Mattress Firm, the nation’s largest mattress retailer, implemented Podium to increase lead generation, improve the online review process, and communicate better with customers both nationally and at the local level. With Podium, Mattress Firm increased reviews by 140%, improving their average star rating to 4.8 stars. At the local level, Mattress Firm saw a 214% increase in reviews per location, boasting over 305,000 new reviews with Podium. Lead generation increased through Podium Website Chat, creating nearly 150,000 leads, converting at over 23%, and generating millions in revenue. With faster review requests, better online communication with customers, and a streamlined internal process—a single inbox for all customer messaging—Mattress Firm saves time, improves the customer experience, and increases revenue with Podium.
About Mattress Firm
Founded on July 4, 1986, Mattress Firm started as a small, mom-and-pop shop in Houston, Texas. Today, they’re nation-wide, coast-to-coast, and boast 2,600 locations. As the nation’s largest mattress retailer, they employ over 6,600 sales employees. They’ve branded themselves the “match-you-with-the-right-mattress-for-you business,” with customer satisfaction at the top of their priorities. Mattress Firm Sleep ExpertsTM begin their careers with over 230 hours of training so they can help each customer pick the right mattress at the right price, every time.
Mattress Firm isn’t just concerned about customers getting a good night’s sleep, they’re invested in a positive customer experience. And for many customers, that experience starts online. Steve Barnes, Senior Manager of Omnichannel Integration at Mattress Firm, and his team are responsible for any digital product or omnichannel customer experience that will be customer-focused or used by a sales associate. Before Podium, collecting reviews, engaging with customers digitally, and even confirming mattress deliveries was challenging.
Challenge #1: Asking for reviews was a clunky, disjointed customer experience
Before Podium, asking customers for a review was more of a grassroots effort in each store. Each location would seek out customers and then ask them to submit a Google review. And while some stores would ask for a Google review, others would ask for a Yelp review.
To add to the chaos, the corporate office at Mattress Firm had their own, somewhat clunky, review collection process done primarily through email. It would populate store locator pages, the website, and add specific product reviews, but more often than not, customers wouldn’t even open the email.
Review collection efforts from each store location and the corporate office created a serious visibility problem. Each store didn’t know how, or even if, corporate was collecting reviews, and the corporate office wasn’t aware of each store location’s efforts. And customers weren’t responding anyway.
“We predominantly used email campaigns. We’d send post-transactional emails. And we were okay at collecting them, but the big struggle was that we weren’t doing anything with the information other than celebrating how many Google reviews we had,” said Steve.
To make matters more complicated, the stores and the corporate office didn’t assign a customer service team to respond to or react to each review. As negative reviews were posted, customers received zero feedback from Mattress Firm.
Challenge #2: Covid-19 brought on an urgent need for digital transformation
The global pandemic accelerated Mattress Firm’s urgent need for a digital customer experience. Nearly two-thirds of the 2,600 locations were temporarily closed. They needed a way to engage customers while employees were working in a store—without the ability to see customers face-to-face—or working from home, servicing customers from a distance. Phone calls and emails weren’t the right fit to help and sell to customers also stuck at home.
“While more than half of our stores were temporarily closed, due to COVID-19, we needed a way for employees that were still active, whether working in a temporarily closed store—without customers coming in—or at home, to be able to service all of our current customers. We also needed a way to still be in contact with potential customers and sell to them through a new channel,” said Steve.
Challenge #3: The delivery confirmation process was manual and often undocumented
When a customer called into their local Mattress Firm store to confirm an appointment or check on an order, there was no record of the conversation. For the furniture and mattress industry, COVID-19 brought on large manufacturing delays, increasing the number of phone conversations with customers—all without a paper trail. Without a record of when or what time a customer’s mattress would be delivered, the store and the customer relied on timelines that would often change, creating a disjointed—and often negative—customer experience.
The Podium Solution
Before the global pandemic, Mattress Firm rolled out a pilot of Podium, solely for reviews. They started with a small market, but quickly expanded to medium-sized markets, and eventually, they introduced Podium to the entire enterprise. Mattress Firm needed a new solution to stay connected to their customers, make it easy to leave a review, and speed up their shift to a fully digital customer journey. And with Podium, they found exactly what they needed.
