Whatever your industry or the size of your business, quick and efficient communication with your customers and employees will almost certainly be key to your success.
Podium styles itself as an “interaction management platform". Since its launch in 2014, the company has powered more than 17 million of those interactions across approximately 40,000 businesses.
- Want to try Podium? Check out the website here
Our Podium evaluation examines the software’s principal features, as well as its strengths and weaknesses. This way, you can decide whether it is the best online collaboration software for your organization.
Plans and pricing
Podium operates on a freemium model. If you live in the US, Canada, or Australia, you’ll be eligible for Podium Starter - a free version of the software that enables you to access a limited number of features, which includes a webchat service, 10 free review invites per month, and the payment function.
If you would like to purchase additional services, you’ll need to contact the company for a personalized quote. In one potential downside, we have heard reports that customers need to sign up for an initial minimum of 12 months.
How it works
If you’re considering signing up, you can request a demo through the company’s website. Almost as soon as we entered our details into the site, we received an email from one of its agents offering to provide a 30-minute demonstration.
Podium is available on both mobile and desktop apps, and you can integrate its software with other apps such as Yext and Salesforce, ServiceTitan, Tire Guru, and CDK.
Whether your customers contact you via Facebook, Google, Instagram, text messaging, or your own website, you’ll receive all your messages in a single inbox.
From your inbox, you can see which messages require a response and which of your employees have already viewed group messages. You’ll also receive a complete conversation history, and Podium’s intelligent software automatically groups your conversations.
Podium’s webchat function differs from a number of its competitors. As soon as visitors to your site click on a chat window, they’ll be asked to provide a name and mobile number, before typing a question. All leads are sent directly to your inbox to enable a representative from your organization to send a response.
Although securing users’ names and telephone numbers via the web chat function is definitely a bonus in terms of lead generation, the need to enter this information may prove off-putting for potential customers wishing to make only a casual inquiry.
Podium also offers video chat software for use with both customers and employees. To make a call, you can send your customer a link through your Podium inbox. As soon as they click on the link, he or she will be automatically connected to face-to-face video chat.
Podium users can send messages via a selection of customizable templates. This function can be especially useful for routine inquiries, such as review invites, feedback requests, and reminders.
You can communicate with employees via customized groups or direct conversations, which enables you to assign tasks to appropriate team members and respond to inbound leads, customer questions, and new reviews.
As the name suggests, this function enables you to exchange text messages via your business phone. This function can be especially useful for customers who are reluctant to speak in person over the phone.
The ability to tie your business’ customer reviews to your messaging function is one of the key features differentiating Podium from many of its competitors. Whenever a customer uses your site, you can send an automated review invite, which enables them to leave a review within 30 seconds. As well as gathering more business leads, this feature provides you with real-time insights into your company’s performance.
You can respond via the Podium app as soon as their feedback is posted and resolve any issues raised as quickly as possible. You can also compare star ratings for insights into how your business rates against competitors.
According to Podium, its customers typically receive 20 reviews per month and experience a 6% increase in revenue as a result of using the review function.
Podium users can receive payments from their customers by sending a link directly to their phone. The software also enables businesses to send customizable invites branded with their company’s logo, as well as allowing you to manage refunds and providing an at-a-glance overview of customers’ payment data.
Text payment offering
Podium has a new payment feature that allows businesses to simply send their customers a text message to choose a method of payment. They no longer have to call in to make a payment on an archaic system.
With the text message feature, you can keep interaction opportunities alive even after someone leaves your store. The feature also makes it easier to see who has completed payments and who needs a follow up.
There is also the option of a rapid export to your accounting software with integration-friendly data formats.
The feature also allows you to initiate every payment request from your computer or mobile device, collect payments through wireless card readers, gather reviews and opt-ins post-purchase.
This ultimately saves your business time because of how easy it is to pay through Podium. Best of all, there are no monthly costs - you pay a standard processing fee per transaction with one flat rate for every payment type.
Another fun feature the company added is the ability to personalise your invoices with your business name and logo - for a professional finish.
Podium provides you with the ability to specify payment methods for certain types of customers or purchases, so if you only want to allow e-checks or disallow credit cards, there is the option to do just that.
When you sign up for Podium, you’ll have a dedicated support representative, which is reassuring for businesses who may have questions concerning some of Podium’s more radical features.
You can contact its staff via text message, online form, phone, or email.
The messaging platform market is certainly full of competition. Platforms such as Slack come with free versions, which enable you to manage your online conversations and also offer a limited video conferencing service.
As we’ve already discussed, Podium goes beyond standard messaging, especially in terms of integrating the review function. If managing reviews is your primary concern, Trustpilot is the best-known player in the market and begins at a starting price of $199 per month.
Podium’s proposition is certainly an interesting one and the ability to link reviews to other forms of business contact is an innovative approach to increasing business leads. As a result, it’s no surprise Podium was named a Cool Vendor in 2019 by market research agency, Gartner.
Whether you choose to purchase additional Podium features will probably depend on the importance of reviews to your business. However, it could be worthwhile signing up to its free service or contacting the company for a demonstration to get a taste of the potential benefits.
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