eHarmony has created eH+, a premium service that matches interested clients with trained, one-on-one counselors who will vet potential love matches for them by scouring millions of eHarmony profiles, as well as coach them through the dating process.
“A good matchmaker can pull someone through the process of dating and help them be a better, more attractive version of themselves,” says Grant Langston, eHarmony’s vice president of customer experience. “But matchmakers have a very tough time keeping people in their pool. If you’re paying tens of thousands of dollars to be matched with someone and you find out there are only a few choices, it’s pretty unpleasant.”
The pursuit of true love will cost you $5,000 upfront for one year. In return, eH+ promises you access to your own personal counselor. New eH+ clients will be prompted to take a relationship questionnaire and upload some photos to eHarmony, after which you’ll get on the phone or Skype with a counselor for an hour. Where the questionnaire contains more generalized questions like, “Are you a high-energy person?” the counselor will glean specifics about you and your previous relationships through questions like, “Do you feel anything in your life is holding you back from meeting the person you want to meet?”
“One of the things we see all the time is people can’t get out of their own way. They have preferences and life policies they cook up that really make it hard for them to find a great person,” Langston says. “One of the best roles this counselor can play is to help them push aside the things that are really preventing them from finding the right person.”
For the price it’s charging, eHarmony is hoping eH+ counselors will be able to do things an algorithm can’t. For one, eH+ counselors will never tell clients when they’ve reached out to a prospective match who says they’re not interested in meeting, thus softening the blow of rejection. And because the counselors spend time screening matches on the phone, you’re much less likely to run into the all-too-common surprise of discovering the person you were messaging online isn’t who you thought they would be in person.
eH+ not only opens up a new revenue stream for the company, it also marks a significant shift from both the regular version of eHarmony, which costs $50 a month, and similar dating sites like Match.com, OKCupid, and Zoosk, all of which maintain their own stables of skeptics who question the validity of using an algorithm to find love.