no one reads the feedback at all.

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Hankster yes, you have definitely given us some great suggestions! As we've mentioned, not all feedback we receive from pros will be implemented, but everything is indeed considered. 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@DJStevie We are always working on delivering better quality leads to you - this is why much of this feedback post was dedicated to the customer flow and how we can improve that. You also have the ability to bid on jobs in your jobs tab, where you can review all of the information that you mentioned and then choose to bid from there. If you don't feel you are getting matched with the right jobs by using your targeting preferences, then you are free to bid on jobs in the jobs tab - using exactly the method that you laid out here.

Thanks!

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Hankster These are not the only things we are working on. Many things are in the works here - all focused on making your experience as a professional better. Please keep the suggestions coming. Thanks!

Community Veteran

Last 6 weeks - about 20 leads and 3 bookings.  I paid about $250 for jobs that earned $1,200. That is awful compared to how the system worked before all these drastic, high cost changes were made.  And I am a Top Pro?  Wow.  It  so frustrates me.  Just this week customers asking for an estimate when it is clearly marked BEFORE they contact me.  This shouldn't even be a question.  More like "if you are interested in hiring this person click here" . . .   or something more motivating for a potential customer to go to the next level. 

Customers contacting me for a estimate only is costing me greatly.  Our hourly rates are posted and this should not be a question for the customer at all.  They should know the cost or range before reaching out to us.  However, In VIDEO PRODUCTION services, we can not even put in our rates.  So the customer has to ask us for a price or rate and we are forced to pay on promote.  Is that fair?  When in photography and event videography I can post my rates?  What's the point of filtering then if it's suppose to help narrow the best match? 

I got a lead last week who wants a photographer for 4 hours with a UNDER $250 budget.  My rates are posted and this lead should have never been filtered to me - I don't work for $62 an hour.  Minimum $125-$150.  I am a professtional.   But I am forced to pay for this lead on Promote and I was refused a refund.  Does that make sense?  No empathy on this.  Black and white only regarding refunds.

And the questions over and over I see, "wants your availability".   What is the point of a calendar?  To avoid paying for leads when we are not available for the job right?  So if I am being promoted to you - then I AM AVAILABLE.  Take this question away.  Let the customer know that YES - these pros are available this day.   I've paid for more leads asking "wants your availabilty" and "wants an estimate" and never hearing back.  When our profiles are given to these customers - our complete profile is there, our rate is there, we are available, etc.  So stop having customers ask these questions - they should have all the information needed before they reach out.  Thumbtack is the only one profiting off this format.  Let the customer read all about us, then select who they are interested in hiring.  Filter us accordingly as well.   I should not be promoted to a customer looking for a photgrapher for $62 an hour.  Period.  Streamlining the questions to the customer would also stop customers from contacting 5, 7 or 10 of us.  Last month a customer contacted 28 of us.  These are simple changes that helps us Pros get the leads that really are a "perfect match".    I do not understand Thumbtack touting the filtering system so we get the best fit leads, then have customers click a icon that says "wants your availability".  It's a question that is costing me.

Also, why does this announcement you have made here not go out to all the Pros in a email.  I found this thread by accident.  As a paying customer of Thumbtack, I feel that these types of noticies should be know to me right away.  Email all of us.  I do not understand why that doesn't happen.

And as for item number one, to pause leads, the only one that is listed as "implementing", I already pause my promote when I need to.  This is nothing new.  If you are not on Promote you dont have that option,  so simply turn off notifications or ignor.  Lets see some "implementation" on real issues that are costing us Pros unnecessarily. 

Active Community Member

Hi @DustiO  & @Meckell 

 

Thanks for the update.

 

Any thought on the suggestion of giving Pros a window of time to have a one-on-one conversation with a customer, when the customer reaches out directly to the pro via Promote?

 

A common scenario for me -

Customer reaches out to me directly. I respond within 10 minutes.

However - in that 10 minute period Thumbtack has already encouraged the customer to reach out to other Pros as well. 

I work hard to build and maintain a profile that will encourage customers to reach out to me - and once I've landed a gig, work hard to ensure all of my feedback will also be strong enough to have customers reaching out directly to me first.

However, in that short 10 minute window, the conversation that the customer and I could be having has already been polluted by messages from Thumbtack, and messages from other Pros who may reach out quicker than I do.

