About Duerden’s Appliance & Mattress
Duerden’s Appliance & Mattress, located about 10 minutes north of Salt Lake City, has been a part of the local community in Bountiful, Utah since 1957. It began as a general hardware store called Duerden’s Western Auto, evolving and changing over time with the original family owners, until eight years ago when it was purchased by the current owner Todd Hall. Todd has a background in retail management and saw an opportunity with Duerden’s, partially to own and develop his own business but also to maintain Duerden’s as a thriving part of the community. For Todd, that means making sure he’s able to meet his customers’ needs quickly and efficiently.
Managing customer expectations
One of the store’s biggest challenges has been keeping up with a high volume of customer phone calls, and as part of that, communicating with customers about inventory—out-of-stock items, shortages, shipping delays, and so forth. Handling customer conversations in a timely and productive manner allows the Duerden’s team to stand out from the competition.
“A lot of customers with high-consideration items, I know they’re going to buy from us, but they need to think about it,” says Todd. Some customers spend days, weeks, or even months making a decision about purchasing a refrigerator or a mattress. They don’t want to be pressured; they want to feel like they’re making an informed decision. They will ask friends, read reviews, and compare and contrast models. But when they’re ready to buy, they want to be confident that they’ll get their purchase in a timely manner.
Cumbersome warehouse and delivery communications
Duerden’s has a daily challenge in making sure an order is communicated and passed along from sales to warehouse staff to delivery and installation without letting anything fall through the cracks. Their day-to-day includes handling 9 delivery trucks and over 30 people who work in the warehouse or on delivery crews. They are constantly communicating about delivery statuses, orders, parts, logistics, and scheduling, but they had been relying on group text messaging for communication, and a system of sticky notes to keep track of which team member was in which truck and who to contact with updates. Not only was that a messy process, but most group text messages are limited to 20 people, so one thread was not big enough for the whole team, and new text message threads would have to be created each time someone joined or left the company.
Fragmented payment processes
Duerden’s payments process needs to be able to work seamlessly, and until recently, they had a fragmented experience for the business and customers that cost money and time. “Because the cost was so much different on different platforms, we were using one platform for the credit card machine, another for phone, and still a third for online transactions,” says Jared Hunt, office manager at Duerden’s. “In addition to that, the information was often entered incorrectly, and the rates kept changing. One of the platforms would say, ‘Okay, we’re going to add this fee, or we’re going to do this for you.’” The Duerden’s team realized they needed to find consistency in their payment process to benefit both the customer experience and employee satisfaction.
The Podium Solution
“Customers say ‘Just give me some context. How much is it really going to cost? Do you deliver? Do I need the accessories? How do I complete the sales? Why is that oven better than that one?’ Podium takes care of both our most valuable and our most distracting things,” says Todd. With Podium, daily questions can be answered quickly, over text, rather than taking up valuable time answering phone calls.
Better, faster sales communication
For customers, that means it’s now easier to contact Duerden’s for a quick question—they can get a quick response by starting a text conversation through the Webchat widget on their website, or customers can text directly to their business line. “Our phone used to ring off the hook. We’d have 4-5 calls going at one time. Moving those conversations to text is really helpful,” says one salesperson. Being able to manage customer conversations quickly helps them concentrate their efforts where they’re needed most, helping every team member down the line.
Improved internal communication
Podium also helps internal conversations flow more smoothly, too—with Podium, messages can be sent to a group of any size, cleaning up all the logistical clutter of group texting. Now the Duerden’s team sends messages to groups organized by delivery truck, warehouse, or sales, greatly reducing the amount of time spent communicating internally. In fact, Duerden’s estimates they save a few hours every day with Podium. That’s a huge burden lifted. “If I get a call from a customer and they wonder how long it’s going to be before [the delivery] shows up, I can send a message through Podium to the truck that has that product and let them know that that customer is looking for an ETA. That can happen no matter who’s on which truck,” says Jared Hunt, office manager.
Not only that, the Duerden’s delivery team has also saved hundreds of hours per month by sending installation photos via webchat; before, installers had to upload photos one by one after an appliance installation, which proved tedious– especially on commercial jobs where the process would have to be repeated hundreds of times. But now they can bulk upload photos from their mobile device and send photos to the customer and to their system of record in seconds.
When it’s time to pay, Duerden’s Appliance customers can conveniently check out through Podium Payments with text-to-pay or in-store purchases instead of three separate payment vendors. That means the team can not only save time and costs associated with processing, but they can provide better customer service too, by allowing customers to conveniently pay when the time is right. With Podium, each transaction is part of a customer’s profile, so the team can keep things organized and better serve that customer the next time they text, call, or visit the store.
Results and ROI
In the past year, Duerden’s Appliance & Mattress has seen the following results through Podium:
→ 2,000 new leads
“The salespeople say it makes easy communication for people that have questions from our website. It makes a two-way conversation so that the customer can buy the correct product,” says Jared.
→ 3,300 efficient conversations
“If I get a call from a customer and they wonder how long it’s going to be before [the delivery] shows up, I can send a message through Podium to the truck that has that product on, and let them know that that customer is looking for an ETA,” says Jared—”that can happen no matter who’s on which truck.”
→ 90 minute average time to payment
“It saves us a lot of headaches, and hours of time every day,” said Todd. “Customers love it, and literally yesterday, I got a large payment on a project via text-to-pay. It’s super seamless because, whether they’re in the store and they’re touching the card, or whether they’re on the phone, giving you the number or text-to-pay, just various people feel different comfort levels.”
Duerden’s provides a world-class experience with Podium
Focusing on internal efficiencies has led to greater success at Duerden’s Appliance & Mattress. It’s not always work that the customer sees, but it’s work that the customer feels—reduced wait times, easier communication, and overall better service. And for the Duerden’s team, saved time means simplified processes and reduced costs.
Want to see how Podium can make your business more efficient? Start a free trial today.