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New Seller Levels: Comprehensive Pros and Cons

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Hey, all! My name is Tucie because my mom, who ironically has her PHD in English, misspelled Lucie and I have been a successful 5 star seller on this platform for 2 years. I am a level two seller with all benchmarks met for TRS (even by old TRS standards). My trade is that I am a sales and business coach. Before my freelancing journey, I worked for corporate America for 5+ years. I was responsible for managing teams of 200+ people on a regional scale, managing product launches across dozens of location on behalf of billion dollar clients like Apple, Samsung, AT&T, and etc. Within my network, my office was #1 in sales across US and CA. That said, I'd like to offer my expertise my honest overview on this system.


1. Value for Money:
Coming from someone who is a sales expert with an extensive background in consumer psychology, this is quite literally the stupidest metric I've ever heard of.

VALUE Have you ever bought something that you thought was an awesome deal, but when you expressed excitement to a loved one about it, they told you that you got ripped off and/or were downright stupid for it? Why is it that you thought it was a bargain and they didn't? It's because price and value does not equate whatsoever. It's not even on the same page: they're totally different books. If a buyer has a bigger need for a service, then the buyer will value that service far more than a buyer who doesn't have a legitimate need for it. In my opinion, this metric is an absolute wildcard because it's judging a seller based on the initial severity of a buyer's needs. While I agree with the notion that it's up to the seller to ask the right kind of questions to better fit the needs of the buyer, this metric is operating with the understanding that the buyer (1) knows what their needs are and (2) have an understanding of the seller's work. To put it plainly, a buyer that is looking to outsource some of their personal workload onto a freelancer is likely to give clear instruction, leaving little room for seeing the value in the service because it's a job that they can do themselves. On the flipside, if it's a buyer who needs something entirely reframed or created from scratch, they will struggle to see the value in the work because simply because they don't have anything to compare the value to.

So for example, a primary reason I have to book consultations before onboarding new clients is because my clients come in with wild expectations regarding the work and the cost. At the present moment, my best performing gig is cold calling. When I break the news to the buyer that our average is 3-4 appointments set per 50, there are two reactions: (1) "That's it?" and (2) "Holy cow! That's awesome!" 

  • The buyer who says "That's it?" reacts that way not because they don't see the value in what I do, but because they don't have anything to compare it to. They're uneducated about the process and my job during the consultation is to make that expectation clear.
  • The buyer who says "Holy cow! That's awesome!" is the buyer that's experienced and is looking to outsource their workload; but if the results do not match the quality of their own work, then their outlook of the service's value quickly plumets; and it's not because the seller failed to ask the right questions, but because buyers expect sellers to be them. By default, an experienced buyer will always know more about their business than the seller because that's simply the buyer's field of expertise. 

In either scenario, it's unfair to judge seller's based on metrics that they cannot control. At the end of the day, all a seller can do is ask the right questions and provide effective communication; and even if a seller does absolutely everything right, they cannot force a buyer into seeing the value of their work. My solution is changing this metric back to "recommend to a friend," because if a buyer didn't value the service, they wouldn't recommend it.

MONEY Sellers have to pay a 20% service charge, save 30-40+% in taxes depending on their residing country, and then account for any additional expenses that are required to perform the service. Meaning, sellers in higher cost of living countries like US/UK have to charge buyers double the rate. If a buyer has actually taken the time to compare prices on other platforms like Upwork or have spoken to freelancers/companies that invoice buyers directly, then the buyer will believe by default that prices for legitimate professional services on Fiverr are expensive. It's hard enough being a seller on this platform without Fiverr judging sellers for their price points. 

And if I'm being brutally honest, and this is just my personal opinion based on my own experience, I have to charge a little extra to make up for any unexpected cancelled orders because I do not feel protected by customer support as a seller on this platform. Though the support agents are always professional and kind, Fiverr's policies are so buyer centric that I have never had the support when I needed it.

Quite frankly, other than the fear of being banned, there's no incentive for sellers to keep buyers on the platform. If this "value for money" metric does not change, then it's truer now more than it ever was. Implementing a structure similar to Upwork where the service fee is lowered when specific metrics that met and are encouraged based on the frequency of working with the same client over a period of time would be an ideal solution, but I highly doubt that Fiverr will ever make that transition.