 

How about a grace period (even just the intial hour) where the customer & initial Pro they reach out to can have an uninterrupted conversation? After all - what we are paying for is this highly valuable connection to the customer. I'd prefer to have that time with the customer without interruption & interference.

 

Thanks

Community Veteran
@ScottArcangel your feedback is a excellent point! And another well pointed out issue for the pro side. Sending the leads out to everyone after the customer selects Pros on promote is not helpful to the Pros or the customer. First of all , the customer is selecting who they are interested in - to streamline their process and filter through all of us. That helps the customer. They don’t want their request sent out to the masses! If so, give them that option. But finding jobs in the jobs tab means TT is mass marketing that customers request to us. Maybe the customer doesn’t want that? After a few minutes of making their filtered selection their request goes out to the entire service category? And at that level the cost to respond is extremely high. It should be extremely low at that level if anything. Filtering and being selecting by a customer also helps us Pros on promote to only pay for leads that are exact matches (however that needs serious fixing). I feel for those who are not on promote - you could be pages and pages down to scroll through and never be seen. But being on promote is a whole other issue with leads that are not filtered properly and we are forced to pay. Or like my previous feedback where we have to pay for “are you available”, “wants an estimate” when these questions should never be allowed for the customer to click on - that information is already there. By the time they want to contact us and us pay a high cost for a value lead - then make it a value lead. It’s common sense. And no waiting period at all to send to the jobs tab. Customers can either scroll and find us or filter is. But sending the request to the entire service category is wrong and unfair for those of us that pay for promote. It’s not helping us. Besides, customers don’t want to be bombarded! Exactly how long does it open up to the entire field? If it’s less then an hour, then it’s really unfair. The desperation of TT to make money off every single lead at any cost to us is very apparent and disappointing. Truly - what’s the point of Filter and Promote if TT is not supporting that to really help us with the booking. Also, again with the “here’s what we are doing” and then months go by with no changes.
Community Veteran
Final thought - this informational post should really be emailed to the entire Thumbtack community.
Active Community Member

@jcp Thanks for your response.

I'm afraid, there's more to it than that...

Not only is the lead posted in the Jobs tab once the customer selects the Pro they want to reach out to - as you described...

But within minutes of selecting a Pro, Thumbtack emails the customer to encourage them to reach out to a number of other Pros. This way, if the original Pro isn't available, they have a number of options. What happens is the customer (if they are new to Thumbtack) likely clicks on a number of other Pros - since it's free, why not? Not knowing they will then get multiple communications from everyone they select - and within minutes they are overwhelmed by 2-8 other Pros.

And the conversation they wanted to have with us, that we paid for & earned with our profile & stellar record, is completely muddied.

Again - just give us an hour to have a conversation...

Community Veteran
@ScottArcangel well that is good information to know.

I hope the team is reading this. Because this is exactly what it means by not ensuring we are getting the connection that we want as Pros or what Customers deserved as well. How TT doesn’t see that this is unfair, especially when we are paying to promote like you say. What is the point of Promote if this is allowed to happen? Besides, when I am conversing with a customer- which can go back and forth for 15 - 20 minutes - they are being listed in the jobs tab too?! Unbelievably unfair and entirely against the whole “promote” idea.
Community Manager
Community Manager

We've heard a lot of amazing feedback here in the Community regarding many of these subjects. I wanted to take a second and give a shoutout to a few pros who have shared some of this feedback! 

@Daniel_O in your post here, you mentioned that you would like the option to temporarily hide your account. We told you that it's something we're working on and are excited to share more about it. Be sure to check out the first topic on this post and let us know what you think!

@tmholbert @revbrian @ChefOfAllSeason @MR you all had questions and gave feedback recently regarding how pros rank. Check out the second topic on this post and feel free to share your thoughts!

@FrankkieR @WLVO you gave us feedback about customers selecting that they want services remotely. Refer to the third topic in this post, and of course, if you have any further suggestions, let us know! 

@Lar @user4311 you both told us that you want us to bring back the option for customers to update the status of their project. This is something we're currently evaluating. Check out the fifth topic below to read more! 

@ChefOfAllSeason you wrote this post about wanting to pay only when you're hired. Look at the seventh topic in this post to get more of an explanation on why this isn't something we're doing at this time. 

 

Thanks to all of you and many other pros who share feedback with us daily Smiley Happy 

Active Community Member

@jcp 

My suggestion didn't get an honorable mention... I suspect it would fall under the "no change planned" category.

