Keeping you in the (feedback) loop: May edition

Community Manager
Community Manager
7 30 3,101

Welcome to the first monthly feedback community post. 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.

So below you'll find updates on some of the most popular and insightful feedback we've been hearing. Please keep in mind that timelines may shift as we learn more about how to improve our product, ideas, projects.

Be sure to check out the monthly product roundup to see exactly when product changes are made. 

Feedback webinar deck.png

Don't see your feedback on this list? That doesn't mean we aren't working on it. Some changes we’re working on aren't quite ready to share yet.

We'll tell you about what’s happening next soon. And if you have other ideas, be sure to reply below to share your suggestion. You might even see your suggestion featured in a future post!

What you’ve told us you want:

  1. More customer phone numbers

Status: evaluating options

We hear you loud and clear. Having a customer’s phone number can help you close the job. Depending on the customer, we’ve found some prefer other forms of communication (messaging through Thumbtack or text) before giving out their phone number. We’re looking into possible solutions to turn more leads into jobs as part of our commitment to improve your experience. One possible solution? Asking customers to provide a phone number when it’s the right next step.

We’re also investing time in setting better customer expectations. Mainly, that means helping customers understand what to expect next in their hiring journey (and giving them a few friendly nudges on what steps to take next).

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.

This and other solutions are being explored to improve lead quality beyond providing phone numbers.

  1. The ability to sort jobs by distance (in the Jobs tab)

Status: implemented

We heard you! You said that you wanted to waste less time searching for potential jobs in the Jobs tab. We’ve added a radius filter so you can select the distance that makes sense for you.

  1.  More control over how far customers travel to me for jobs

Status: in development

Our goal is to understand all the factors pros consider to determine whether they want a job. Many pros have found customers who live farther out won't hire them, so they’re not as interested in those jobs. Now we’re working on giving you more control over the leads you get, including which customers travel to you.

  1. Allow reviews only if the customer hired you

Status: evaluating options

We understand it can be frustrating to receive a review when you weren’t even hired. We want to allow customers to share their thoughts on their experience with a pro, even if they decide to go a different direction. Their experience is still valid and might be useful for future customers to know.

Just remember, customers can’t leave a review if they don’t have a conversation with you. Once you have a conversation and you’ve started interacting, then they can leave a review. With that, we don't always know when pros actually get hired by customers. That’s something we’re working towards and will also tie into when customers will be able to leave reviews in the future.

  1. Read receipts (so you know when customers view your messages)

Status: evaluating options

We want to give you clear signals once a customer responds to you. In the past, you used to know when a customer viewed your quote on Thumbtack. But Thumbtack has changed a lot since then. We want you to focus on the customers you are having conversations with.

While you can still send a quote to a customer (from the Jobs tab), the customers with the most potential are the ones who contact you or reply to your quote. Those customers are in your Inbox.

There are multiple ways to provide clearer signals once a customer has responded, and a "read receipt" is one option we're considering.

  1. The option to accept a previously declined lead

Status: not planned

Sometimes declining a lead can feel like a missed opportunity, especially if you realize later you’re actually interested in the lead you just declined. Once a lead is declined the customer is immediately notified you are not available and we begin introducing them to other pros. To re-engage with that customer once they’ve been told you’re not available can lead to a confusing experience for the customer.

If you are looking to fill in your calendar with canceled bookings, you can use the Jobs tab to try to fill in those times.

While we’re not directly working on the ability to re-engage with declined leads, we are working on improving the calendar so it’s easier for you to keep your calendar up to date. This will help you get matched with more leads for the times you’re available and you’ll be less likely to decline leads for availability reasons. Look out for calendar improvements this Summer.

  1. Don’t charge when customers are unresponsive

Status: in development

Never hearing back from a customer can be discouraging and we understand how those leads can feel frustrating. We're working on this one — we know it's important to you and we want to get it right. While we can't share specific details on how we're making improvements, we hope to share more news on this soon.

In the meantime, we encourage you to brush up on our tips for crafting a great response to customers. They’re much more likely to respond when you send a great response. And no, “call me” doesn’t cut it.

30 responses
Active Community Member

Nice post, thank you @DustiO !

