We’re thrilled to announce the arrival of the new Consultation Page on all Firsthand platforms! The Consultation Page is where advisors and advisees meet. Our product and customer success teams have combed through years of user data and customer feedback to make this upgrade happen. This feature should be rolling out on all Firsthand AMPs and CAPs and on Evisors over the coming days.

Users familiar with our platforms should feel right at home on the new page, despite some noticeable changes. The steps involved in booking a consultation and connecting have not changed, but we’ve worked hard to make the experience more user friendly. Specifically, we’ve created a new user interface that’s better optimized for mobile, we’ve replaced messages with chat, we’ve eased cancellation and rescheduling restrictions, as well as a few other things.

Let’s go through the updates, one by one.

A Brand New User Experience, Better Optimized for Mobile

More users than ever are connecting to our platforms using their phones or other mobile devices. We’ve designed the new Consultation Page to function equally well on all modern web browsers and smartphones. Although the layout may change, you won’t lose functionality switching from one device to another.

Say Goodbye to “Messages” and Hello to Real-time Chat

We’ve always let you send internal “emails” or messages to coordinate meeting details before your call or to stay connected if your phone service dropped mid-consultation. The problem with these messages was that they weren’t instantaneous and didn’t lend themselves to the kind of frequent short-form interactions that most users were having.

Enter our new real-time chat. Each consultation now gets a private and completely secure chat room. Messages from one person to the other show up instantly. You can also share files. If you’re not on your consultation page to read the messages you’re getting, we email them to you. Better still, your chat thread stays with you throughout your relationship with your advisee or advisor. So when you open the consultation page for your second consultation with the same advisor or advisee, the chat thread picks up right where it left off.

Unrestricted Rescheduling and Cancellation

Nobody likes to be stood up or cancelled on. We therefore built the old Consultation Page with strict rules as to when it was OK and when it wasn’t OK for someone to cancel or reschedule. We let you cancel or reschedule if you gave sufficient notice, but not if it was last minute. All last minute cancellations or reschedule requests had to go through customer service.

While this made sense in theory, in practice it didn’t. Our users (especially our advisors) live busy lives and things come up. And if time is precious, the last thing you want to spend it on is talking to customer service. Virtually every last-minute rescheduling and cancellation request received by customer service ended with the advisee or advisor completely understanding and/or accommodating the other person’s request.    

So why not lift the restrictions and let people handle all rescheduling and cancellation themselves? That’s exactly what we’ve done on the new Consultation Page. While there may be bad apples who exploit their newfound freedom here, we know from experience that these belong to the minority and that we have back-end monitoring systems to take care of it. What’s more, the new real-time chat will make last-minute coordination even easier.

Oh, And a Few More Things…

You didn’t think we were done yet, did you?

  1. Advisors now have 7 days, not 48 hours, to respond to requests. Or to be specific, they have 7 days or until the last suggested meeting time, whichever is shorter, to respond. We know our advisors are busy and two days may not be enough time, especially during holidays and busy workweeks. With this change, we hope to give our busiest members a fair shake at responding on their own schedule.
  2. Now included: tips on how to have a great consultation. Customers have requested this for a while. We now provide advisors a list of “Last Minute Tips” they can use as a reference guide for getting the most out of their consultation. Each list is lovingly crafted by our team and customized for the user’s perspective (advisee or advisor) and consultation type (career conversation, resume critique, or mock interview).
  3. Evisors.com advisees now have to submit payment before their requests go out. This is a minor change only affecting Evisors.com advisees. We want to avoid advisors accepting requests only to have the consultation expire because the advisee never paid. From now on, all requests will come fully funded. If the advisor declines the request or cancels the consultation, we will of course refund the payment, as we have always done.  

Questions, comments, or suggestions? Contact us at support@firsthand.co