Since the release of the Live functionality in 2016, we’ve received tons of feedback on the product. We’ve had several projects over the past year aimed at improving both the customer and consultant experience, including: layout revamps, flexibility in time purchases, giving consultants more control over their pay rate, the topics they assist in, and office hours, while also providing greater accessibility to the product around the site.
That being said, we understand there are still areas where we can improve, and one of our teams has started working on a set of projects to address what we’ve identified as our top issues:
- The time addition and expiration system can be hard for clients to understand.
- Consultants would like more control and alerts related to conversation time to ensure both consultant and client have good experiences.
- Payment for work in Live prohibits some users from participating as consultants, e.g., job or certification conflicts, level of familiarity with the product, not having a PayPal account, etc.
The first project focuses on issues with earning cash by allowing consultants to help members with Premium access for points. The general concept is that interested experts (consultants) would be able to assist on Live for points instead of cash. These consultants would be exempt from the additional legal agreements associated with Live, and would not be required to link their PayPal account for payouts. Only clients with Premium access, who are generally more engaged, would be able to reach out to this subset of consultants. We would then award these consultants with points. Allowing consultants to review help requests before accepting, and having the option to deny requests, would remain in this experience. The moderator team will have access to point-based conversation transcripts to ensure interactions and outcomes are above board. During this initial phase, consultants will not be able to switch between points and cash compensation.
Our second project will tackle the introductory period and timer system improvements. We’re still finessing concepts with the help of the Community Advisory Team and the Moderators, but we do have some basic concepts defined. We believe providing a more flexible interface for the introductory period of a conversation and allowing the transition for providing help to be initiated by either the consultant or client will deliver more effective interactions. For paid conversations, we’d like to place the time selection into the consultant’s hands since they know best what they will need to help the client. We’ll also look at the design of the timer and how it looks/responds when a session is nearing—or has reached—the end of its purchased time. Finally, we’ll expand the consultant compensation system to switch between earning points or cash and add a state where they can earn both. While in this state, conversations with members with Premium access will be point-based for the first 15 minutes of help time. After that, consultants can transition to cash payments if they choose.
I realize most of you are not 100% familiar with the current workflow of Live, and recommend reading the consultant support article
if you have any general questions about how the product functions. If you’d like clarification on anything else, please let me know! For anyone who does participate in Live, I’d love to hear about your experiences and what you’d like to see in these projects based on their goals.
Thanks in advance for your time,