In Marco's Q&A yesterday one of the questioners mentioned (and I'm paraphrasing) that the quality of leads they were paying Thumbtack for was poor and that some leads weren't even responding at all (i.e. ghosts).
Marco's response seemed to accept that Thumbtack needed to do a better job of getting us the leads that we want and that when that doesn't happen Thumbtack should make good so that we don't feel taken advantage of.
My question is this.
What is Thumbtack's refund policy regarding Promoted leads who simply don't respond. Will Thumbtack make good and issue a refund after a period of time if the Pro has made a reasonable effort to reach out to the lead but never received any reply.
Here's a typical example:
A promoted lead comes in, 'What's you availability'. I get charged automatically. I respond promptly to the lead saying that I am available on the date requested and I give them my initial pitch to generate interest and begin a discussion.
Two days go by. No reply from the lead. I send my first follow up.
Another two days go by. No reply from the lead. I send a second follow up.
Another three days go by. No reply from the lead. I send a third follow up.
The promoted lead I paid for is clearly unresponsive. Marco said that Thumbtack would make good on leads like this.
Can I request a refund for unresponsive promoted lead? If not, why not?
Lars, I'm with you. Ghosting is just a fact of life (I've got three in my inbox as we speak) and I don't believe anyone's fault - people get busy, people get distracted, etc. I'm very hopeful TT will soon start sharing risk and refunding (or crediting) Pros when customers reach out but then don't engage with any Pros.
I too have been ghosted. Youre not going to see any refunding from Thumbtack. Its their business to make money so too bad that we get ghosted. If they had any empathy (which they dont) they can see it as a business point of view. I wish they would hire me as chief customer service manager then I would make changes and in turn create Thumbtack as a source all pros can go to for gigs. But like I said, their bottom line is to make money at any cost.
@Me2 This is why I have asked on numerous occasions in the last few weeks if they can bring back the read receipts... at least that way we can determine if we are being actively ignored or just that the lead never goes back to the system to see if the pros sent a note.
To date, there has been no response. But honestly, I cannot figure out how there is a legitimate downside to TT in bringing this back to the pros.
@Lar Are you giving the customer a quote in your initial response? I would ask them one more question before giving them a quote. TTs argument is going to be that you scared them away with your price. That's why they ghosted you. If you ask them a question to get a better understanding of the project and then they stop responding, I think you would have a better case for a refund.
Before Thumbtack introduced 'Instant Match' last year I used to submit a quote upfront. When Thumbtack introduced Instant Match (which morphed into Promote later in 2018) I tend not to quote a fee in my initial follow up.
Every lead is different of course but as an example, when responding to a 'When are you available?' request I might respond with.
Hi Stephen, thanks for reaching out to me. I would be delighted to entertain you and your clients at your corporate get together in Orlando this June . My 'mix-and-mingle' performance usually works best for corporate events but if you're having a formal dinner then my 'parlor show' might be a better fit because I'll be able to incorporate some of your company messaging in the show. Which works best for you?
Hi Yvonne, thanks for reaching out to me. I would be delighted to entertain your daughter and her fiancee (and their guests) at the engagement party you are planning for them on August 20th. Would it be OK if I did something a bit 'extra special' at the end from my 'parlor show' especially for the happy couple that would make it really memorable for them?
My initial follow up to the lead is deliberately brief, I'm starting a conversation. My tone suggests that I have every expectation that they will hire me and that I am already thinking about how I would tailor my performance specifically with them in mind. If I can get the lead to think, 'that sounds like a good idea' then they are starting to think about hiring ME and not just any magician. I end with a simple direct question (intended to promote further conversation). If the lead's request is genuine and their desire to hire someone is sincere then I've given them every reason to reply to me.
@Lar Marco's response did acknowledge that this is something we're aware of and that were diligently working towards finding solutions. Our current refund policy remains the same and lists when pros should inquire about a refund. I'll add for other pros, that we've seen that customers rate of response is much higher when a pros review count is high and their response rate is within the first 5-30 minutes as opposed to after the first 1 to 2 hours.
I checked to see that your written responses are well written and that your response rate is in a great place sitting at about 20 minutes on average. We've seen that pros with your profile level and response rate while promoting have been seeing that the customers that don't respond are worth it in comparison to the ones that eventually hire. I'm hoping that things will turn around for you soon and that we can come up with a way to solve for these.
Thanks for your reply Kameron, I appreciate it.
I did check out the 'refund policy' previously, in brief it says the following...
We’re here to help. If you paid for a lead in one of the following situations, dispute the charge. We’ll review the lead to see if it qualifies for a refund.
Yet, when you dispute a charge you are presented with a list of these options...
Note, that although 'Customer stopped responding' is listed as an option when 'disputing a charge' it is not listed in your 'refund policy'. Other options like 'Questionable job' and 'Job doesn't match my preferences' also don't appear in your refund policy.
This is contradictory and confusing. On the one hand we are told by that refunds are considered persuant to Thumbtack's refund policy. On the other hand we are allowed to dispute a charge because a 'Customer stopped responding' but that isn't mentioned in your refund policy.
It is entirely possible that if I or any other Pro dispute a charge because the 'Customer stopped responding' Thumbtack's may decline the refund request by simply saying, 'I'm sorry but that reason isn't in our refund policy'.
Marco in his Q&A said that he doesn't want us to waste our time and money on leads that don't respond. It's nice of him to say that but is that true or not? If it is true then 'Customer stopped responding' and all the other options listed when we choose to 'dispute a charge' should be explained fully in your 'refund policy'.
If I dispute a charge and select 'Customer stopped responding' will the dispute it be declined because 'Customer stopped responding' isn't mentioned in your 'refund policy'?
Kameron, could you obtain some clarification from either Marco or your refund department on this please?