About Budget Blinds of Salt Lake and Davis Counties
One of the original 10 Budget Blinds franchises, the Salt Lake City location opened in 1994. Run by Lindsay’s Fekitoa’s grandparents and mother, their location focused primarily on delivering blinds to customers’ homes in Salt Lake and Davis Counties. “We were one of the first 10 original Budget Blinds franchises and the first one in Utah,” said Lindsay, co-owner of the franchise. In 2021, Lindsay and her husband, Efi, took over the franchise and the business model has expanded to offering shutters, drapes, shades, and more. With just 8 employees, the Budget Blinds team is busy. Keeping up with customer communication was a challenge before Podium. In September of 2021, after the Budget Blinds convention in Nashville, Lindsay and Efi decided to give Podium a try. And they’ve seen strong results in just under a year. In only 9 months, Budget Blinds has increased their sales close rate from 45% to 60% and saved their team countless hours by routing 25% of their phone calls to text conversations. “The bottom line is that we can just streamline things a lot better with Podium,” said Lindsay. “The value that Podium Phones has brought to us has been time savings and profitability. It’s made those two things easier because we can streamline phone calls and texting all together.”
Before Podium, Budget Blinds of Salt Lake and Davis Counties didn’t have the option to text their customers. Their current phone provider wasn’t routing calls to the same phone numbers and sales reps were using their personal cell phones to connect with customers. Altogether, Budget Blinds was struggling with the following challenges:
- Adding texting with their current provider was too expensive. Lindsay and Efi inherited a Veracity phone contract from the previous Budget Blinds franchise owner. And while Veracity handled the Budget Blinds phones and internet, Lindsay was interested in adding texting as a way to connect with customers. Veracity suggested WebEx as an option with a $70 price tag for every user. “The price was outlandish and it just didn’t work for us,” said Lindsay.
- Working with their old system was frustrating. The phone contract the Fekitoas inherited wasn’t user friendly. The mobile app was hard to use and phone calls weren’t routed to the right person. “The app was glitchy and everyone got phone calls instead of just the one person that was supposed to be getting the call,” said Lindsay.
- Contacting customers after hours required the use of personal cell phones. Before Podium, sales reps were using their personal cell phone numbers to connect with customers. This made it difficult for Lindsay and Efi to track customer calls and to get a clear picture of customer history with communication scattered across multiple channels.
The Podium Solution
With Podium, Budget Blinds of Salt Lake and Davis Counties has saved time and increased their profits. A higher close rate and better call deflection to text conversations is making both the customer and the employee experience better. Plus, sending review requests and payment links via text has made both of those processes faster and easier. More specifically, Budget Blinds uses Podium to deliver:
- A single number for text conversations and phone calls. With other vendors, the option to add texting was a separate experience and using the same number for texting and phone calls was important to Lindsay. “We’ve had an established phone number since 1994 and it was just a natural transition to have everything bundled with Podium—phones and our texting,” said Lindsay. “For me, that consistency of having the numbers be the same really made the decision to bring on Podium.”
- A higher sales close rate. “We’ve seen a better closing rate since we implemented Podium,” said Lindsay. “We’re noticing that from our leads and people who have texted us.” The Fekitoas attribute that increase to more streamlined communication with Podium. “Our close rate has gone up because communication is easier,” shared Lindsay. “When people are up late in bed and want to text something, they can initiate that conversation or send in a question. There are no barriers to connecting with us now.”
- Full visibility into all customer communication. Now that all calls, customer notes, and text conversations are housed in the same system, Lindsay and Efi can get a clear view into all customer communication. “It’s so much easier to see what was said to each customer over text or in an email or on the phone. With Podium Phones, it’s a lot easier to see what was said and get real clarification,” said Lindsay. With Podium, they can easily catch any mistakes or get to the bottom of any miscommunication. “It’s helping us with accountability when things go wrong—getting to the bottom of what happened if something does go wrong.”
- More time to focus on growing their business. Podium has opened up time and opportunities for Lindsay and Efi to spend time on other tasks to help them grow their business. “Now we can schedule texts and avoid playing phone tag with customers,” said Lindsay. “It’s just easy to send a text and confirm appointments. And I don’t like to be on the phone so it’s so much easier to send a text and call it good.”
- Customer calls routed to the right person every time. With Podium, customer requests—texts and calls—are routed to the right person without a different phone number and without using anyone’s personal cell phone. “Podium has just made it a lot easier for sales reps to get in touch with customers,” said Lindsay.
- Generating better leads. Since implementing Podium, the Budget Blinds team is seeing a better response from Google leads. “We’re generating better leads from Google with Podium now. We have more people calling and texting us now,” said Lindsay. With the option to text when a customer finds Budget Blinds online, more customers are reaching out and the lead quality has improved.
- Faster response times to leads. Podium has made responding to leads a lot easier for the Budget Blinds team. “We’re definitely noticing higher response times to our leads. And texting helps so much after hours,” said Lindsay. “Even when customers have reached us after normal hours, we’re still able to see the text and know if it’s a problem that needs to be handled right away or if it’s something that can wait over the weekend.”
- A better app experience. “Logging into the app and seeing the conversations and call logs—to know who’s calling and when they called—it’s so much easier to track customers with Podium,” said Lindsay. With the Podium app, Lindsay can check in on customer conversations with sales reps wherever she is—at home or at the office. “I use Podium to track our reps’ communication with customers. I can see responses and know that they’re doing what they need to do to make the customer experience better.”
- An easier way to collect online customer reviews. The Fekitoas are also experiencing another benefit with Podium texting—a better response to review requests from customers. “When a job is complete, we have the option to send a review request from text or through email,” said Lindsay. “But when we text the review request to our customers, we get more reviews.”
- A faster way to collect payments through text. Sending payment requests has also improved after implementing Podium. Now, the team can send a payment link right in the text conversation they’re already having with a customer. “Having the payment links in text messages has been incredibly helpful,” said Lindsay. The new payment experience is easier for customers and the employees at Budget Blinds.
Results & ROI
In just 9 months, Budget Blinds of Salt Lake and Davis Counties has used Podium to see results like:
→ 25% of phone calls now routed to text conversations “Since Budget Blinds is pushing more brand consistency across every franchise, Podium Phones has made streamlining communication through one phone system has been so much easier,” said Lindsay. And the Budget Blinds team is seeing that with more customers consistently choosing to text instead of stay on a call. By offering both options with the same phone number, it’s easier for customers to continue conversations through text, saving the Budget Blinds team 25 – 35% of the time they used to spend on the phone.
→ 33% increase in sales close rate Before Podium, Budget Blinds consistently saw a sales close rate between 40 – 50%. Now, with Podium Phones and texting, Budget Blinds has increased their sales close rate, despite market slowdowns. “Usually we can plan on our closing rate landing between 40 – 50%. With Podium, we’re now between 50 – 60%,” said Lindsay.
→ 10+ hours saved every week by routing phone calls to text conversations By giving callers the option to text instead, Lindsay and her team have saved at least 10 hours every week on the phone, and have been able to offer each customer their preferred communication channel.
“Podium is worth every penny. We’re able to communicate efficiently with our customers through Podium. I would tell anyone on the fence, I would 100% pick Podium.”
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