 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@TheLast10SF This was a huge team effort, I will pass this along to them. Thanks! 

Community Veteran

@DustiO  Thanks for the post.

Take a look at #2. Compare it to what was requested. Check with development to be sure they achieved what the written specifications laid out for them to accomplish.

In my opinion, either their specs were written poorly or the people who translated our requests (suggestions) missed the mark. When we asked for a distance filter, we did not ask for sorting. Yes the program must first sort the data but sorting is an internal requirement. What I need is a filter that stays in place the same at all time until I choose to change the setting for that filter.

Here is what happens now (with this change implimented) I see a job come to me in my email way too far away to be profitable. So I go into my jobs tab and see that the setting for the filter is at 150 miles. I know that is not the way I left it the last time that I logged into Thumbtack. So I change the setting to a pretty reasonable distance of 25 miles. That is a circle with a radius of 25 miles and an area of 1,962 square miles of heavily populated chicago metro area. That is how I had it set the last time I was on my computer checking the Jobs tab. Thumbtack should have a few jobs to look at in the jobs tab in an area as large as 1,962 square miles. Nothing there this morning so maybe I will wait till this evening. So I log out of Thumbtack and return in the evening to see what may have turned up. And again I get jobs appearing in the Jobs tab from three other states around Illinois. They were about 100+ miles away. But I left the filter on 25 miles right? Did the program mess up? Or am I on a different planet? I would have surely thought that the 25 mile filter would stay set at 25 miles for the few hours I was away from the computer. Now I am sad because thumbtack just closed that programming project as complete.

Was it my fault because I was not specific about how I wanted that distance filter to work? Must we wait another several months and build up a large number of requests for this project to get back onto the boards in development? Please tell me they can fix this. Please tell me that they wants to fix this. Please don't tell me that this is actually what everyone other than me wanted and everyone else is happy with it this way.

Community Veteran

@DustiOWhile it's nice to to sort jobs by distance in the Jobs tab how about improving this feature even better? Have a radio button feature instead of the drop down that is currently available. Then once we set the mileage radius give us the option to save the change. Then the next time we go to the Jobs tab the distance that we saved is what we'll see in the Jobs tab. Seems like a simple fix to me.

Hankster 6/3/19

Community Veteran

@DustiO'Read receipts (so you know when customers view your messages)'. This feature should have never gone away to begin with. Same with the feature that a lead has viewed my profile. I can focus just fine on leads I'm already having conversations with (if I get ANY leads to have a conversation with. Not getting any leads of late) along with seeing that notification that a lead has viewed my quote along with my follow up responses I send to them. No offense but I don't need Thumbtack to determine what's best for me. I should be able to determine that. I know how my business runs & how much I can handle. 

Thanks,

Hankster 6/3/19

Community Manager
Community Manager

@Hankster @HansenJC  Thank you both for the feedback on the distance filter - you both had the same thought - great minds think alike! I will take this back to the team - whenever there is an update implemented we watch very closely for feedback on that update. As always, your insight is much appreciated!

Community Expert
@Hankster
Very well said. I wasn't going to comment in this thread for various reasons, but decided to reply to your comment.
I am in agreement with you. The road receipts was a feature that shouldn't have been taken away, along with who viewed our profiles. Providing viewed numbers in out Insights isn't helpful. We need brought back what was successful for us, not to continue to bring us down.
Also in agreement with you in that we need to determine who is a best for us, and who is a good fit for us.
I also haven't had any coversations in weeks with anyone. It's more one sided conversations, from my end.
I've given many suggestions for improvements, but never see them, and it's been 7+ months and counting. @Hankster, I haven't seen any of your excellent suggestions either.
Seems we are forgotten, even though we get told otherwise.
DJ Stevie 6-5-2019
Community Veteran

@DustiONobody likes a pedant but I must. Let's dive deep into #1:

  1. More customer phone numbers

Status: evaluating options

Did the suggestions from Pros actually ask for more? Or did we ask for phone numbers? I am unsure that there were any qualifiers that were written into the requests.

