In this episode of Trade Talk, Brian Bohannan talks with Katie Hill from Podium about the new partnership between JB Warranties and Podium. Listen in and learn about Podium and how they are taking contractors to the next level in their businesses.
Host: Brian Bohannan, JB Warranties
Guest: Katie Hill, Podium
Read the Transcript:
Brian Bohannan: OK, good morning. This is Brian from JB Warranties with the latest edition of the trade podcast today on the podcast. We've got Katie Hill from Podium. Katie is the sales director for the advocacy division. Katie, welcome to the podcast.
Katie Hill: Yeah, thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here.
Brian Bohannan: OK, so today we're going to we've got a little bit of an update for our customers. We've we've formed a new partnership with a company called Podium. Many of you are probably familiar with what they do. If you're not, we're going to we're going to cover some of the benefits that you've seen with some of the contractors that are utilizing Podium. And then at the end, we're going to let you know how you can learn more with an upcoming webinar we've got on the schedule. So with that, Katie, can we start with kind of a brief overview of what Podium is and a little bit of the history behind the company?
Katie Hill: Yeah, for sure. So we like to think of ourselves as an interaction management platform. And what's what's cool as a Podium is not a very old company. We started back in twenty fourteen, I believe, and then we got picked up by Google Ventures and basically we started as a we wanted to make it really simple for local businesses to compete in an online world. And what we noticed is a lot more consumers were making purchase decisions based off of reviews.
Katie Hill: And so putting just want to make it very, very easy for companies to compete online by sending out requests for reviews after jobs. Again, we got picked up by Google Ventures, I think that was twenty fifteen and we got a couple of series of rounds of funding from them. We've kind of morphed into this interaction management software because everything that we do is based off of texting. And our whole goal is to make things convenient again, both for your customers when it comes to your visibility online and then also for business owners just to kind of help modernize their the way that they do business.
Brian Bohannan: Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you. I was going to say when I went my first exposure to Podium, I thought it was just simply somehow you guys are magically creating these companies or these Google reviews of these companies. And all of a sudden a company goes from Twitter reviews to twelve hundred. And that's what I thought it was. But it's a lot more than that. It's it's how do you ask for reviews? It's interaction with the customer. Can you can you talk a little bit about that side?
Brian Bohannan: Because I bet I'm not the only one out there that thought if you need good reviews, Podium is it's that's that's all they do. But there is a lot more to it. Can you cover a little bit of the text communication and how you are generating interviews?
Katie Hill: Yeah, for sure. So I mean, when it comes to the review side, it's definitely important, right?
Katie Hill: Again, with the way that people are finding you online, the kind of the cycle that that Podium kind of worked in is. When you go to Google, for example, and you do something like Acee repairing your meteor furnace or repairing near me a big way, that Google kind of ranks you on online searches based off of recency and frequency of reviews. And so, again, that's where Podium started. And we wanted to make it really easy to target those happy customers who are more than willing to leave.
Katie Hill: Your review is just about making it simple for them, right. That's why you probably saw those companies who they purchased Podium and all of a sudden they're getting flooded with reviews. It's because they're seeing so many customers and they're just maximizing on that right. By making it simple for those customers. Leave the reviews and then when we notice, we want to take it one step further, because now that these customers we're getting you know, they're finding these companies and they're choosing them to do business with it's how do we how do we make that experience very convenient.
Katie Hill: And that's by way of texting. So what's really nice and especially kind of why it's caught on in the industry is because, frankly, owners are very busy people. I think that contractors are the busiest people I've ever encountered.
Katie Hill: You know what I mean? Yeah, it's you got to stay on top of your leads, but you got to make it simple for those interactions. And what we found it I mean, consumers are are constantly texting. Right. Like, that's the way that we communicate these days. And so it was almost like, why? Why aren't more businesses leveraging text message? So by making it easy to you have a little Podium chat that you can implement on your website and then we take that and then other methods of getting leads from directly from Google or from Facebook, we kind of create a centralized hub for these contractors to work out up to the Podium app so you can basically juggle all of your communication just right in that that one centralized inbox.
Katie Hill: So you're not ever missing a beat if you're on top of somebody is true for your you're fixing their furnace, whatever it is. Right. You get a lead coming through. Like the last thing that you want to do is miss on that response time. And so Podium makes it very simple to take those conversations with customers and kind of get that response time up, if that makes sense. So it's all about just the convenience making it easier.
Brian Bohannan: Yeah, you mentioned that text message is kind of the preferred method of communication. Now, there's a lot of people that still have yet to kind of solve that for their business. A lot of our customers are still maybe they've got the feature on the website now, and that's been a big uptick. But being able to text with communicate with customers instantly is big. And then as far as buying behavior of the of the of the upcoming generation, that is what they're doing.
Brian Bohannan: They're typing in air conditioning contractor or AC repair near me. They're going to look at the amount of it's just like Amazon has trained us, go up to the high Google Review count and the positives, the five star stuff. So you guys kind of when you package both of it together, it's really aimed at. It will allow you to grow with with the different changing buying patterns of this younger generation communication and just visibility. So I know a lot of our customers have used it and are using it, and I've heard nothing but positive stuff.