Even though it would facilitate the best conversation between the customer and the Pro that they directly reached out to, it might be too expensive to implement a 1-hour courtesy window.

Community Veteran

Welcome to my world @ScottArcangel 

Community Veteran
@ScottArcangel - I would have to agree as a business owner that the one hour wait period is rather too much to ask. Besides the customer doesn’t want emails coming in a hour later either. The solution is to get valid, filtered customers to us that want to hire us. I’ll say again, “that want to hire us”. The process of getting a truly interested, ready to hire lead is not working efficiently. I won’t repeat - but it’s all listed by me and many, many, many pros. For months now. Yes TT is making some money now, that can’t be denied. But the Pros are losing more than gaining. Truly disheartening. I just got a email, I made “Top Pro” again. How that happened I don’t know but I am happy. But the cost over the last year as compared to the four years prior -“as a Top Pro is truly sad. I do have to think every once in awhile that if this platform was not available at all where would I be? So ...... though I do book, it’s not a high valued or profitable site for me anymore. I certainly do not recommend to other professional law to use Thumbtack anymore like I used to. That’s what’s a shame.
Community Veteran

Yes @DustiO I would hope those aren't the only things that Thumbtack is working on to make my experience with TT better. Because right now the experience is poor to say the least. I was expressing my disappointment is all. I've been making suggestions for 10 years now. None of which has ever been considered or implemented. I'm sure you'll be able to find all of those suggestions in the robust feedback system that you folks have at TT.

Hankster 7/18/19

Community Veteran



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Thumbtack Community Pro lounge The water cooler Congratulations to our July 2019 class of Top Pros...
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miketro
Level 1

yesterday
Re: Congratulations to our July 2019 class of Top Pros!
Thank you Thumbtack for providing such an awesome platform to market my photography business in the Philadelphia area. So far so great! Congratulations to all the 2019 Top Pros, great job!
Cheers,
Mike
Michael Troisi Photography
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KimKosteck
Level 4

13m ago
Re: Congratulations to our July 2019 class of Top Pros!
Yay!!! Congratulations to all of you and I am so happy to be here! My name is Kim Kosteck. I am a Professional Organizer and Life Coach living in the Houston area. Essentially, I help my clients become a better version on their selves so they can live fuller and happier lives by getting “unstuck”.
I think it’s great they ask for a tip, because when I here Top Pro, I think of an individual that makes their clients a priority and understands the need for outstanding customer service. My #1 tip would be to put yourself in your clients shoes and think of the place in their life they are before they contacted you to improve it in some way and treat them no less that what you would wish to be treated. I wish you all the best on your endeavors and if you ever feel overwhelmed or wish you could get unstuck. I am available for a free coaching call to all Top Pro members! You can reach me at KimKosteckPO@gmail.com or 346-708-2413!
Keep raising the bar!
Kim
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Thought I would add this . . . .  first 20 days of July numbers

16 paid Promote leads
Cost $$196
1 refund that was a struggle to get
Booked 1
Booked event : $175 for 1 hour job and he hasn’t paid the deposit yet. So technically I’m still at ZERO bookings

Potential for a $20 profit for the month so far!   $20 potential earnings for July.  And I just made Top Pro.  ??

I’ve been a Top Pro five years in a row. But these numbers are a sign that this system doesn’t work. This is why only 4% make Top Pro. Because 96% can not be successful on this site. When are the changes coming that have been promised? Paying for customers to ask if we are available when we pay to be filtered to them because we are available? Asking for estimate when we filter our price before they can contact us? I’ve been asking customers if they would use the site different and make serious selections if they knew we paid to respond and they said yes. But getting the customer to reach out to as many pros as possible IS Thumbtack’s goal.  This takes away from uniqueness and cost to be on Promote.   It is quite clear that Thumbtack is not planning on taking the steps that will truly make a difference in helping us get the right lead and the best opportunity to book.  

The issues with the site are all expressed all over the community board for a year now.  And I don't see any of them addressed in your opening.  "Require customers to use all search filters before they can contact a Pro"   Is  NOT PLANNED?  Then why are we paying for Promote?  Why are we wasting so much money for people to ask "are you available" - "wants an estimate".   When I read that I was so disheartened for the future of this site.    

Community Veteran

In regards to #8: I must disagree with your assertion that customers are required to fill out all questions when posting leads. The request format for my services have a message box. Most times they are not filled in. 

