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Re: What is "Auto Check-ins"?

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Community Guru
Wendy C Member Since: Aug 24, 2015
81 of 129

To reiterate everything that has been said by freelancers with a history of earnings > this is deplorable, infantile, ineffective, and a major headache for clients and freelancers alike.

 

STOP trying to justify a grossly inappropriate move on Upwork's part and just cancel the entire mess!

Community Guru
Lisa B Member Since: Dec 29, 2015
82 of 129

This is horrible, and infantilizes both freelancers and clients. 

 

We already know how to check in with each other without annoying pop up reminders and being spoon-fed third grade level questions. 

 

Welcome to another downside of quarantine -- thousands of useless apps, tools and other so-called "improvements" being developed by bored IT experts stuck at home with too much free time on their hands. 

 

 

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Ace Contributor
Valerie S Member Since: Jun 22, 2015
83 of 129




Shreman S wrote:

Hi, Upwork Community!

 

I’m Shreman and part of the team that developed this feature. My fellow colleagues and I are committed to making your experience on Upwork as positive and fruitful as possible. As many of you may have noticed, we recently launched the Auto Check-ins feature. We recognize and understand that users aren’t happy about some of these changes. Let’s talk a little bit about our Auto Check-ins feature and would love to address concerns you’ve expressed here.

 

No, you are not committed to making our experience as "positive and as fruitful" as possible, you certainly don't care and we are fully aware of same. But thank you, let's move on.

 

What are Auto Check-ins?

Auto Check-ins is a feature that only clients can turn on/off during an active contract. This will prompt 1 message on a weekly basis on Friday asking 3 simple questions on the work you are doing. The questions should take just a few minutes once a week. You are encouraged to reply to them. If you are strongly against it, the recommendation would be to speak to your clients about turning it off because they turned on this feature and would expect a timely response. Clients can enable and disable the auto check-ins via a link in the contract Messages room or in the contract terms/setting area.

 

Again, you don't seem to understand, or maybe you do, but I'd like to point out that this puts us in an INCREDIBLY uncomfortable situation with a new client. 

 

Why did we develop Auto Check-Ins?

We developed this feature because we received feedback from both clients and freelancers that visibility into contracts in a structured manner is something that is lacking on Upwork. Auto Check-ins would keep communication and progress “on the record” on a structured cadence. We believe added visibility on a structured cadence can lead to better contract outcomes for both our clients and talent.

 

Apparently you didn't check with us. It's pretty obvious the group you pulled from...

 

What are the benefits for talent?

For talent, timely, concise replies could result in fewer ad-hoc requests from your client for status updates and although this feature does not play a role in dispute or in arbitration, it is helpful to have a paper trail in messages on progress if ever needed to resolve disputes.

 

Benefits???  Ha ha!!!!

 

What is the expectation from talent?

We know that our freelancers are professionals and acknowledge that our growth as a company has been attributed to the quality of our talent. This feature does not intend to be counter to that. As mentioned above, this feature resonated while we conducted client and talent user testing. We decided to test this feature with the belief that it could help add more structure and clarity to ultimately influence more positive outcomes for our clients and talent. The expectation when you receive the Auto Check-ins prompt is to take a few minutes to write a few lines to reply to each of the three questions. When developing this, the idea was that each question would take no more than a few lines to write.

The auto check-ins are sent on Friday so if you do not work on Fridays, letting your client know would help set expectations on your working hours. While there are no penalties for not replying or replying with a delay, it is encouraged that you reply when you have a moment as this feature was turned on at the request of your client. If you cannot, it is encouraged to send them a quick message to help set expectations. If you believe this may not be needed for your circumstances then you can let the client know. The client can switch this feature on or off via a link in the contract Messages room or in the contract terms/setting area.

 

Why don't you allow us to shut if off on our end? I don't want you to contact me if you feel the need to babysit me....

 

What are the benefits for clients?

For the client, this enables them to have greater understanding and visibility on the project so they can plan accordingly. Auto check-ins and hourly contracts A few of the comments here were specific to hourly contracts. We understand that clients that enable the time tracking functionality can view in details what Upwork talent are working on. Auto check-ins was not developed to replace this functionality but can understand why this may feel like duplicative work. However, we do believe that auto check-ins is a great method to summarize in a few minutes the status of your work in a few lines. If you believe this is unnecessary and takes a significant effort, then a conversation with your client may be best to decide what works best for the both of you. The client can switch this feature on or off via a link in the contract Messages room or in the contract terms/setting area.

 

Again, benefits?  Most of us would run as fast as we would away from a client who would enable this. So sadly, they will not have top talent. But since we don't know UNTIL the job is in place, we then need to school these clients on same...again AWKWARD and NOT CONDUCIVE!

 

-- More info on the questions

  1. What did you work on this week?
    The goal is to provide visibility to the client on tasks that would have progressed.

  2. What will you work on next week?
    The goal is to help clients know what you will work on so they can plan accordingly. This also adds visibility to both you and your client.