Brian Bohannan: So that's that's kind of why we reached out to kind of create a partnership as we there's a lot of mutual customers that can benefit from this, whether it is the the improved communication method. Or just simply the Google Review factor that that a lot of people are interested in, how do they learn more about upping their Google review so that they can compete a little bit or make up for some lost ground on some of these these companies that are going from four reviews to four hundred seemingly overnight?
Brian Bohannan: And they're like, right, I've been sitting here getting one or two reviews a month for 10 years. How is this happening? But so, yeah. It really is, and maybe I'm naive, but now that I've learned more about it, I think is everybody I think everybody's using Podium. And so you guys are doing a great job getting your product out there and training these contractors on how to do it. So what does it look like a little bit about the onboarding process? If some of our customers want to do No one, who do they talk to, who they reach out to and in to?
Brian Bohannan: How long does it take to get this up and running in your business and working for you?
Katie Hill: Yeah, I think that when a contractor hears about buying new software, you can be a little bit worried that just because, you know, with these different systems that are out there today, sometimes it's a few weeks of implementation and onboarding with Podium. It's it's typically a really simple plug and play like we can. You can usually start collecting reviews the same day that you sign up with Podium, which is awesome. It's it's a very user friendly interface in the sense that if you can text, you can use Podium, you know what I mean.
Katie Hill: And again, it's kind of that easy button to just help bolster your business into the modern age again, when it comes to just making it very simple to send out that request for a review, you know, collect your leads. Ultimately, you can even collect payment from customers via text message and then you circle back up with them for things like maintenance reminders and things like that. But that's why it's cool. It's been it's so relevant in the industry specifically.
Katie Hill: Yeah, I mean, just to help kind of bring into the modern age, even if you're, again, wary of new technology, it's a very simple, easy product to use. We make it we make it as easy as possible. Yeah, I think as far as coming into the modern age, touchless communication with your customers, we kind of all have an explosion of demand for that in the current climate on the and then making and how do we safely service air conditioning and plumbing and and so the how as far as the covid consideration this is, do you can you share a little bit about how people are using this during covid due to basically go touchless?
Brian Bohannan: Yeah, absolutely. So that was that was something really interesting to see. You know, when March 2020 rolled around, there was kind of this uncertainty on like how we're going to make this work. Right. And these businesses, a lot of companies had to kind of scramble to make sure that they were doing things, you know, taking the extra precaution with their with their customers and with the whole touchless interaction thing.
Katie Hill: What we found, obviously, like a lot of these companies had a great 2020, even despite covid. And that's because obviously year prior year, essential business. Right. You have to be out there. And so being able to kind of leverage Podium for the communication aspect of customers was huge for our clients. Being able to you know, we've added products recently, like being able to collect payment all via text message, where you simply send the customer a request to pay their bill.
Katie Hill: They do it on their own through that text message. It's super effective in the sense that people respond to that quickly. They see it and then you're getting paid right away. And then things like being able to send out bulk text messages to customers, hey, we're taking the extra precautions. And here's an update when the technicians are on their way. Things like that, just to get make it very simple to communicate and streamline that whole communication process.
Katie Hill: We haven't actually added a product this year because of that. And that's something I love about Podium. Once again, we started as a review company. We've kind of we're just constantly upping our game when it comes to just delivering more relevant products to our customers. But we actually added a video chat feature this year. And it's interesting because I'll see some trucks on the road kind of advertising. Hey, do a video console where instead of sending someone out to clients, tell them you can do a quick video chat via text message with that customer and kind of run a diagnostics remotely.
Katie Hill: So it's, again, really revolutionised revolutionizing the way that these businesses are. I’m not great with that word, apparently, but that's a fact, again, with the way that these businesses are running because they're able to do so much more and do it remotely.
Brian Bohannan: Do you know there is a there are a lot of good things happening on the Podium side. So that's if you're a JB Warranties customer and you want to learn more about this, we're going to host a webinar which will end with a Q&A session. So it'll be me and Katie. We may add a few other people to the panel, but we want people to log in. The webinar is going to be February 16th at noon Central and bring us your questions.
Brian Bohannan: We want to answer them. We're excited about this partnership. We want you to take advantage of it. There will be some discounts exclusive to J.B. Morty's customers. So we'll have more on during the webinar on that front. But if you if you've been curious how these reviews are just being generated or if you are interested in text communication with your customers or if you want to learn anything else about the great things going on. A Podium, February 16th, noon Central, we will send out an invite.
Brian Bohannan: Please join us and bring your questions. So, Katie, I appreciate you joining us today. Excited about the partnership, excited for some of the borders. Open up a little bit so we can get out there now and come see you guys. We want to see your facility. And if you guys are down in Texas, please feel free to stop by and take a tour of the new campus for sure.
Katie Hill: Yeah, that'd be awesome. Skiing if you come up to Utah.
I Brian Bohannan: t's been a few years. I hit the bunny slope with you. I'm interested. I'm interested. It's a bucket list and I'm not going to escape. But for now, that's all we wanted to share today. So registration to follow. If anybody would like to join us on the sixteenth, feel free and we will see you then. Thank you.
Katie Hill: Thank you so much.
Director of Operations at JB Warranties