Hi. I'm Dina. I work and write for Thumbtack. Other interests include: reading, feeding my baby radishes, demanding that everyone know that my baby likes radishes, and considering and then declining exercise.
We looked at national data across all the services on Thumbtack and one thing is clear: Pros who reply to new leads in their inbox within 60 minutes are a lot more likely to get a response. Replying within 5 minutes is even better. But the longer you wait, the less likely you are to hear back.
And it makes sense, right? Customers came to Thumbtack looking for something done ASAP, they find you, get excited, reach out. And if they feel like you’re right there, eager to get started, they’re a lot more likely to choose you.
Other than making sure you’re getting notifications about new leads (emails and push notifications on your phone), there are a couple simple things you can do to make sure you’re moving as fast as possible:
Make some saved replies
If you often say the same thing to customers, you can now save those responses in the Thumbtack app and send them instantly.
Tap and hold any reply to save it for later and sort through all your saved replies by hitting this little icon in a chat.
Focus on your inbox
There’s a lot going on in the Thumbtack app. And we’ve noticed pros spending a lot of time in the Jobs tab. That’s where you can contact customers in case the first pro they picked falls through.
But the jobs in the Jobs tab are a bit of a long shot. The customers in your inbox have picked you specifically and are waiting for you right now. So make sure that’s where you spend your time — catch any new leads as they come in and get back to customers quickly if you’re in the middle of a conversation.
If you don’t want the lead, decline it. Fast.
That way we can tell the customer you’re not available and you can move on to the next lead. There’s no penalty for declining. It’s actually really helpful — for you and for us. If you decline a lot of similar leads, we’ll show you lower in search results for those kinds of jobs. And if you do it quickly, we’ll consider you a responsive pro and give you a rank boost in search results.
What works for you when you respond to customers? Tell us in the comments below.
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They contact you, then they disappear. So what can you do to get them back?
It’s so, so infuriating. A customer reaches out, you pay, you respond, then… nothing. Silence. You have no idea what went wrong. Maybe the customer hired a different pro, maybe they decided to do this project later, maybe their kid broke her leg and they’ve got bigger things to worry about right now. Whatever it is, we know it’s frustrating for you.
There’s no way to stop ghosting from happening completely, but there are a few things that can help.
1. Reply fast. And follow up.
The faster you get back to them, the more likely they are to respond. Try to reply within 5 minutes. And if you don’t hear back within 12 hours, try again. You can even try one more time the next day. Sales and marketing pros often point out that it often takes multiple "touches" for people to consider making a purchase. Not sure what to say? Keep reading.
2. Give them a reason to respond.
People are nervous about being "sold," so give customers a compelling reason to call or respond.
"I'm available to give an estimate right now." is good, but getting an estimate isn't a compelling reason to respond if I'm sitting on the fence. A better approach might be, "Hi again! You probably have a lot of questions about hiring someone for your event. I'm available to answer your questions right now if you have a few minutes."
3. Try giving quick pointers.
Customers don't know what they don't know, so use follow-ups to offer quick pointers that most "new" customers never consider, and then close with a call to action. For example: "Hi Bob! Did you know that how far away a moving van has to park from a property may affect the amount of time a move takes? That, and other "hidden" factors can impact the total cost of your move, and you deserve to know the cost up front. I'm happy to answer your questions, so give me a call!"
4. Leave them with a good impression. Just in case.
Some customers may not be ready to hire now, but they may be ready to hire later. Those customers often remember who took the time to follow-up and educate them and will reach out to that pro first.
5. If nothing works, move on.
It’s human nature to focus on the one that got away, but if you tried everything listed above and you still don’t hear back, it’s probably not worth it to keep trying. Your time is the most valuable thing you have and there’s no return on investment when you’re chasing an unresponsive customer for longer than a day or two. Get back to your inbox or the Jobs tab and win those jobs.
How did you win back a customer after they stopped responding? Share your tips in the comments below.
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