“We got some really great results from our Podium pilot. We ultimately decided to roll it out to the entire company. And then COVID happened. We had to accelerate our plans and pivot to stay connected to our customers,” said Steve.
Before Podium, the corporate office and each store location were misaligned on how to collect customer reviews. Now, with Podium Reviews, it’s a simple, intuitive, and easy process for store associates to request a review and for customers to actually complete the request.
“After we expanded our offering with Podium, the biggest area of opportunity that we solved was just making it easier for our customers to leave a review,” said Steve.
The team now trains their employees on how and when to request a review. They start kicking off the review process as customers sit at a desk during checkout, or as they are leaving the store. And when they receive a negative review? The team is immediately notified and they can reach out to the customer and make it right.
Even customers that come in to speak to the Mattress Firm Sleep ExpertsTM and don’t make a purchase—if it’s been a positive experience the store associate asks them to write a review.
“The review process with Podium is very easy and simple for our customers. I guarantee it’s led to the success we’ve seen in our reviews,” said Steve.
Podium Website Chat
As Mattress Firm prepared to roll out Podium Reviews across the enterprise, the global pandemic presented a new challenge—how could store associates stay connected to customers when two-thirds of their stores were temporarily closed? The answer? Podium Website Chat.
“Business was good, but the global pandemic helped us take all of our priorities and focus on the ones that we needed to dial in on. And in the digital space—COVID eliminated all of the noise and allowed us to really accelerate our progress,” said Steve.
What was planned as a six-to-eight month rollout turned into two and a half weeks. Mattress Firm implemented Podium Reviews and Podium Website Chat—immediately offering a quick and easy way for store associates to connect to customers digitally.
“We needed to shift our focus online and drive more traffic to the website. So for two months straight, we had “hackathons” to figure out what we could do, how we could make it easy for customers to shop and access our sleep experts, get advice, and get serviced,” said Steve.
Mattress Firm needed to drive sales on the site. And with Podium Website Chat, they found what they needed. They added Website Chat to the site with options to call or to text. They routed chats from all of the popular pages on their site, helping people shop and find a store near them.
“And right out of the gate, after we launched Podium Website Chat, with very little training, people were using it immediately. We needed it to work and it worked,” said Steve.
Podium Website Chat also makes routing each message to the right person easy. Mattress Firm’s company hierarchy is vast. They boast five major sales divisions, then multiple regions, market levels, and then eventually, district levels. A district-level could be a bundle of 10 to 20 stores, depending on the location in the United States.
Each chat goes into a district-level inbox, rather than to a skeleton crew at each individual store location. At the district level, there’s always a minimum of 10 team members ready to respond and engage with customers via Website Chat.
“Website Chat has really created an efficiency that we needed. It’s helped ensure our customers will get a more timely response,” said Steve.
Reminder messages, sent via Podium Inbox, have also improved the overall customer experience. And it’s all automated. When a delivery is more than 48 hours away, Podium triggers a message flow and sends a series of messages reminding the customer of the delivery date and asking for a confirmation of information. Customers can quickly confirm the appointment and update any information that’s out-of-date. And if the customer has a time conflict, Mattress Firm can quickly reschedule.
“If a customer needs to change a delivery time and they respond back to our automated messages, the workflow then notifies the store with what needs to be changed. We can take action very quickly without having to get on the phone,” said Steve.
Results and ROI
Result #1: A better, more modern customer experience
One of Mattress Firm’s key priorities and core values is putting the customer first. With a digital, omnichannel experience, customers are now the true focus. Now customers can find and read more consistent and relevant reviews in their online search, interact with a local store associate via Website Chat, confirm or adjust delivery dates and times, and leave a quick review, all from their mobile device.
“Podium, more than any other tool or product we’ve launched in the past 10 to 15 years, really helps us put the customer first. It’s allowed us to reach out to our customers, and vice versa, more easily and more smoothly than anything else we’ve ever tried. Just giving our customers the ability to shop from their couch, with a person available via Website Chat, has been huge for our stores,” said Steve.
