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Re: Ghosting - No responses

Active Community Member
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Dear TT Employee,
Please DO NOT RESPOND with https://community.thumbtack.com/t5/Pro-tips/What-to-do-if-a-customer-ghosts-you/bc-p/20698#M369
I've seen it, Move on??? Thats not helpful. I'm wasting my money, move on is not an option.
MMM

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Re: Ghosting - No responses

Community Expert
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@MMM_Memories I'm sorry to hear that you have been having trouble in getting customers to respond. I took a look through your account to see if there was anything that could possibly be done to help with this. Your profile, reviews, and photos are all so great and truly reflect your top pro status. It looks like your response time can be a bit behind at times, as I'm seeing it averaging at about 6 hours in the last 30 days. Working to get this time lower I think could really be a big help as we've seen when compared to responding 2 hours or more later,  pros who respond within the first 5 minutes see that customers are 50% more likely to respond, and 20% more likely within the first hour. 

Give me a 'Kudo' if you find this post helpful or mark 'Best Answer' if it answers your question.
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Current changes on Thumbtack

Community Newcomer
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I joined Thumbtack in 2006 as a Specialty Candies and Cakes Shop
Things then were OK and many changes have been put in place by Thumbtack to better profitability for Thumbtack. I'm all for bettering your marketability and profits, but it seems as of late, that Thumbtack has forgotten how their money is made. I feel like I personally have to remind them that "The Professionals" here on Thumbtack are what generates Thumbtacks cash flow.
So I have been forced to consider whether spending money here with less than adequate Leads/Hires that are legitimate. Many "Leads/Hires" are actually a dead end with not even as much as a simple reply for the fee I paid for the"Lead".
Personally I think Thumbtacks current platform is not working for us the professionals here on Thumbtack. 

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Re: Ghosting - No responses

Community Newcomer
Best Answer
YES!!!!
Even after follow up, none of them reply!! It was never like this before,there were few people yesss but this is almost all of them 😞 I start to wonder, did they even receive our quote. We couldn’t even see now if the have seen our quotes or no.
It’s getting frustrated especially when I use this platform a lot and been with them since the beginning. We got charged a lot more than before but getting nothing
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Ghostbusters

Community Veteran
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Marco said in his recent Q&A in a response question about ghost leads...

  • I only want to charge you guys for leads that are worth your time and money. If I’m sending you something and you’re looking at it saying ‘not worth my time, not worth my money’ we haven’t done our jobs right. I acknowledge that we have a challenge where there are clients who come in and never respond, never engage back, which is incredibly frustrating , and there’s the cost aspect which is certainly annoying but it’s the pain of having done the work and sent the message and then not getting anything back and having that burden completely on you. So we are working really hard right now to mitigate this problem, to avoid you having to waste your time and money on things that you have no shot of winning. That’s not how we’re trying to make our fees; that’s not what we think you should be investing your money in, so it’s something we are working very hard on.
    Marco Zappacosta, Thumbtack CEO, Thursday March 21, 2019

 

I’m glad that Marco acknowledged that this is a real problem for Pros; we’ll wait and see what Thumbtack end up doing to deal with this long-standing issue.

In the meantime I’d like to suggest a simple change that may go some way towards keeping the ghosts at bay, not all of them, but hopefully enough to make a tangible difference to Pros who pay for them and have to deal with them day in and day out.

One of the explanations/reasons given by Thumbtack for why they introduced Search/Promote is that it assures me as Pro that the lead is interested in talking to ME.

I agree that they are interested to an extent. After all the lead explicitly clicked on MY profile after seeing me in a Search and then chose to reach out to me by either...

  1. Clicking a button that says "Message"
  2. Clicking a button that says "Request a Call"
  3. Clicking a button that says "Check availability"

...and further, they then took the time to enter details about their job as well as providing their email address, name and optionally their telephone number. All of that suggests interest on the part of the lead ... an unquantifiable level interest, but interest nonetheless. 

That's all well and good but I don’t want someone reaching out to me who has an unquantifiable level of interest.

