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.
When we say “ set your targeting preferences ” it means “ tell us what kinds of leads you’ll be happy to pay for automatically. ” Those are leads in the right place, at the right time, and doing the right kind of work.
When pros call support telling us they just auto-paid for a lead that was too far away or for a job that wasn’t really their specialty, the first thing we do is have the pro take a look at their preferences and make sure they accurately reflect what that pro is willing to pay for.
So let’s start from the top. Thumbtack understands who you are and what you want through your profile and preferences.
When you make a profile, you tell us who you are. For example, you say:
I’m a tutor.
I’m located in San Francisco.
I teach Spanish.
With that info, we can start showing you to customers. We won’t show your business to people in Los Angeles or to people looking for French tutors, but anyone looking for Spanish tutors in the greater San Francisco area might find your business in their search results and contact you.
The challenge is that with just your profile we don’t know everything about the jobs you want most. We’re missing the details:
You don’t work weekends.
You’ll travel to Daly City but not Oakland.
You only teach kids, not adults.
We don’t want Oakland-based adult students looking for weekend classes to contact you. That would be a waste of time for them and for you.
The best way to avoid that is with targeting preferences. You go to your Services tab , promote yourself, and spend some time filling in the blanks. That’s how you tell us the locations, times and jobs you’re most interested in.
That’s also how you tell us which leads you’re ok automatically paying for.
So if you’re a Spanish tutor mostly looking for jobs in San Francisco and cities south of San Francisco, your location preferences would look like this:
If you prefer not to work weekends, your timing preferences would look like this:
And if you only teach kids, your job preferences would look like this:
Once you set that up, you’ll start targeting those kinds of customers — we’ll try to get as many of them to you as possible. And if a customer who’s a bullseye for all these preferences contacts you, then you’ll auto-pay for that lead and get 20% off.
If your preferences are all cleaned up and if everything works right, then you only auto-pay for jobs you would have happily paid for anyway. If a job comes in that doesn’t hit all your targets, you can look at it and decide whether you want to pay for it or not.
Have a question about what you should do with your preferences? Ask below.
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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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