"Having a customer’s phone number can help you close the job." And not having the customers phone number makes us really really want to pass. But if we are on Promote, there is no choice. The risk of being ghosted is enormous when there is no phone number. So let them ghost Thumbtack at the point at which there is no harm to anyone. Think of it: There will be NO HARM TO ANYONE when the ghost dissapears before they post the request without a phone number. Please. Just let them go quietly.

"Depending on the customer, we’ve found some prefer other forms of communication (messaging through Thumbtack or text) before giving out their phone number." Let's pars this statement. It is actually two very different types of customers. If they wish to communicate through Thumbtack, they are doing this in order to maintain a bit of privacy. And if they wish to text? Aren't they texting on the same smart phone that has the same phone number that we would dial to speak to the human on the other end of the line? Text IS an acceptable alternative to Messages through Thumbtack. (Yes, I am being a pedant.) Are you assuming that customers are using a masked phone number?

"We’re looking into possible solutions to turn more leads into jobs as part of our commitment to improve your experience." Just stop looking. You will find it when we can talk by voice with the customers. This request for phone numbers was not a request for you to look at alternatives to giving us phone numbers. Just decide. Yes or no. No alternative to this request. Take the road less traveled and give us what we are asking for.

"One possible solution? Asking customers to provide a phone number when it’s the right next step." Is Thumbtack ready? Tell us when TT thinks the right next step is. TT already makes us pay when the customer presses their thumb on the "I'd Like to schedule a phone call". Every time they press the button is the right next step for giving us a phone number so we actually can call them. 

"We’re also investing time in setting better customer expectations." Please show us that investment.

"Mainly, that means helping customers understand what to expect next in their hiring journey (and giving them a few friendly nudges on what steps to take next)." Please show us that investment.

"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." The feedback loop should include some reasonable projections for the planning phase of this project.  1-3 months?  4-6 months?  6 months to a year? Please nail down this feedback to more than vague generalities. Some of us know project management. Go ahead and spill it.

"This and other solutions are being explored to improve lead quality beyond providing phone numbers." One more time. The request was for phone numbers. We did not ask for anything more than phone numbers with this request. Do not put the brakes on because there is a dream of the perfect solution. Just give us phone numbers.

Community Veteran

@DustiO

I've made this suggestion I don’t know how many times on several different posts here in the Community over the last several months & even to a supervisor named Chris back in December of 2018. Let's separate the 'tire kickers' from the leads actually looking to hire. I mean honestly there are only two options when I'm looking for someone to perform work for me. I want to see what the service costs. Then once the price, reviews, profile, etc. meets my satisfaction then I'm ready to hire that company. Let's have 2 radio buttons. The first can read 'I'm looking to hire'. The other can read 'Not looking to hire yet. I'm just looking to see what this service costs’. If the lead is looking to hire & then decide to reach out using a conversation starter question, then that to me IS the next step & we should be provided that leads contact information. We're being charged anyway, right? So, what's the big deal (or I should say ALWAYS has been the big deal) with being able to provide the leads information at that point in the request process? Speaking of conversation starter questions there are too many in my opinion. If Promote is being used many of their questions should already be answered such as my price & availability. Two of the biggest questions right there are already answered without having a need to use a conversation starter question when they are looking at my profile. This is the only conversation starter question that would be needed after the leads done their due diligence in reviewing prices, profiles, etc. & have narrowed down their choices on who they are looking to hire: 

“I've read your profile & your reviews. I really like what I’ve read. Your reviews are awesome! I would love to speak to you further about my event. Please call me at (insert phone number here) or e-mail me at (insert e-mail address here). Thank you”. 

Then once we agree on a date & time to meet then I can address any questions & concerns at our meeting.

This seems to me like a simple enough process to implement. Let’s get it done already!

Thanks for listening!

Hankster 6/6/19

Community Expert

@Hankster 

I remember seeing all of your suggestions and still am baffled as to why we haven't seen/heard status on those as of yet, even the ones that I have suggested. Your idea of having less questions is great!! We need to know if a Job Poster is very serious or just searching. If a poster is just searching, there should be a button for that, and not to have us charged for searchers!!!