Community Regular

This is in response to #3.

Thank you, I read what you said, but I have to say, since I've been complaining for at least 5 years, this search for a solution seems very slow. I hear about zip code filters, there's that real estate app where you can draw it in the shape of a duck. I would gladly block all zip codes beginning with 1. I need a different filter for online work than for in person. If nothing else, there should be a clear refund policy, so, especially when I've complained so often, at least I can get my budget restored. Now it's at the understanding of the rep I speak to. I've done everything I can. My profile states IN ALL CAPS in the headline that I service New Jersey. Customers manage to miss it. Some reps acknowledge the process and give me a refund. Some say it's within my 25 mile radius and don't. I don't want to cut back my radius, because people 50 miles to the west and south will still come to me. For online lessons, I'd eliminate zip codes beginning in 9. If they want lessons in their evening, that's 9pm to midnight my time. I even had a request from Hawaii, who was surprised I didn't live on the big island. Pros quickly become tuned in to our audience. The customer won't notice, and they have no idea they're wasting our budget.

Community Veteran

@DustiO: How does implementing the pause option differ from using the calender to mark off days of unavailability?

Moderator
Moderator

@ChefOfAllSeason This is a great question to clarify. When you hide your business by using the pause feature, your profile won’t show in customers’ search results. But you can continue to interact with any customers who have already reached out to you.  Additionally, you won’t have to respond to new leads or take on new jobs. That way, you don’t have to worry about things that affect your ranking in search results — like declining leads, your response time, or updating your calendar. This makes it so if you need to take a break because you're booked up, an emergency comes up, or just going on vacation you can simply push pause.

On the other hand, when you mark off you're calendar you won't appear in searches where someone is looking for that specific day or time, but you will still appear to other customers who are searching for times that you have available. This means leads will continue to come in.

Community Veteran

@taylor - I must admit to some perplexity on this newly implemented feature. Please bear with me:

1) When my calendar is marked for certain times of unavailability it in no way affects my ranking; but my profile is still visible.

2) If my profile is on pause, no one sees my profile and my ranking is unaffected.

3) If 'Promote" (or "Target" as it is now called) is activated, I am not liable to for leads when either of the above is opted.

Is that the whole thing; or is there more?

Community Veteran

@DustiO - Thank goodness these are not the only things you are working on... no doubt TT is, as you say, working on many other ways to improve our user experience. Please share with us what things TT is currently working on that you have not already mentioned.

Moderator
Moderator

@ChefOfAllSeason You're right, but keep in mind when you're targeting your preferences you'll still be liable to respond to leads that come in while using your calendar. That means if someone reaches out to you for a date that you have blocked on your calendar, but says they're open to other dates, you will need to respond or it could affect your response time. The easiest way to think of it is that if you're using your calendar you'll still appear in search results, but if you've paused your profile, you won't appear at all making it easier for you to take a nice vacation and not have to worry about checking in on any new leads. 

Community Veteran

@taylor Thank you for the clarification. Evidently many pros have been asking for this feature. One can see the benefits. 

Active Community Member

@DustiO @taylor 

 

Any thought on the suggestion of giving Pros a window of time to have a one-on-one conversation with a customer, when the customer reaches out directly to the pro via Promote?

 

A common scenario for me -

Customer reaches out to me directly. I respond within 10 minutes.

However - in that 10 minute period Thumbtack has already encouraged the customer to reach out to other Pros as well. 

I work hard to build and maintain a profile that will encourage customers to reach out to me - and once I've landed a gig, work hard to ensure all of my feedback will also be strong enough to have customers reaching out directly to me first.

However, in that short 10 minute window, the conversation that the customer and I could be having has already been polluted by messages from Thumbtack, and messages from other Pros who may reach out quicker than I do.

 

How about a grace period (even just the intial hour) where the customer & initial Pro they reach out to can have an uninterrupted conversation? After all - what we are paying for is this highly valuable connection to the customer. I'd prefer to have that time with the customer without interruption & interference.

Thanks!

Community Veteran

@ScottArcangel  This is a fantastic idea! What say you @DustiO & @taylor? These are hard working paying service pro Thumbtack customers (yes WE ARE customers) who are asking Thumbtack to work & partner with us! Not against us! We want to see recent suggestions & feedback that will benefit ALL service pros & Thumbtack implemented sooner like as in this year rather then later or never! 