2. Client Satisfaction

PRIVATE REVIEWS Fiverr prompts buyer's to leave a private review after you've left a buyer a review. These private reviews hold more weight than the public reviews. With that in mind, you never want to leave an honest review on a buyer's profile. From a seller's perspective, you don't want a buyer to leave a negative private review that's stemmed from vindictiveness. From Fiverr's perspective, they expect you to treat your profile as it's your own business (because it is); and in business, it's never a good idea to burn your bridges. That and if a buyer gets enough bad reviews, no seller is going to want to work with them, which ultimately hurts Fiverr's profits: I wouldn't be surprised if rating buyers negatively is an internal factor.

WHY PRIVATE REVIEWS ARE A NECESSITY As apart of my onboarding process, I require buyers to undergo a mandatory consultation; and during it, I ask about their previous Fiverr experiences. It was truly shocking to hear how many buyers have had negative experiences, yet still left a 5 star review because the previous seller "tried their best" or they chose to not leave a review at all out of fear they'd hurt the seller's business. When you think about this from Fiverr's perspective, private reviews are a necessity: if buyers are having bad experiences, they will not return to the platform and Fiverr will be out of business. If a particular seller is consistently getting negative private reviews, it is a smart idea to dilute their algorithm until further notice.

PRO: If you're a newer seller just learning about the platform, private reviews have always been around. The frustrating part about the old system is not knowing WHEN you got a private review. That said, I am personally a fan of being able to see an overview of my client satisfaction level.

CON: Although sellers know WHEN they get a negative private review, they still don't know WHY. My solution to this is to add pre-written selection of different elements as apart of the private review that can be shared with sellers. For instance, in the new rating system, buyers have the ability to select what they liked about the service such as "language fluency," exceeded expectations," and etc. This tells a seller what they're doing well at. While that can encourage a buyer's impulse to purchase a service, it is useless feedback to the seller. Adding a similar feature to the private reviews and sharing that with sellers will enable the seller to know exactly what they need to work on. That way the review remains anonymous, but sellers can have an idea of what they need to work on. All in all, showing that there's a negative impact is not specific enough to be helpful. This is especially true for buyers who have a high volume of orders.


3. Effective Communication

From my understanding, this is the same as tracking the order response rate. If you're a newer seller, Fiverr is tracking how quickly you respond to your current orders and you're expected to reply within 24 hours. This is something that they've always tracked, but previously was not a requirement to maintain a seller level.

PRO Regardless of it being a direct client or a buyer here on Fiverr, not responding in a timely manner tells buyers/clients that you are overworked and/or that you do not prioritize their needs, which is a major no-no given they're quite literally paying you to prioritize their needs. From Fiverr's prospective, it doesn't make sense for them to boost a gig's impressions if the seller is not responding to the orders they currently have: why would they give sellers with more work if a seller is already struggling with their current workload?

CON Given the endless array trust and safety risks, I completely understand why Fiverr does not allow outsiders to sign into a seller's account. However, it would be nice to have the ability to hire an assistant that can help respond to messages without the fear of being banned. It'd overall be a neat upsell feature: sellers will have the ability to close in on more offers due to a quicker response rate that isn't just a generic auto-response and would be willing to pay significantly more for this feature considering it makes them more money in the long haul.

It should also be noted that I am strongly against a weighted score on this one, assuming that this is the case as it has not been clarified by Fiverr if an order falls off of seller statistics at a certain point. All I know is that when my grandfather got diagnosed with cancer, or when I got in a nasty car-wreck, my order response rate was lowered significantly. I understand the need for consistent sellers in the market place, but a weighted score is just not it. If there's a need for consistency, then change the 60 day period to 90 or 120 days. Consistent sellers like myself are not a fan of being treated like we're school children that's receiving a permanent mark on our school record for skipping class: using life as a weapon to threaten the health of a seller's account is no different than working for corporate America, which is a big no-no considering us sellers freelance to escape the corporate grind.

4. Conflict-free Orders

From my understanding, this is referring to the frequency in which you extend a buyer's delivery date and possibly how many revision requests received. At the moment, I am currently waiting to hear back from a customer support agent to confirm or deny the revision factor and will update the comments of this thread when I have news.

PRO Fiverr's stance on this is simple: give buyers clear expectations. If a seller is consistently extending orders, then it's clear that the seller needs to re-evaluate their onboarding/client in-take process. I understand the need to track this, but the current set-up is wildly ineffective and hurts sellers more than it helps.