I have had some searchers reach out and I get charged but then I don't hear back even after replying to a conversation starter. I've mentioned  many times over about not being charged for such searchers, but seems to have fallen on deaf ears. I'm told to be patient and have faith, but how much more patience can we have?  I've also mentioned that we need to see Job Poster and event info, lead cost up front before deciding if that potential customer is a right fit for us. And then charge us after we reach out to Job Poster. After all, we know our business better than anyone, including Thumbtack. I may have repeated myself, but sometime I have to just to try and get my point across. Perhaps Thumbtack can combine our suggestions. I know that both of us, and any other DJs out there may want different things, but if we can combine the best ideas it will be a great. The same should hold true with any other job category. Not just implement one universal change and then trying to tweak it to appease other Pros.

Hope this makes sense @DustiO 

DJ Stevie 6-6-2019

 

Community Manager
Community Manager

@yourhouse @GrampysMagic @magicfingers @GeorgeH @rya @RevDrLCT @Kduroy @MR @ncnative @thediscountdj @TapSnap @Lar @Fairygodmother @WOfficiant @tlittlej @PattyB6 @Catering @Grat17 @SRE2018 @butch1956 @rasman211 @Av8tress you have all given us feedback regarding customer's phone numbers and we really appreciate it! Be sure to check out this post with more info on that, and of course, let us know what you think! 

Community Newcomer
?
Community Expert

@ncnative did you have a question about this?

Community Veteran

@DustiO  We hear you. As I got to #3 I read it very carefully. It sure is a good one. Let's look at every word. With a goal of understanding, this sounds more like an exercise in thinking about a problem and not really taking action. While the Status "In Developement"  was used, it would be good to know the name of this development project so that we may discuss it and contribute our thoughts to it. How many other suggestions will be rolled into this development project? How long will this take? Should we put our profile into sleep mode while we wait? What would you do if you had customers travel to your place of business? And what if Thumbtack never gains a full understanding of all the factors? If the past ten years in this business was not enough time, what will it take?

Maybe this is another project where a complete understanding will impeed progress and Thumbtack should just act on what it knows already. "Understanding all the factors" may mean this project will never get done. And that would make me sad.

  1.  More control over how far customers travel to me for jobs

Status: in development

Our goal is to understand all the factors pros consider to determine whether they want a job. Many pros have found customers who live farther out won't hire them, so they’re not as interested in those jobs. Now we’re working on giving you more control over the leads you get, including which customers travel to you.

Community Veteran

@Meckell  When you wrote: "Be sure to check out this post with more info on that, and of course, let us know what you think!" Did you mean to insert a link to a post, or were you indicating that we should follow this post that we are discusing right now?

I would like to add a thought on what @Hankster wrote. If there are two questions about whether a Job Poster is just checking prices or they really intend to hire the right Pro, They should not be allowed to reach out to a Pro just to get pricing. Unless there are particular Services that can only be quoted as a custom quote, there is already a way to get pricing for most if not all services right? The job poster who is doing tire kicking should never cost us any money. And at the very least they should be limited to a fixed number of contacts to get that pricing.

If the Job Posters say that they are ready to hire, let them reach out to a set limit of five Pros. No more than five. The stories of 17 to 28 Pros who were contacted is a sign of greed on the part of Thumbtack.

Yes, I have suggested this in the past, but Thumbtack will not confirm that they have heard me, so here goes:

SUGGESTION: If the JOB POSTER wish to go over their set limit and would like more pricing, require that they de-select any one of the previously contacted Pros. Then that Pro gets an automatic refund from TT. Thumbtack is happy and the Pros have a fixed amount of risk of not being selected. I think 1 in 5 is the most risk I want to take. Tell the customers why they can no longer contact any deselected Pro.

Community Veteran

@DustiO  I am moving on to #4.

  1. Allow reviews only if the customer hired you

Status: evaluating options

We understand it can be frustrating to receive a review when you weren’t even hired. We want to allow customers to share their thoughts on their experience with a pro, even if they decide to go a different direction. Their experience is still valid and might be useful for future customers to know.

Just remember, customers can’t leave a review if they don’t have a conversation with you. Once you have a conversation and you’ve started interacting, then they can leave a review. With that, we don't always know when pros actually get hired by customers. That’s something we’re working towards and will also tie into when customers will be able to leave reviews in the future.

Let me suggest a really out of the box option for consideration by Thumbtack.

