For Valentine Roofing, it’s not about roofs but the people living under them. That may sound trite, but it’s truly baked into the way they run their business. Take their Peace of Mind program, for instance, where they install new roofs free of charge for people in need in the Puget Sound area. Plus, their commitment to their customers and community is visible in each customer communication.
“Connor (the founder of Valentine Roofing) is a real person of integrity,” Steven Heller, Sales & Technology Manager at Valentine Roofing, told us. “And he wanted to start a company that put the customer first, focused on seamless customer communication and going the extra mile.”
Steven explained to us that roofing has historically been one of the least trusted industries out there, according to many studies. People are usually going through a difficult time when they need their roof repaired or replaced, and the process is incredibly disruptive to their lives. If you’ve been displaced from your home, and your roofing company fails to communicate or deliver on expectations, that’s going to impact your life in a significant way.
“Our focus is on, how do we provide the best customer experience?” Steven told us. “People hate waiting around for days or even hours to hear back. We try to measure our response time in minutes rather than hours.”
Valentine Roofing has always been focused on providing a superior customer experience, but it wasn’t until two years ago that they discovered a better way to deliver that experience.
“We were communicating with our customers primarily through telephone and to a lesser degree, email,” Steven told us. “And we realized that we’re in the 21st century and people are communicating in different ways. So, by forcing ourselves to stick with only phone or only email, we were really limiting ourselves.”
Problem #1: Inefficient and inconsistent communications.
Valentine found that the speed and content of their communications with customers didn’t always represent their business values.
“Our team is top notch,” Steven said. “Every employee here is just firing on all cylinders. But sometimes, if left to our own devices, and we’re typing a message from scratch, we might miss things or we might not word things the way that would be best worded. Half of the time spent composing any message, email or text or whatever, is just thinking about what do I want to say? How do I want to word this? And especially, like I said, our team is so qualified, they’re really thinking about how they say things and they’re very customer service oriented but that requires some thought and that requires some brain power.
Solution: Streamlining communications with text message templates.
With Podium, Valentine discovered that they could create text message templates for every point in the customer journey, arming their team with clear communication at the click of a button.
“We’re on a mission right now to ignite the customer experience,” Steven said. “We’ve been customer focused for so long, but we’re just identifying ways that we can improve. So, one of the things that we realized is that our connection with customers on an individual level is so important. So, we developed bios for each one of our employees here who will have contact with the customer, and they’ll send that bio out to the customer just introducing themselves along with a photograph because you can attach photographs in Podium. So, the customer knows who they’re talking to. We’re trying to humanize that connection. We don’t want them just to feel like they’re talking to a nameless, faceless company but that they’re talking to a real human being here and having this conversation with this person who is invested in the success of this project.
Result: 9,930 customer conversations managed with Podium.
Problem #2: Online reputation didn’t reflect reality.
Valentine’s online review ratings were decent, but they didn’t have enough reviews to rise to the top of local search results.
“We realized that we had not been focusing enough on our reviews prior to Podium,” Steven said. “We’re one of the biggest, if not the largest, roofing company in the Puget Sound area, and our reviews did not reflect that. Our reviews on Google and Facebook, not that the quality wasn’t good. Our scores were good, there just weren’t enough reviews.
Solution: Collecting reviews via text.
With Podium, Valentine started sending their customers a simple text invite to leave a review with the tap of a couple of buttons.
“It was so easy to use Podium to harness that ability to just send the customer a [text] review request,” Steven said. “I don’t fill out reviews for things that often myself. It’s just that I don’t have time and it’s a pain. But once I saw how it works with Podium, when a customer gets a review request it’s like two taps, pretty much, two or three taps and they’ve posted a review. And maybe they’ve said something, maybe not but we’ll take a five star review just the same whether they comment or not, although we love to hear what they have to say. So that was just the ease and the simplicity just to get people to be able to fill out a review was key.”
Result: 592 new reviews with a 4.6 average star rating
Problem #3: Inefficient payment process was costing time and money.
Valentine noticed that their payment process wasn’t as efficient as it could be, resulting in unnecessary work for their accounting team (and their customers).
“Before Podium Payments sometimes people would call in,” Steven said. “Predominantly our accounting team would just send out a QuickBooks payment link and they would pay via that. It worked okay. It was just slower. It relied on someone here back at the office to generate that or they would call in and speak to our sales support team who would process the transaction. So, no matter what, we were adding layers of other people who they would have to call in or wait for us to email them. So, it just slowed everything down.”
Solution: Collect payments via text and wireless card readers.
With Podium, Valentine started collecting payments through either a simple text link or wireless card readers, making it faster and easier for their accounting team and their customers.
“The first step when Podium Payments became a thing is that the estimator would, on the Podium app on their phone, generate a link and send it via Podium to that customer,” Steven said. “So, they would receive it as a text message. Super easy. Also, once they saw how easy it was to pay and they could use Apple Pay or whatever their digital payment solution or situation was right on their phone. It was just so fast. And to be able to have the estimator right in front of the customer generate that link and send it to them, it was awesome.”
“The next step was a few months ago when we got the card readers. As soon as I showed that to the sales guys they were just losing their mind. I did a little demo showing how you just generate the payment, the customer taps their card, done. They loved that and they immediately started just flocking to that because it’s a more secure transaction as well. The pricing is a little better because the customer has the card present. I used to be in the payments industry for many years so I’m familiar with how it works. I don’t know what degree of our down payments are via Podium pay but I would venture near all of them. So, yeah, it became the way that we operate.”
Result: $6.7 million collected via Podium Payments.
“For us, knowing that communication is so important, Podium is a key piece in our strategy for our relationships with our customers,” Steven told us. “I don’t know how we would operate the same way without it.”