  3. What might delay your planned work?
    From our research, one of the leading results of a bad contract outcome is when something happens that may impact your planned work such as a dependency for your project. Examples include if you may need something to complete your work such as content or approval from the other party to complete your work. This aims to help resolve this so talent can clearly state what may be unexpected and clients can be kept informed ahead of time and plan accordingly. We envisage there to be delays in a low amount of contracts but believe this is an important question that helps lead to better contract outcomes for both Upwork talent and clients. If there are no delays, a simple answer such as ‘None’ or ‘N/A’ should suffice. --

I don't think I ever in a million years would have thought that as a "freelancer" I would be asked these types of questions. Because I (and the rest of us in this post) take the initiative and actually do this little thing called communicating with our clients...not something that needed to be taught and if it needs to be they don't belong here. That would HELP your clients out. Well, the ones we would hope you'd like to hang onto.

 

We have learned a lot from feedback and concerns you’ve shared on this thread. A few points that we’ll be considering:

  • We understand that a lot of experienced professional freelancers would like more control over this feature being turned on for their contracts.
  • We also understand that it may not work well with short-term contracts and for some hourly contracts.
  • We know that more can be done to better educate clients around the purpose of this feature so that they only use it when it’s necessary.

Your comments along with feedback we receive from other channels and metrics about how this feature is utilized will inform how we proceed with this feature.


That's something we've heard a million times. "We have learned a lot".  Blah blah blahbety blah blah blah, We get it. Your post and your ridiculous new features do not seem to say this (actions speak louder than words) and trust me, we get it! In other words, too bad, this is what we're doing, just wanted to throw some more confetti onto 2020 for y'all. Thanks Upwork!
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Community Guru
Wes C Member Since: May 3, 2019
84 of 129

Hi Shreman...

 

Thanks for posting those details behind this feature. And I appreciate that you and your team are trying to improve freelancer and client experience here. But, your note really doesn't do anything to change my opinion that Upwork has widely missed that mark here.

 

First, you've said in a few places that clients can easily turn this off. However, someone who has experienced this from the client perspective posted early in this thread that they are prompted on every log in to turn this on. That has to stop. If a client has already made the decision to not turn this on, they shouldn't be continually harassed to do so. Annoying our clients does not help make our experience a positive one. I have around a dozen open contracts for ad hoc work in addition to one-off and repeat contracts. In addition to the annoyance factor, it means that I will have to explain to many of them what this means, and it will lead to more conversations about why I can't move their contracts off Upwork yet, because some of them are already annoyed enough with Upwork that I've had to have that discussion more than once with them. And, if even half of those turn this feature on just to stop the annoyance, then I'm dealing with several unnecessary status requests a week, most from people I probably don't even have work for that week.

 

But the feature itself won't even achieve what you're looking for. Structured weekly statuses are a tool from the corporate world whose purpose is to be filled out and ignored (been there, done that from both sides). They don't promote discussion around progress and status, they actively hinder it because they give the illusion of communication.

 

I totally get that the people in this thread who have been objecting strenuously to this feature are successful experienced freelancers, and in some cases clients, who know how to communicate status and queries appropriately. And I get that there are inexperienced freelancers and clients who do not know how to do that. I can't stress this enough: This feature will not help them. It will hurt them because it will train them to use this check-in rather than actually talking to each other, and it will lead to more unpleasant experiences, because clients' unasked questions won't be answered with the responses to these generic questions. What we need for these inexperienced freelancers and clients is education on how to communicate with each other and encouragement to do so. And I'll say it again: this feature does not do this; it actively hinders it.

 

Your note touts the benefit of avoiding ad hoc questions from clients. But those are precisely the kind of questions that we need to tune our understanding of the clients' needs and our communications with them. If a client has a question about what I'm working on or where I am with something, I want them to ask that right then and there because 1) I can address their concerns quickly 2) I can use that discussion as input to my priorities and future updates to them if needed and 3) It may spark something that needs to be tweaked in my approach to the project. If I wait until Friday to answer those three questions, chances are real good I'm not going to address what they've been holding off asking.

 

There's more I can say here, but this is already long, it's late, and I'm tired. To summarize: 1) The repeated prompting to turn this on is annoying to clients. Stop that now. 2) Upwork's efforts are better spent on educating new clients and freelancers on the importance of active communication to their project's success, not on implementing features that actively discourage that communication. So, if I haven't been clear enough already, this feature needs to go away.

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Community Guru
Sarah B Member Since: Dec 15, 2017
85 of 129

Wes C wrote:

Hi Shreman...

 

Thanks for posting those details behind this feature. And I appreciate that you and your team are trying to improve freelancer and client experience here. But, your note really doesn't do anything to change my opinion that Upwork has widely missed that mark here.