Suggestion: "Let there be five types of reviews." (Stretch your imagination just a little and read on.)

A) The current concept of a review is a "Review of a Finished Job." for this best of all worlds, Thumbtack got paid; The Job got done, and the Pro got paid. Then the Job Poster reviews the work.

B) The Job Poster wishes to review their interaction with a Pro that they did not hire and allow these to be carefully MODERATED to prevent unwarranted situations from getting out of hand. The critical detail here is MODERATION.

C) The Job Poster writes a review about a job that did not happen as if it actually took place. This review SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN because it is FALSE. Just delete it. They may have written it about a different Pro on a different job. TT should find the truth and fix it.

D) A review by the Job Poster of the the entire Thumbtack process. Yes this is where they review Thumbtack, not the Pro and not the job. Long overdue. Why make them do this with the BBB?

E) A review by the Pro of the way Thumbtack handled the entire transaction. Yes, I said let the Pros leave reviews of the job Thumbtack is doing for any specific job where the public can read it.

Community Newcomer

#4 in the post is not accurate. There appears to be a bug where customers can leave a review when you have declined their lead initially. They just have to update on their end that they hired you. I believe this is initiated on the customer end by an email inquiry about the status of their job and then once they indicate that they hired a provider they are able to leave a review. This was a bug identified in May so may not have made it to the folks writing this newsletter.

Community Expert

@aai-sanantonio correct, customers will not be able to leave a review in instances where there was no conversation with a customer, like if you've declined their lead. If this does happen to you let us know and we'll look into the situation with you. 

Community Veteran

Time to move on to #5.

  1. Read receipts (so you know when customers view your messages)

Status: evaluating options

We want to give you clear signals once a customer responds to you. In the past, you used to know when a customer viewed your quote on Thumbtack. But Thumbtack has changed a lot since then. We want you to focus on the customers you are having conversations with.

While you can still send a quote to a customer (from the Jobs tab), the customers with the most potential are the ones who contact you or reply to your quote. Those customers are in your Inbox.

There are multiple ways to provide clearer signals once a customer has responded, and a "read receipt" is one option we're considering.

Again, "multiple ways to provide clearer signals" is not what the Pros asked for. Please return to the list of suggestions from the Pros. The Pros did not say: "Give me a lot of unspecified ways to evaluate the risk of sending a followup message that will be viewed by the Job Poster as anoying."

The request was simple and clearly written. "Return a feature that we found valuable in the past."

SUGGESTION: Please allow the Pros to know when or even if the Job Poster has read our initial quote. We know you can do this because you had done it in the past. And this is not about knowing what is happening after we have heard from the Job Poster initially. Also, we did not ask for Thumbtack to tell us that we should "...focus on the customers we are having conversations with." We know how to have conversations. It is the silent customers that we need more information about. We need a read receipt, please. Not Options.

Community Expert
@HansenJC
I commented on @Hankster comment on read receipt in this thread. So not to repeat myself, I wanted to say that this is excellent expansion on read receipts. It IS something that should not have gone away, and we do need it back, not options.

DJ Stevie 6-13-2019
Community Veteran

The suggestion box is a black hole in more than one sense.

When a pro makes a suggestion, no other pro knows about it. Pros must come here to the Community to post it a second time in order to gain a consensus or discuss the merits or nuances of the suggestion.

We never get any acknowledgement from Thumbtack that the suggestion was received.

Once we have submitted the suggestion, we cannot even read it ourselves. It is gone forever in an untraceable state.

The character count limitation for a suggestion is too short to be a robust communication tool. (We know this because Thumbtack created to the TackMaster program to overcome that limitation.)

We do not know who at Thumbtack actually assigns the topics for grouping of suggestions nor what team is looking at this suggestion. The anonymity of the team(s) diminishes trust and the community moderators are challenged in their efforts to stop the freefall of trust. Pros get the feeling that all teams are tasked only with monitizing every click of the mouse rather than improving the functionality of the program or the interaction between Pros and Job Posters.

Increasing the number of hires per request is not even considered by Thumbtack. If it were of significance, it would be measured and reported.