I want leads to reach out to me when their level of interest is so high that they honestly and genuinely want to have an actual CONVERSATION with me with the purpose of potentially hiring me.

A ghost is a lead who (for whatever reason) doesn’t really want to talk to a Pro. If a ghost reaches out to me it is extremely unlikely that they are going to hire me, how can they want to hire me when they don’t want to talk?

When I pay for a lead I’m doing it because I expect and NEED to have a conversation with that lead. Every time I pay for a lead and I end up NOT having a conversation I've just wasted my money on a ghost – when that happens Thumbtack has failed me.

What are the lead's expectations?

When a lead clicks the ‘Check Availability’ button what are they expecting to happen? Why are they clicking that button?

Well they want to ‘Check my Availabilty’ obviously BUT that doesn’t necessarily mean that they want to have a conversation or even talk to me.

When a lead decides to click the ‘Check Availability’ button they really have no idea that I (the Pro) expect them to have a conversation. For the lead there is no indication that’s what will happen though, it’s just a button that says, ‘Check Availability’. A ghost (someone who doesn’t want to talk to me) could legitimately click that button anticipating that a calendar will pop up or something so that they can ‘check my availability’. Maybe the ghost just wants to see how busy I am, maybe they want to see if I'm available on a particular set of dates, who knows. 

Most of my leads start with, ‘When are you available?’ – very few start with ‘What time works for a call?’ or a ‘Message’. I think that’s because 'request a call' and 'message' are indicative of having a conversation. Ghosts don’t want to talk they only want to look and find stuff out which is why the ‘Check Availability’ button is clicked much more often.

I think most ghosts are accidental ghosts. The click the 'Check Availability' button and have no expectation of having a conversation. When the Pro replies back to them and tries to engage that's the last thing the ghost wants to see. They don't want to talk, so guess what, they don't.

Thumbtack, Marco, please remove the 'Check Availability' button. It's unnecessary and I believe it is causing Pros to waste money on leads who really don’t want to talk to them.

The 'Message' button doesn't have any explicit meaning either. Message who? Message Laurence? Message Thumbtack? Remember, I NEED my lead to have a CONVERSATION me. They need to know that when they click that button they will be expected to engage in a conversation to me - not a 'Message' – that’s not a conversation.

Now, if the 'Message' button said 'Chat with Laurence' THEN that would have signifiant meaning. The lead would know that by clicking that button they will be having a CHAT, an actual conversation. Not just a CHAT though, the button explicitly says a 'Chat with Laurence' which makes it personal, they’re going to be having a chat with ME. The lead knows that by clicking that button they should expect (just as I expect) to engage in a proper back and forth CONVERSATION. The lead knows that clicking that button will require a committment from them to converse.

If the button merely said 'Chat' it would be somewhat ambiguous and have less meaning. Chat with who? Chat with Laurence? Chat with someone at Thumbtack? That's why the button should say 'Chat with Laurence' - it's an explicit action and it's denotes a personal interaction with ME.

After hitting the 'Chat with' button the lead would enter their details as normal. However, I firmly believe that requiring the lead to enter ‘additional information’ about their job is an absolute must; at present entering 'additional information' is optional for the lead.

If the lead has a sincere and genuine interest in having a 'Chat with Laurence' then they should have no problem whatsoever outlining in brief what they want to chat about and indeed be eager to provide additional details about their job that will help ME get a clear idea of what they want and kickstart a proper conversation. If you really want to hire someone then you'd want the person you want to hire to know precisely what you want to hire them for wouldn't you?

If a lead doesn't want to enter ‘additional information’ then that tells me that they either don't really know what they want, or that they can't be bothered to tell me what they want. Either one is a red flag and calls into question the sincerity and desire of the lead to actually hire anybody on Thumbtack let alone me. If the lead stops at the point where they find they are required to enter ‘additional information’ to continue then it’s their loss not mine. If they can’t articulate in a few words what they want then they probably wouldn’t hire me anyway.

I said I'd get back to the 'Request a Call' button. Please change that to ‘Request a Call from Laurence’ – it makes it personal. At present ‘Request a Call’ could mean request a call from the Pro or in some rarer cases the lead may presume that it means request a call from Thumbtack.