Result #2: Created a seamless digital-to-physical experience for every customer
Mattress Firm knows that when a customer connects to a local person, it elevates the experience and the sale has a higher rate of converting. Instead of staffing customer responses from the lean, corporate team or having to hire a central team, Mattress Firm now relies on the 6,500 employees ready and eager to communicate with customers. And each message with a customer has a connection to their local store.
“Podium puts the power back into the stores. Instead of relying on a small corporate team, we now have 6,500 people ready to respond to customers. And it’s a better decision from a staffing standpoint and a customer experience standpoint. Our customers can literally chat with someone and then an hour later…see them in person. It’s fantastic,” said Steve.
Connecting customers to local store reps not only scales customer communication, but it also improves the online to offline customer experience—creating a seamless digital-to-physical customer journey. When a customer’s first interaction with Mattress Firm starts online via Website Chat and then transitions to an in-person purchase, sales increase, the average sales order is higher, and most importantly, customer satisfaction scores improve.
“Website Chat also helped customers with a seamless online to in-person transition. When a customer shops in a store, the ticket average is higher, NPS averages are higher, and the customer has a better overall experience, speaking face-to-face with a Sleep Expert,” said Steve.
Result #3: Gathered 305,278 new reviews in 2020 while keeping a 4.8-star rating
The quantity of reviews that Mattress Firm is collecting more than doubles the numbers they were getting (and are still getting!) from their email review request efforts—and they saw those results as quickly as the first three months. This represents a 140% increase in reviews (lifetime with Podium), and a 214% average increase per location for Mattress Firm. And while their review rating was high before Podium, the relevancy and recency of reviews have improved dramatically.
“It shocked me how quickly we were able to double the amount of reviews we had when we launched Podium. It was overnight! It was amazing how fast we were able to increase the quantity of reviews for our company,” said Steve. “We’re still sending review requests via email, but the amount we actually capture pales in comparison to what we get in a single month from Podium.”
Result #4: Improved online reputation as a competitive advantage
The mattress retail space is crowded. But as more and more customers read reviews to help them select the best-of-the-best in not only comfort, but price and overall customer experience, online reputation is critical. And Mattress Firm knows it.
“We know that when we rank higher on Google than our competitors, the competition doesn’t last. It’s been proven time and time again with the small-to-medium-sized retailers that compete with us. Their online reputations never amount to what ours is. And with Podium, we just continue to add to that with more relevant and recent reviews,” said Steve.
Result #5: 148,383 Website Chat leads in 2020 leading to millions in revenue
During the 2020 global pandemic, when retail stores had to close and foot traffic was low across the world, Mattress Firm’s implementation of Website Chat kept leads flowing in. Those leads convert at 23.5% on average, which has resulted in tens of millions of dollars in revenue. Now that stores are open again, the Mattress Firm team also uses Website Chat to connect customers to their local store faster. This creates a better shopping experience for the customer and increases sales for the brand.
“Our main goal with our website is to inform,” said Steve. “People can do research and figure out some things on their own, but ultimately, we want to direct them into our stores because we know the experience is better. Using Website Chat to facilitate this, our ticket averages are higher, our NPS scores are better, and ultimately, we make happier customers from it.”
Result #6: Fewer mattress delivery errors
By automating delivery confirmation texts, Mattress Firm has cut down on delivery errors. Customers are happier and store associates aren’t wasting time on the phone.
“Anyone who delivers anything can attest to all of the user error that comes into entering any customer information. Podium has really helped us automate it and make it really smooth. And we’ve tremendously cut down on delivery errors,” said Steve.
For Mattress Firm, the implementation of Podium was long overdue. Faster review requests, better online communication with customers, reduced delivery errors, and empowerment at the local store level has proved that when the customer is the priority, the experience for everyone gets better.
“Podium has helped us see a different side of Mattress Firm, but more importantly, it’s helped us learn better ways to communicate with customers in the way they want to be communicated with,” said Steve. “My philosophy is, if you bought a bed from Mattress Firm, it doesn’t matter who you talk to, you should be able to get service. I think there are a lot of opportunities to use a platform like Podium to really help streamline a lot of those communications and make it easier for our customers.”