CON: When Fiverr rolled out the auto-accept feature extending delivery dates, I thought it was a smart move because it increases the likelihood of an order to be completed (increasing Fiverr's profits) because it gives the buyer more time to respond when life happens. However, this new metric incentives sellers to outright cancel the order from unresponsive buyers and have it removed from seller statistics if the buyer does not reorder within two weeks. 

Speaking solely based on my own personal experience, the times I've had to extend the delivery deadline is usually a direct result of a buyer placing an order without messaging me first, DESPITE clear directions placed numerous times throughout my gig to do so. I know that there is a feature that's already available to some sellers that grants them the ability to disallow buyers to purchase a gig unless it's sent via custom offer. That said, I strongly feel this feature should be available to all sellers with the expectation that the feature itself will NOT affect a gig's impressions; because frankly, it's not fair to punish sellers based on the actions of a buyer. If anything, granting sellers the freedom to have control over their onboarding process will only increase buyer satisfaction.

To that end, I also strongly feel that the consultation option should be available to all sellers. As stated previously, I require a mandatory consultation before taking on new clients. Since this feature isn't available to me (despite being a level 2 seller with TRS benchmarks complete), I have to utilize my first package as the consultation. This not only limit's a buyer's purchasing power, but can cause discrepancy of what prices actually are if the buyer does not click through all of the package options before placing an order; and since my "consultation" is in form of a gig package, the times I've had to extend the deadline is usually due to a buyer not showing up to a consultation and/or needing to reschedule on their end; and as stated previously, it's not fair to punish sellers for something that's out of their control.

That and not providing this feature to all sellers puts them at risk of violating TOS because they're being forced to contact the client outside the platform via an exterior schedular systems; but more importantly, it can affect buyer satisfaction if they have to use a system they're unfamiliar with and/or is frustrating for them to use. 


5. & 6. Order Cancellations and Delivery Time

It's relatively straight-forward as to why Fiverr has always tracked these metrics. As a seller, you kind of have to think of offers like a contract: whether it's completing the project or delivering it on time, you are obligated to hold up your end of the deal. If you're unable to do so with the orders you currently have, then it makes no sense for Fiverr to boost your impressions. However, I am against a weighted statistic for the aforementioned reasons listed under bullet point #3. 


My objective opinion is that there's too much pressure and no room for growth. This is especially true considering that level 1 and level 2 sellers are restricted to the same number of active gigs. I understand it's better to be good at one thing than it is to be an "expert" in 20 things, but it's hypocritical to preach the benefits of growth and then literally inhibit the seller to scale their services by disallowing them to provide additional services: it doesn't even have to be 20 gigs, it could just be 15. Otherwise there's really no difference in level 1 and 2 other than maybe the consultation and top clients feature, which sellers like myself put our top clients into our portfolio and utilize an exterior scheduling system; and if a seller already subscribes to the seller standard package that already includes faster payouts, then there's truly no benefit. 

Before I close this out, I just wanted to note that I've never left my opinion on the internet before. Not a single forum thread, google review, and not even on Facebook during 2020. Given that I have a decent understanding of business, I am often the first to defend this platform because I understand that Fiverr must do what they need to do to succeed from a business standpoint so that they CAN support both sellers and buyers. In theory, having a more comprehensive metric system creates a consistent marketplace that embodies high quality work, but the execution of this current system feels like a rough draft that completely disregarded the sellers who have remained consistent and faithful to Fiverr's buyers throughout the years. To say that I feel disappointment in Fiverr's blatancy would be a gross understatement. I currently am a full-time freelancer that exclusively works with Fiverr; but if this system does not improve soon, then I see no reason to stay because it no longer makes sense for my business.


If you found this topic helpful, I'd greatly appreciate it if you could comment and/or give this thread an upvote. It's my hope that Fiverr sees this and takes some of these insights into consideration.



Edited by tuciemaykay
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  • tuciemaykay changed the title to New Seller Levels: Comprehensive Pros and Cons

I really like your thought, thanks for sharing it. Without a doubt, these are very important aspects Fiverr should consider before sending such a significant change to all users (both buyers and sellers) affecting their experience. And it's something that seems to have been overlooked, I don't want to think it's on purpose.
These days we will all be attentive to new updates and comments, because they definitely have to do something.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Literally could not agree more on your 'value for money' Point. I have had orders where the buyers told me they loved the process, loved the final results and were extremely happy with the results. But they left me a 4/5 star review on the 'value for money' rating.....Buyers agree to our price, and then can really hurt our metrics just because they thought it was expensive after the fact.....

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