If I get a 'Request a Call' lead I briefly reply thanking the lead for their interest and I end by asking, 'What's the best number to reach you on? If the lead doesn't reply (i.e.they ghost me) then I will legitimately request a refund. Remember, the lead requested that I call them, I asked for their number, the lead never replied to me which in no uncertain terms tells me that they don't want to give me their number. If they don’t want to give me their number then I can’t call them which negates the whole purpose of their initial request. It is unreasonable to charge me if the lead says they want me to call them but then refuses to give me their number.

 And here’s a new button for you.

‘Hire Laurence’

Which is the whole point of me (or any Pro) using Thumbtack; I want EVERY lead I spend money on to hire me. That’s not going to happen obviously but if a lead presses the ‘Hire Laurence’ button then I know there is the absolute highest level of interest from the lead. **bleep** right I want to pay for that lead!

The ‘Hire Laurence’ button is right there front and center a crystal clear reminder of why the lead should be looking at my profile at that very moment and why my profile is there on Thumbtack in the first place – it’s there because people hire me to do the stuff I do.

The ‘Hire Laurence’ button would behave just like the ‘Chat with Laurence’ button. When the lead ends up in my Inbox the message pane would say ‘Mike wants to hire you’ followed by whatever ‘additional information’ Mike entered when he entered his job details.

Ghosts don’t want to talk. I’m not going to get hired by someone who doesn’t want to talk to me. Having buttons that strongly suggest that clicking those buttons will result in the lead having to engage in a conversation should dissuade a lot ghosts from clicking them.

I really do think that a simple rewording of the ‘Conversation Starter’ buttons would go a long way towards warding off enough of the ghosts to make the Pros experience of Thumbtack better than it currently is.

Regards,
Laurence

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Re: Ghostbusters

Community Veteran
Best Answer

Excellent post!

I will also add that I have had promote leads come through asking "Why are you the right person for this job?"

Where does that come from??? I have yet to see where the system has that as a canned inquiry.

If its not part of TT, the fact that I have gotten so many of those really leads me to believe I am being spammed.

 

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Re: Ghostbusters

Community Expert
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@MR 

What kind of a question is that? And who decides what questions are needed for conversation starters? If customers are searching for us AND read our entire profile, they should know if we are the right person for the job.

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Re: Ghostbusters

Community Veteran
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@DJStevie   Exactly.  And that's why I have asked if this question is being generated by the TT system or something else.

Please TT, @Kameron , chime in on this one.

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Re: Ghostbusters

Community Expert
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@MR I've been looking into this one this morning and will get back to you when I have more to share as to when that question is sent to a pro.

Give me a 'Kudo' if you find this post helpful or mark 'Best Answer' if it answers your question.
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Re: Ghostbusters

Community Veteran
Best Answer

The issue with these 'Conversation starters' like ... 'Check availabilty' or 'What's your estimate' or 'What makes you the right person for the job?' they are impersonal, detached and indifferent. They say nothing to the Pro about who the lead is, the job they want done or the level of desire they have to hire the Pro. Do people looking to hire a Pro start a conversations like that in the real world? No they don't.

The 'Conversation Starter' buttons are 'click bait' for leads and encourage ghostly behaviour by allowing ghosts a simple and direct way to ask Pros a question without showing any willingness to engage in a proper conversation with the Pro.

In the real world the lead would introduce themselves to the Pro, explain in brief what they want from the Pro and THEN they'd ask a question of the Pro. If Thumbtack want to discourage ghosts then the platform needs to allow for Pros and leads to have conversations more like they would do in the real world.

You don't start a conversation in the real world with, "What's your availabity" or "What's you estimate" or "What makes you the best person for the job". Please don't ask me questions like that unless you're prepared to at introduce yourself properly to me and explain briefly in your own words what job you want to hire me for. I'll be happy to answer those your questions once I know who you are, what you want and whether or not you are talking to me with a view to hiring me.

Regards,
Laurence.