I hope this finds you well!
I was recently interviewed by the Institute of Directors on the Outsourcing Revolution. This conversation really captures the ethos of PeoplePerHour and the future of freelancing so please feel free to check it out if you haven’t yet. Moreover, this past month we have launched some exciting new developments and there are equally exciting changes still to come.
Firstly, we launched a new interface to allow Buyers & Sellers to communicate better. This was a major frustration for many users and a big change for us, so we have been taking in a lot of input from our users along the way.
Just some of the features that the new Inbox improves are:
– Easier filtering of messages by job status and/or job title
– More intuitive UI
– Responsive design so that it’s easier to use on mobile and tablets
The goal of this new interface is to allow Buyers to screen and award jobs faster and easier and to communicate with the Seller more efficiently. We’ve already had some great feedback, which we are acting on. So , thanks to those of you who care enough to send us feedback. If you would like to give us your feedback please click on “tell us what you think” just above your WorkStreams page.
Next on this chapter: A feature that many of you have requested; that is to allow you to organize your messages around people, so that you can build on your network and start jobs with them easier. Stay tuned!
2. Introducing Quality score in rankings – CERT
I mentioned in a previous post that we were working on an enhanced quality score for the ranking of Hourlies and freelancer profiles. Quality is what matters the most to PPH and that’s what sets us apart. Both in terms of having quality Sellers who are professional and reliable and quality Jobs provided by Buyers on the site. The classic ranking method that we have used so far has been heavily reliant on the feedback review system. This has now been enhanced so that quality has a more extended definition as represented by the four letters of the acronym CERT:
• Community: Community is at the heart of PPH. What the C in CERT measures is how one is engaged as a member of the community, looking after not just their own interests but that of the whole community. So for example how much one refers others to the site to help grow the community, how one is engaged in social commenting to help grade and curate great content, and how one creates great original content that is liked and shared by others on the site – be it their Portfolio, Hourlies imagery, copy, and profile completeness.
• Engagement: Time and time again we’ve seen that the journey to a result matters as much as the result itself. Buyers on our platform, like customers around the world, rate fast, timely responses, and recent activity higher than older activity. So the ‘E’ in CERT measures things like speed of response, timeliness of delivery, and how our users abide by the Rules of Engagement of the site; which in short means being professional and staying out of trouble, avoiding disputes, refunds, and anything that creates a negative experience for the Buyer as a general rule. The Buyer is, after all, your customer and whilst the customer isn’t always right, that should be the starting ethos in any professional relationship so as to keep customers happy.
• Repeat usage: Retaining a customer is the ultimate metric of success for any individual or business providing a service. Sellers who retain Buyers (for the same or a new job alike), will not only have higher earnings (which itself boosts CERT), but will get a magnified boost to their CERT score on top. So one dollar, pound, or euro retained is worth more than a new one and that is because it reflects on great service delivery.
• Trust: Authenticity validation via linking your Facebook or LinkedIn account is a good first step, followed by getting endorsements from past employers, and good reviews on PPH from work won on the site. To jump up faster you can import clients from outside of PPH and start working with them with Zero Commission fee.
The score of each adds up, in different weightings, to the overall CERT score. This is not to say that the feedback review system is abandoned, but simply that it’s enhanced by overlaying this quality metric on top.
Next on this chapter: We will be introducing a new dashboard which will show how you compare with your peers on PPH and offer you practical advice on what to do to improve your CERT score. The higher your score the higher up you rank and so the more work you win.
For now you can get some practical tips here.
3. New mobile releases to close the ‘loop’
The main difference in the latest version is that you can now complete the loop entirely working on your mobile app. Meaning you can accept Proposals and pay an invoice (or get paid) via the app, which previously could only be done on web.
So now you can start a Job, manage the Job, pay it and get paid all via our mobile app. You pretty much don’t need to go to the website at all.
Next on this chapter: We are introducing a new UI for our apps to simplify and make it easier to search and discover. We are also working on a more mobile friendly site, which will work better on tablets and mobiles phones outside of the native app experience.
4. Improving the quality of Jobs on the site
As I said above, focus on quality has and always will be what sets PPH apart. We don’t want to necessarily be the largest but we want to be the best. That means having the best quality freelancers and the best jobs on the site.
CERT is a big step forward in terms of rating quality as much as feedback, reviews, and billings on the site. And with the upcoming dashboard it will be a way to bring on board new talent quicker and easier on the site.
Equally we’ve made some big changes to our job posting forms this past month by introducing much more detailed questions specific to each category and subcategory. This alone has led to a 20% increase for jobs awarded in those categories. As it has significantly improved the quality of jobs we are now rolling this out to all categories.
Next on this chapter: We will be introducing an even more detailed posting form that allows Buyers to include things like interview questions, or for an extra fee, request some case studies from Sellers as part of the proposal. The aim here is to go deeper and allow better information capture that allows our freelancers to choose which jobs to bid on and to be able to send more detailed and more tailored proposals to win the job.
5. Move to big data
As the amount of data on our site is increasing, one chapter we are working on is to enhance the way we capture, tag, and organize that data so that we are able to serve users more relevant results. This is a big chapter we have been working on for some time now and we hope to have something meaningful out before the end of the year. The impact for our users is simply that any activity you perform on the site will be factored into an interest / skills graph that will allow us to perform multiple highly relevant actions on top. Like recommend relevant jobs, or conversely relevant freelancers to job posters.
This goes hand in hand with our quality focus. Across all touch points of the user experience we are going deeper and trying to improve the experience by allowing for more relevant discovery and matching. As marketplaces grow in volume this becomes more and more important so we are doubling to make sure we stay ahead of our growth.
As always, I am open and eager to hear from you, and to get your feedback and insight, so that together we can keep improving PeoplePerHour and the community it serves. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till next time,