Each of us regularly enters into legally binding contracts as set out in the Terms of Service (Wikipedia) of each website, web application or mobile app that we use.
Netflix, HubSpot, Facebook, Salesforce, Google Maps, Deliveroo, Thumbtack, Angie’s List, Amazon, you name the business, we have wittingly or unwittingly entered into [let’s boldly spell it out this time] legally binding contracts that are designed to govern our behaviour relative to these and many other web services that we turn to for some kind of value.
Yep. That’s right. Behaviour. Or behavior for our US-based friends.
We are expected to do some things, and not do others.
For example, we can stream Netflix content in our homes, or even across multiple devices on the go, depending on the subscription level. We also can’t “circumvent, remove, alter, deactivate, degrade or thwart any of the content protections in the Netflix service”.
The good news is that we humans generally operate in good faith i.e. when a service is valuable, we often want more of it. And, in order to ensure a service continues to provide good value, we become and remain loyal customers.
A small percentage of us, of course, break or bend the rules, threatening the viability of many services, but the good actors among us mostly outweigh the bad. Importantly, these human behaviours, both good and not-so-good, are baked into the pricing of each service.
Because ours is a three-sided marketplace platform, we have three sets of terms, one for each account type:
And because our model is designed to take on a great deal of risk and up front cost, our terms are written in a way to maximise mid to longer term value with each happy customer.
Note: The MeasureMatch platform doesn’t ask for, or require, payments from Client account holders until after services have been provided. This means that we are investing into the design and build of the marketplace platform, we are investing in service provider onboarding and training, we are investing into team members to provide customer care, all before charging a nominal fee only after a milestone or contract has been completed.
Ok, let’s get into some of the important terms of service that guide our relationships with our customers.
This piece of writing will focus on Client account holders.
You are authorized, which is to say you are permitted, to agree to our terms. Pretty fundamental stuff, right?
If you do not have the authority to sign up to a professional services marketplace platform on behalf of or representing your organisation, it’s probably a good idea not to.
We’ll do our part to deduce, based on your role or position in an organisation, if you have this authority. If we think you don’t, we’ll ask you, or we’ll simply not accept your Client account application.
You are who you say you are.
The starting points for us are these two fundamentals:
In addition to the two items above, the platform asks for several additional pieces of information when entering into services contracts with service providers. This is a kind of a custom KYC process, which is incremental to the KYC required for payment processing.
Our current identity verification process, admittedly, is quite simple. It is based on self-declared data and human vetting on our side. We’ll soon deploy one or more services like Onfido to make our ID verification process far more robust and compliant with our customers’ requirements.
Now, despite our rather simple approach to ID verification, around 40% of Client account applications are rejected, a large percentage of which are due to ID verification failures.
No, not those. Instead, MeasureMatch is not “a party to any contract you may enter into with Service Providers and will not have any liability or obligations whatsoever under any such contracts”.
That said, we recognise that customer service and customer success are the core ingredients for business success, so we are extremely attentive to each of our customers’ needs - and we’ll always do what we can to achieve maximum customer happiness.
You understand that MeasureMatch makes money when buyers of services contract with providers of services - through the platform.
That said, because our business is still quite new and our marketplace services are growing to include an ecosystem management toolset for SaaS & enterprise software organisations, we remain committed to monetisation model experimentation.
Like any business, we are listening to our customers as we determine how best to structure the value-for-money and money-for-value equations.
In the near term, however, the platform will capture fees from both sides of each completed services contract, and, separately, we’re moving forward with capturing monthly or annual subscription-based fees from Partner Exchange account holders.
You will use the MeasureMatch platform to book service providers into contracts, and re-book them, too (via the platform).
This provision in our terms is designed to prevent what’s commonly referred to as “leakage” i.e. when two parties meet via a marketplace, but transact (initially or subsequently) outside of it.
Now, we readily and realistically recognise that leakage will always be an issue. Hopefully it will never be a large one. To prevent that, we’ll regularly introduce innovations and, perhaps most importantly, we’ll do what we can to mitigate this risk by crafting incentives for both sides to see and feel the value of their MeasureMatch experiences.
Over the coming years, we will invest millions of Dollars/Euros/Pounds to create as much economic opportunity for service providers in our network, and solutions value for clients.
For service providers, a great part of our investment is in attracting, winning and retaining clients (i.e. doing the heavy lifting sales work so they don’t have to), but that seems to get lost in translation in the minds of some service providers - often right after a new client contract commences via MeasureMatch.
It’s not uncommon for independent consultants and boutique consultancies to invest 50% or more of their working hours identifying, pitching, winning and retaining clients. An important part of the value derived from MeasureMatch is a replacement of some of that time with revenue and solutions-generating productivity.
Similarly, for clients, a great part of our investment is in attracting, winning and retaining service provider participation (i.e. doing the heavy lifting so clients don’t have to), but this also seems to get lost in translation in the minds of some clients - again, right after a new contract commences or right after its completion.
This topic, Terms of Service, is a weighty and awkward one, especially when terms need to be rolled out when customers go off-piste, or at least in a direction that feels deeply risky, like an existential threat to a business’s viability.
Thankfully, as noted above, we humans generally operate in good faith i.e. when a service is valuable, we often want more of it. And, in order to ensure a service continues to provide good value, we become and remain loyal customers. We, as customers, are [mostly] honest with ourselves and we are equally honest with the businesses we engage. We play by the rules.
Importantly, we help businesses to get better as they build products and services that help us to grow, to solve problems, to be successful, to be happy, to create our own value and to be more valued.
Thanks for setting aside a couple of minutes to brush up on our rules of the road.
In this blog post I share a few thoughts on a decision we made to place a limit on the kinds of experts we welcome into the MeasureMatch marketplace network of service providers.
Great customer service leads to happy customers who talk about your product or service with future customers. And it means more repeat bookings. MeasureMatch is proud to score >95% 5* happy customers. Here's why.