Encore has evolved at a remarkable pace since we first launched our beta website to a handful of musicians back in 2014, and 2018 is already shaping up to be a seismic year for the Encore platform.
Before Christmas, the Encore team took a step back from our day-to-day work and thought about which areas of Encore we could make the biggest improvements to. We based a lot of our decisions on huge amounts of customer feedback and musician feedback from 2017, so thank you to everyone who sent us feedback and ideas for how Encore could improve last year!
Over the next few weeks, your Encore experience is going to become a lot more personalised to your unique musical preferences, and you’ll begin to notice some major changes across the website and alerts that you receive.
Here’s a quick overview:
- Musician Matching System
- We’re investing in a new Help Centre to help you understand the Encore platform better
- Higher Requirements for Applying to Encore Jobs (and why)
- A word on taking Encore customers away from the platform (Disintermediation)
- How to ensure you’re kept up-to-date
Musician Matching System
We’re completely overhauling how we match customers with the specific type of live music they’re looking for, and to do this, we’re going to be asking you to tell us more about yourself and your ensembles.
One of the biggest pieces of feedback we received throughout 2017 was that job alerts weren’t always relevant, and we’re tackling this head-on in 2018 by expanding our six genres and tailoring the alerts you receive based on your unique preferences.
We’ll be asking you for new information about yourself midway through February, and we’ll be using this information to fine-tune the alerts you receive and the info displayed on your Encore profiles during March.
Our aim is to ensure that every job alert you receive is relevant to you, and that every quote a customer receives is relevant to their specific enquiry.
Speaking of profiles, we’re revamping the profile design to make your musicality come to life and to encourage more customers to get in touch with you and book you for their events.
We haven’t made any major changes to the profile design since 2016, so I’m personally really excited to be updating the design in 2018, and you can expect to see your profiles evolve quickly over the coming weeks.
We want your Encore profile to be the best and fullest representation of your musicianship on the Internet, and I can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on soon.
We’re investing in a new Help Centre to help you understand the Encore platform better
To help you understand how Encore works and to get the most out of the platform, we’ve invested in a new Help Centre that answers all of the most Frequently Asked Questions we hear from musicians. Our Help Centre is powered by ZenDesk, which is the industry-leader in help desk and customer support software.
We know that some areas of the Encore platform are more complicated than others, and we’ve written full guides to help you understand our bookings process and deal with customers in the smoothest way possible.
If you have a question about how to deal with an Encore customer, simply email [email protected] and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. We aim to answer all questions related to active bookings (where the customer has booked or is close to booking) within two days at a maximum, and we aim to respond to all other queries within five working days.
Higher Requirements for Applying to Encore Jobs
The Encore network is enormous, with nearly 30,000 musicians registered and thousands of quotes being sent to Encore customers every month.
We receive a lot of feedback from our customers, and some of them have been complaining that the Encore profiles they’re seeing are empty.
Many customers are also receiving quotes from musicians or groups who simply aren’t relevant to their enquiry details (opera singers applying for jazz gigs, for example), and some are frustrated when musicians don’t address any of the points outlined in their enquiry.
To solve this problem, we’re soon going to require you to have a full Encore profile containing videos, song/repertoire lists, testimonials and several photos in order to send quotes, and we’re going to be revamping our matching algorithm to ensure that the most suitable musicians are the first to be alerted for jobs near them.
The matching algorithm uses the information on your profile and in your alert settings, so the more accurate and up-to-date your account is, the more likely you are to be among the top recommendations in your category.
How can you prepare for these changes?
To prepare for this, I’d recommend giving your Encore profile a full update for 2018.
We’ve written a post on how to improve your profile for 2018, which you can read here: Wondering what customers want to see on Encore profiles? 5 tips to ensure your profile is ready for 2018
A word on taking Encore customers away from the platform
Since Encore began, we’ve set out to build a transparent bookings platform that is free from the problems experienced by musicians when dealing with opaque music agencies. You control your pricing, and you always know how much the customer is paying and how much you’re earning.
Encore works best when we can trust you to discuss bookings with a customer and have them complete and pay for their booking through our secure payment platform, Encore Pay.
Unfortunately, we’ve noticed that some musicians have been encouraging our customers to book them directly, often by sending email addresses, phone numbers or saying “You can find me on Google”, and in 2018 we will be taking a stricter approach to this breach of our terms & conditions.
From 2018 onwards, if you are found to be completing bookings outside of the Encore platform or actively encouraging customers to do this, your account will be removed from the platform.
We’ll issue one warning if you’re found to be encouraging disintermediation in your quotes or messages, and your account will be banned if this happens on a second occasion or if a customer tells us you asked them to book you directly.
We invest money in marketing campaigns to acquire new customers, and we operate on a simple and fair 15% commission model. Put simply, losing bookings because musicians are taking customers elsewhere is harmful to our business.
If you don’t understand how to complete bookings through Encore, I’d recommend looking at our Help Centre, where we’ve written several guides and FAQs about being booked through Encore.
If you have any feedback on how we could make it easier for you to communicate with customers and complete bookings on the platform, we really want to hear it. We’ve taken feedback seriously since Encore’s inception in 2014, and we remain as committed as ever to building a platform that is simple and clear to use for all musicians.
Everything we do at Encore is designed to help more musicians get booked for more amazing gigs, and the changes we’re making in 2018 are going to make getting booked through Encore simpler and speedier than ever before.
How to ensure you’re kept up-to-date
To make sure you’re kept in the loop about our changes this year, I’d suggest you do the following:
- Add us to your Safe Senders List in your email client
- The simplest way to do this is by adding the @encoremusicians.com domain
- If you’ve been booked through Encore, you’re eligible to join our invite-only “Community Forum” group on Facebook where we share ideas and developments before they go live to the whole Encore network. Send an email to Jonny, Head of Artist Relations, if you’d like to be added, mentioning the latest booking you’ve completed through Encore.
Encore is evolving a rapid pace, and I can’t wait to show you the improvements we’ve been working over the next few weeks.