Hankster 8/1/19

Moderator
Moderator

@ScottArcangel This is a great thought to share with us here. Partnering with you to help you see success is important and we appreciate the hard work and effort you put into your business to ensure your customers are satisfied and want to come back to you in the future. I'll definitely take this suggestion down and pass it along to our team to add to any additional feedback on the subject. One thing to keep in mind is that we want customers to find the help they need when they need it and that's why we provide them the option to reach out to more pros. We want to be sure we're being fair to all pros and giving them an equal opportunity to contact the customer. As you said, you work to reach out to customers within 10 minutes of them contacting you. That's a great response time to commit to. Customers are looking for quick and detailed responses. If that customer has to wait an hour before being able to hear back from any pros they may move on to a different pro before you can respond. We appreciate you sharing this with us. Keep the great ideas coming. 

Active Community Member

@taylor 

Thanks for the response. Just one note on a comment of yours -

"We want to be sure we're being fair to all pros and giving them an equal opportunity to contact the customer."

The whole foundation for why I bring up the idea of giving the Pro who was first selected a courtesy window to have an exclusive conversation - is that not all pros deserve an equal opportunity to contact the customer.

That might not be a popular opinion - but I stand by it. If a Pro provides the kind of outstanding service and works hard enough on their profile to attract the customer first - then they deserve to have that conversation first. And then other Pros should be given an opportunity to contact the customer. And doesn't the customer deserve to have the conversation with the Pro that they reached out to? VS being inundated by other Pros that they intentionally did not select?

Thanks

Community Regular

"Charge customers to use the site

Status: Not Planned"

That is fine, and I absolutely understand this from a business-model perspective.  HOWEVER, do you ever let customers know that their inquiry WILL cost the pro/provider money?  You could even let them know how much it is going to cost the pro.  I don't know, maybe you do that now ... I honestly have not used Thumbtack in over a year (ever since the new and "improved" overhaul, and I watched quality of leads go down and my expenses go way up).  I can't tell you how many customers of mine had no idea we had out of pocket just to talk with them.

Have you considered putting a little note/notice for each customer when they are searching for a job that pros repsonses, or would that take away too much from your bottom line?  Have you thought about doing a true change, and allowing things to run more like Elance (i.e. commision-based revenue), with control and oversight to see when jobs go through, payment, etc.?

Community Veteran

When will the August updates be posted?

Community Veteran

@Timoteo I agree with you on all points. Sometimes I ask myself "What is the least awkward way to inform customers that answering their leads costs the responding professional a fee?"

I also look at it from a consumer's perspective: When do I ever go shopping and actually contemplate the proprietors operating expenses?

My answer is never. This is especially true when I shop at Amazon. Click click and it's done; just like here. Consumers these days prefer that.

Community Manager
Community Manager

@ChefOfAllSeason it should be posted in a few weeks. Stay tuned! 

Community Veteran

@taylor : The practice of giving too many options to customers is overkill. If I recieved 10 quotes from 10 pros (as will haooen frequently on job posts of all kinds) I would probably not read all of them and feel overwhelmed. To be partners with us Pros you must encourage sales conversion rather than quote diversion. We remember when 5 bids was the cap. That is a norm in many industries. 

I offer a suggestion that will add veracity to your assertion that TT wants to partner with us:

A survey of how many multiple bid (more than 5) job posts that have led to ghosts. Furthermore, some hard data about how many ghosts occur on a monthly basis and how many leads are accepted either by Jobs Tab or Promote (Target). With this information we then, as partners of course, decide together in a harmonious fashion the true ratio of ghosts to actual responses across the board. 

As a partner, I truly want all of us to succeed; especially the newly named Target. It would be sad to see Target be a hit or miss. As Rosy the Riveter said "We can do it!"

Community Veteran

@ScottArcangel : I must disagree with your assertion that "not all Pros deserve an equal chance." My profile is strong, my work is excellent and my money is as green as anyone elses. If I pay, I play. Those on Target, aka, Promote get first crack at the pitch, but I still get a place in the lineup too. I decline Promote. aka Target, for my own reasons and accept with a happy heart that my profile does not exist in the ranking of two of my services. That is fair. But if I pay the same rate for these great leads (in fact 20% more) why should I be given leftovers?

