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Podium review

Consolidating all your business messages into a single inbox

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(Image: © Podium)

Our Verdict

Podium makes it easier for businesses to communicate with their customers across a variety of channels using a single service. The free version offers a great way for interested users to test out Podium for themselves.

For

  • Free version
  • All-in-one tool
  • Review functionality

Against

  • Opaque pricing

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.

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.

Podium evaluation

Certain features are available from Podium’s free service (Image credit: Podium)

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.

Podium evaluation

Interested users can watch a number of video demos on Podium's site to learn how the service works (Image credit: Podium)

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.

Podium evaluation

Users can manage messages from various sources in one inbox (Image credit: Podium)

Features

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.

Video Chat

Podium's video chat feature makes it easy for businesses to connect with customers face to face (Image credit: Podium)

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.

Teamchat

Teamchat allows employees to collaborate with one another (Image credit: Podium)

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.

Podium evaluation

Users receive a dedicated customer service agent (Image credit: Podium)

Support

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 competition 

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.

Final verdict

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.