Vineyard City just passed the one-year mark working with Podium to create faster and better communication with residents and build stronger relationships with them. We know our residents are using their phones, and Podium enables them to connect with city staff directly on their mobile devices.
How We Use Podium
Vineyard City’s Communications team has assigned representatives from various departments to answer inquiries directly within the Podium Platform. In addition, the Communications team created friendly templated responses to our most asked questions, about issues such as pavilion rentals and splash pad operations. We also rely on staff members from various city departments to respond to specific questions.
A major benefit of Podium is that whether our staff members are sending a templated response or are involved in more in-depth conversations with our residents, all of the communication takes place in the same spot. This means that we can respond more quickly and ensure that no inquiries fall through the cracks.
Most recently, we held a city-wide event called Vineyard Days. We used Podium for a text message campaign to keep residents informed of announcements about the event. We also used Podium for ticket sales on the day of the event.
Our Podium Best Practices
In order to have a unified approach to using Podium to respond to our residents, we created a Podium Best Practices graphic for each staff member who is assigned to respond to a post at their desk. Our Podium best practices include:
→Use the resident’s name when beginning a conversation.
We strive to be personal and conversational with our residents when responding to them so using their first name is an easy way to start a conversation with this tone in mind.
→Respond as soon as you can. If you need to research something or won’t be responding right away, let them know when they can expect a response.
This is an important point because we don’t want residents to use another platform (such as social media) to complain that we did not respond to them.
→If you need to reassign the conversation, let them know who you will be connecting them with.
Sometimes people’s questions are complex, or overlap two departments and require more than one response. We want them to know we are working on a complete answer to their questions.
→Do not ask someone to call or email you. If their question is too complex to answer over text, offer to call them by responding, “Are you available for me to call you at this number?”
Since they have already reached out to us through Podium, if the conversation needs to be moved off of Podium, we show them respect by initiating a phone call.
→Ask if there is anything else we can help with before ending the conversation.
A phrase we like to use is “Please let us know if we can answer any other questions.” When we are focusing on building relationships by offering to continue the conversation, we are building trust.
Using Podium has enabled Vineyard City to take payments, interact with residents, answer questions, and use text campaigns to publicize events and disseminate information. We love using this technology—it has made our interactions with residents easier and allows us to build relationships with them that cannot be facilitated in any other way.
Want to see what Podium can do for you? Sign up for a free, no-strings-attached 14-day trial and start gathering reviews, texting your customers, collecting payments, and more, all via the preferred communication channel—text.