In order to get customers several great quotes, we need to understand exactly what they need: the types of records they want a DJ to spin all night, the kinds of cleaning products they want cleaners to use in their home, the length of fence they want to install. And yet, professionals tell us that we don’t always ask customers the right questions before sending them requests: an interior design request is lacking the square footage of a client’s home, a tutoring request is missing the student’s age. At one point, Thumbtack’s wedding band request form looked like this:
Short and sweet? Certainly. Incredibly vague? Yes. Room for improvement? Definitely.
At Thumbtack HQ, we have a growing team dedicated to improving the request forms we show clients. We’re in the first phase of giving our request forms – for over 1,000 different types of services – a makeover, and today, we’d like to show you their five step process to taking request forms from drab to FAB.
Distill Customer Support suggestions
Each day, our Customer Support team receives dozens of request question suggestions from pros through a variety of sources: email, phone, social media, surveys, etc. These suggestions, which are carefully tagged by category, serve as the starting point for our request form team.
Analyze Suggested Questions
Often, when a pro receives a request with too little information, they send a Suggested Question to help determine if they’re right for the job (e.g. caterers have asked for more detail about event staffing needs, dog trainers have asked for more detailed information about a dog’s age and background). Our request form team combs through these questions by category to identify trends: what questions and answer choices are vital to helping a pro decide if they’re right qualified for a job? What key data points helped them decide to quote and, if so, for how much?
Read additional info from customers
At the end of our requests, we ask customers, “What else do you want the professional to know? Our team sifts through this data to understand th
e breadth of requests in a category, as well as the details they think are necessary to finding the perfect pro.
Research, research, research!
This is where our team reads everything there is to know about wedding entertainment/sodding installation/piano tutors/magicians/[insert one of our 1000+ long list of professional services here]. We scour trade association websites, dissect new client forms, research how service professionals put together quotes (and acquire lingo on the way!), and subscribe to and read industry magazines (Brides, This Old House, etc.).
Talk to Service Professionals
Once our team feels like they have a general idea about what’s important to pros in the category they’re working on, they review the details with pros – over the phone, in our offices – to make sure that our request forms address their needs.
So after all that? Well, this is what the wedding band form looks like now:
Recently, our team has revamped over 100 categories using the information we’ve unearthed by digging into suggestions sent to Customer Support, Suggested Questions and requests, in-depth research, and talking to pros. Using this strategy, our requests have gotten a whole lot more detailed, and the number of clarifying questions pros have asked has decreased – specifically, the number of Suggested Questions asked has decreased by 25%!
We hope to tackle every category in the coming months. And then – most likely – turn around and do the whole process over again. Stay tuned for more!