 

First, you've said in a few places that clients can easily turn this off. However, someone who has experienced this from the client perspective posted early in this thread that they are prompted on every log in to turn this on. That has to stop. If a client has already made the decision to not turn this on, they shouldn't be continually harassed to do so. Annoying our clients does not help make our experience a positive one. I have around a dozen open contracts for ad hoc work in addition to one-off and repeat contracts. In addition to the annoyance factor, it means that I will have to explain to many of them what this means, and it will lead to more conversations about why I can't move their contracts off Upwork yet, because some of them are already annoyed enough with Upwork that I've had to have that discussion more than once with them. And, if even half of those turn this feature on just to stop the annoyance, then I'm dealing with several unnecessary status requests a week, most from people I probably don't even have work for that week.

 

But the feature itself won't even achieve what you're looking for. Structured weekly statuses are a tool from the corporate world whose purpose is to be filled out and ignored (been there, done that from both sides). They don't promote discussion around progress and status, they actively hinder it because they give the illusion of communication.

 

I totally get that the people in this thread who have been objecting strenuously to this feature are successful experienced freelancers, and in some cases clients, who know how to communicate status and queries appropriately. And I get that there are inexperienced freelancers and clients who do not know how to do that. I can't stress this enough: This feature will not help them. It will hurt them because it will train them to use this check-in rather than actually talking to each other, and it will lead to more unpleasant experiences, because clients' unasked questions won't be answered with the responses to these generic questions. What we need for these inexperienced freelancers and clients is education on how to communicate with each other and encouragement to do so. And I'll say it again: this feature does not do this; it actively hinders it.

 

Your note touts the benefit of avoiding ad hoc questions from clients. But those are precisely the kind of questions that we need to tune our understanding of the clients' needs and our communications with them. If a client has a question about what I'm working on or where I am with something, I want them to ask that right then and there because 1) I can address their concerns quickly 2) I can use that discussion as input to my priorities and future updates to them if needed and 3) It may spark something that needs to be tweaked in my approach to the project. If I wait until Friday to answer those three questions, chances are real good I'm not going to address what they've been holding off asking.

 

There's more I can say here, but this is already long, it's late, and I'm tired. To summarize: 1) The repeated prompting to turn this on is annoying to clients. Stop that now. 2) Upwork's efforts are better spent on educating new clients and freelancers on the importance of active communication to their project's success, not on implementing features that actively discourage that communication. So, if I haven't been clear enough already, this feature needs to go away.


Please Upwork, read, then reread this. We're not a bunch of whiners stiffening at a "few minutes" of extra work (which many of us already put in many times over in good communication practices with our clients). This scheme has real negatives you are not listening to that are going to anger and likely drive away a lot of freelancers and CLIENTS (besides the ones it already has, of course).

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Community Guru
Petra R Member Since: Aug 3, 2011
86 of 129

I couldn't agree with Wes more!

 

1000 kudos!

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Community Guru
Steven E. L Member Since: May 5, 2015
87 of 129

Wes C wrote:

Your note touts the benefit of avoiding ad hoc questions from clients. But those are precisely the kind of questions that we need to tune our understanding of the clients' needs and our communications with them. If a client has a question about what I'm working on or where I am with something, I want them to ask that right then and there because 1) I can address their concerns quickly 2) I can use that discussion as input to my priorities and future updates to them if needed and 3) It may spark something that needs to be tweaked in my approach to the project. If I wait until Friday to answer those three questions, chances are real good I'm not going to address what they've been holding off asking.


This is stated much more eloquently than I'm capable of; however, the importance must not be lost in the shuffle. I want, need, give, and expect timely, effective communication. Not annoying Mario Kart checkpoints so I don't have to put another quarter in the machine.

 

If I'm working on a project that has changed course, or the client's vision doesn't match the vision in my imagination, I need to know NOW. Not on Friday when I've spent a week heading down the wrong path and no one spoke up because "it wasn't time for a regularly scheduled check-in."

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Community Guru
Jamie F Member Since: Mar 7, 2010
88 of 129

Wes C wrote:

 

However, someone who has experienced this from the client perspective posted early in this thread that they are prompted on every log in to turn this on.


Blimey.

What thought processes occurred for somebody (some people) to agree that was a good idea? Irritating freelancers is one thing, irritating clients is another. Surely the best approach would be to avoid as many pain points for clients as possible - not needlessly create more. I want clients to keep on putting as much money into the system as possible. We all do, right? Right, Upwork? 

I've not much more to say as I think it's already been said. Every time I open this I'm just shaking my head in disbelief at being made to feel so patronized. 

Eugh! 

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Active Member
Kayla B Member Since: May 12, 2017
89 of 129
In fairness, I often get their notifications multiple times (Like when I
became top rated, or when they allowed us to bring clients for 0% fee) , so
it might not be *intended* that it popped up about 5 times before finally
going away for me. But that doesn't change how annoying it is nor the fact
that many clients will likely turn on the feature just to make the pop-ups
stop.

- Kayla
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Active Member
Kayla B Member Since: May 12, 2017
90 of 129

7 pages of comments, many from community gurus, and not a single positive thing to say about that feature.

I think your userbase has been pretty clear how they feel about this "feature"

But I'm sure you'll ignore us like usual. One day a competitor is going to actually listen to all the feedback you ignore.

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