Community Regular

I agree 100% with this. Everytime i have spoken to customer service they tell me that my feedback is being forward to their sales team. I'm tired of paying for leads and notice that the customer has requested every pro in my area for an estimate. This forces every pro to either accept the charge immediately or lose out on the lead entirely. Once the lead is paid for and you send them a quote it makes it more fun when they don't respond or they ask a single question and then leave it at that. It feels like I just ordered something online and when the box got to my house there was nothing in it except a note that said sorry no refunds or returns. 

I have always said that TT needs to make the customers pay for quotes and then charge the pros a small comission based on the final agreed upon price. 

Community Expert

@Knightmagic 

Great suggestion in having the "customer" pay for the quote, and charge the Pros a small commision based on final agreed. This will eliminate, or at least, possibly minimize the ghosting, and show the Pros that there are serious potential customers out there. As it stands now, majority of the "customers" aren't serious, they are more than click happy and searching for pricing. So why charge us if they are just price searching.

DJ Stevie 6-17-2019

Community Regular
It could go without saying that TT could just create their own fake "leads" just to increase revenue for the short run. It bothers me so much with all these changes.
Community Veteran

This is a great analogy you provided @Knightmagic  'It feels like I just ordered something online and when the box got to my house there was nothing in it except a note that said sorry no refunds or returns'. I'll add one caveat. When you open that box in addition you will also see a name of the lead. No phone number or e-mail address of that lead. Just their name. That's how the lead system with Thumbtack has been for 10 years now!. The suggestion to provide a leads phone number & e-mail address has been suggested by many of us service pros over the years. It's in the virtual 'suggestion box' & of course the approrpiate team is looking into this. It's a matter now of whether Thumbtack wants to pull that suggestion out of the box & finally implement it.

Community Veteran

How about a tiered price structure for all leads?

example:

1) Job post with no contact info costs 2.5% of the project's expected return $

2) Job post with phone#, all filters filled out but no message box preferences. Cost: 7.5% of the project's expected return $

3) Job post with phone#, email address, and completly filld out lead with message box stating preferences. Cost: 12.5% of the project's expected return.

Ghosts: 0% Cost. Not our job to fix that problem; we already paid for the viable leads. 

Now THAT would convince us that TT is working alongside us and promotes our prosperity.

Community Regular
Good start except one major problem. I'm a contractor and TT has ZERO chance of guessing what a job will make. If you sent estimates without looking at a job personally, you'd be out of business in a few months from losses or no clientele from having to over.charge. This isn't true for all trades of course, for example DJs, drum lessons, thing that are pretty straightforward and have few variables. Contracting....nope
Moderator
Moderator

@ChefOfAllSeason Thanks for sharing your suggestions for a tiered pricing structure. I'll be sure to pass them along. @Grat17 is right in the fact that what works for one business might not always work for others. This is a great sentiment to keep in mind. While we always love to take in your great ideas, feedback, and suggestions, not everything is going to be able to be applied across the board. 

Community Veteran

@Grat 17- I agree with you 100%. There are at least 4 times as many variables in my profession than are provided by the current JP template. Additionally, the way they are categorized discourages customer interest in TT. Catering is listed as “Weddings and Events”. Everyone knows that weddings are the most expensive of all events. “Bridal / Baby Shower “are the same option. When I see that and the JP did not take a minute to add further info in the message box, I pass. “Birthday/Anniversary” is another one. Presenting a method of contact with professionals this vague in no way improves the customer experience. Serious customers above all want to tell their story. If all they bother to do is click a few generalized options, I move on. One thing that all trades and professions agree on: we do not want to spend full price for a ghosted lead.

Community Veteran
  1.  
     
    Don’t charge when customers are unresponsive

Status: in development

Never hearing back from a customer can be discouraging and we understand how those leads can feel frustrating. We're working on this one — we know it's important to you and we want to get it right. While we can't share specific details on how we're making improvements, we hope to share more news on this soon.

In the meantime, we encourage you to brush up on our tips for crafting a great response to customers. They’re much more likely to respond when you send a great response. And no, “call me” doesn’t cut it.

This was posted 2 months ago as of yesterday. Any developments yet?

 
 
 
About the Author
I have managed the construction of 1,000 home around the Chicago area.