Community Veteran

I agree @ChefOfAllSeason Cap it at 5. That should be more than enough choices. Too many of the JP's get click happy & have chosen on one job lead that came into my Jobs tab 13 pros. 13 pros who got auto charged. Makes me wonder if the JP actually contacted someone or as is probably the case this was a ghost lead.

Hankster 8/2/19

 

Community Veteran

@Hankster As it has been explained to me by the support teams months ago, when the prompter says " John Doe contacted 5 Pros" it really means Thumbtack automatically contacted 5 Pros who use "Promote", now known as "Target". And just for clarification, this in no way implies any connection whatsoever with Target stores. These nationwide outlets have many more customers seeking the same products than do on Thumbtack. So all in all, it's a fair deal.

Community Regular

@ChefOfAllSeason I understand your point, and that is true about shopping ... but I feel this is a case of apples and oranges.  The paradigms are different, as are the expectations.  People would not be surprised that online vendors/shops have overhead, but most of my customers -- when it has come up -- were quite surprised the pros had to pay a fee up front.  But regardless, in both cases I don't think they are thinking about it too much. 🙂

Community Veteran

@Timoteo Very true. All consumers know that vendors have an overhead; but who actually considers that in their decision making process? Again I say the online shopping experience is the same here as anywhere else. All online markets employ the same easy click options for purchase, whether it be goods or services.

Here are a few examples:

1) I have been a Pro on Thumbtack for 5 years and have had a long history of sucess on this site. The feedback I get from most of clients from here are that my prices are competitive. These shoppers did not go too far into the details of my profile, if at all.

2) About 5%-10% chose me because of my profile and price was not a primary consideration. These are the ones, btw, who have been recurring business over the years.

3) Online shopping in general: Convenience is the key. Delivery wise, user experience wise, and price wise. It is the most popular way of presenting goods and services online. Most people these days do it on their mobile phone or iPad at a red light or in bed anyway.

In summary, it is my studied belief that we, the vendors must conform to the market. If TT, like so many other sites, is setup to catch customers with an attractive set up, then we must know how to lure the fishies our way. My methods are simple. I set my preferences my way. I promote for one service only, and manually accept leads for the other two. I never allow myself a blind choice and the risk is managable. One more thought on conforming to the market: As my clients have made it clear that my superstrong profile is not the primary factor in choosing me, I ask they post their review of me on Google. That is where I get the most mileage all around. To put another review here would change anything. I already have 30. At least on Google, people stop and look at everything I offer, i ncluding reviews. And never, ever, would they allow a fasified review or photo that damages my good name.

Active Community Member

@Timoteo @ChefOfAllSeason , you both have made good points. My take on this, however, is that Thumbtack is attempting to commoditize every category. That way, price becomes the "governor" behind the consumer's decision process. My proof to that is the 4 requests I've received for fairly comprehensive video jobs, and ALL of them were budget at <$400. I simply will not engage in a race to the lowest price and if this means that I'm not "conforming to the market," so be it. Thankfully, I'm getting jobs in the right budget range from other sources, including my own website. 

I won't delete my Thumbtack profile because one day, perhaps clearer heads will prevail. But until it does, I'm keeping Promote paused and will bid the one-off jobs that fit my parameters. 

Community Veteran
@VideoTerry: You make a salient point. It has crossed my mind a time or too that TT attracts bargain hunters. If that is so, it is hard to determine whether this is deliberate or through happenstance.
We live in a free market society. TT has to remain competitive like anyone else. Many leads come in with unrealistic budgetary expectations; so what? I just hit pass. For me, one out of ten is worth consideration. It’s still better than zero.
Community Regular

@VideoTerry You have encapsulated my sentiments and, for the most part, my strategy, dead on.  I agree with your assessment of the commoditization theory as well.   I will say that there are some diamonds in the rough (clients that understand, often if you underpay your going to get what you pay for) here, but the new system makes it that much harder thand before, and even then it wasn't easy. 🙂

Also, I was very fortunate this past year or so to gain a few clients with long-term and "heavy-load" vfx projects (and reasonable budgets) that kept me busy, and none-too concerned with the "shananigans" here.  However, I know that (and knew) that it could come (and will/is) back to the forefront (although minimized by the strategy) once again.   I hope, as you said, "clearer heads will" prevail sooner than later.  

Take care,
Tim

PS: Did any of you ever use Elance?  What did you think of it before it becmae Odesk? (Just curious.)