+600%
monthly review volume
4.4 → 4.9
change in star rating
+15%
web traffic from Google Business Profile

This is a fake video section for testing.

About Schoonover BodyWorks

A family owned and operated business for nearly 85 years, Schoonover Bodyworks is an auto body and glass repair shop in Shoreview Minnesota. Mike Schoonover, president and CEO of Schoonover Bodyworks, is the third generation owner of the business. “We’re a one stop shop for customers’ automotive needs. We handle painting, bodywork, tires, brakes, and glass,” said Mike. 

In June of 2019, Schoonover implemented Podium to streamline the review process with customers. In three years, they’ve increased their average monthly reviews by 600% and improved their average star rating from 4.4 to 4.9. Podium Webchat has also helped the team capture more inbound leads from their website. Today, 83% of all inbound leads come from customers texting through Webchat. 

The Challenge

Before Podium, Schoonover Bodyworks was struggling to get organic leads online. Their online presence was low and they were dependent on insurance companies for most of their leads. Plus, their customer communication strategy relied on outdated methods that weren’t scalable. Schoonover described their challenges this way: 

  • Their online presence wasn’t built to capture new leads
    In 2018 we decided to pull our business off the insurance programs,” said Mike. While these insurance programs sent leads directly to Schoonover, they created a poor experience for customers. “Because the insurance company said a business was a preferred shop, they could control the costs. We realized that the insurance companies weren’t working on behalf of their customers,” said Mike. Making the switch away from insurance leads was a big shift. Schoonover needed an online presence with high Google reviews to help direct new prospects to their website and to their business.
  • Their customer review program wasn’t working
    Collecting reviews before Podium was a difficult process. The 60 reviews they did have were positive, but the process to get those reviews was challenging. “We really didn’t have a good way to ask customers to go on Google and leave us a review,” said Mike. They relied on a sign on the counter and employees asking customers directly. “Asking customers verbally was awkward. It didn’t make any sense.”
  • Their customer communication strategy was outdated and difficult to scale
    Before Podium, the Schoonover team relied on outdated methods of communication to connect with customers. Mike explained, “we weren’t really using anything other than in-person meetings, phone calls, and emails.” These methods didn’t follow any type of formal or standardized method for customer communication and they weren’t scalable. “We needed a solution that would make it easier for customers to do business with us.”
  • Inefficient local marketing tactics wasted more than $100,000
    After spending more than $100,000 on Yellow Pages advertising, the Schoonover team realized they wasted more than their marketing budget–they had wasted valuable time communicating with poor Yellow Pages leads. With few leads and even more time spent on the phone with the leads that did trickle in, the team needed a better way to attract new customers, efficiently answer their questions, and convert them to paying customers.

The Podium Solution

With Podium, the Schoonover team created a better process for collecting reviews, communicating with customers, and building an online presence to organically attract new leads. Schoonover uses Podium to deliver: 

  • A scalable, personalized customer review request program
    With Podium, Schoonover sends a review request to every customer after every interaction. “We send a request to every customer so we get real ratings on our Google reviews,” said Mike. “And new customers see those reviews. They can see we’re a family owned business that’s been around for 85 years with a 4.9 rating. Other shops have a 4.7 rating, so they decide to bring their car to us.” The Podium competitor dashboard gives the team a real-time comparison between their shop and local competitors. “I can show my employees that we’re first in total Google reviews amongst our competitors. I look at it several times a week.”
  • A faster way to communicate with customers
    Podium is helping the Schoonover team communicate better and faster with customers. “Podium has allowed us to be more efficient with customers, answering questions, and scheduling appointments [via text],” said Mike. “If we didn’t have Podium, we would be hard to do business with. People expect you to get information to them quickly. Podium helps us fill that void that we didn’t have before.”
  • A better way to collect leads online with Webchat
    With more reviews on Google, more prospects are finding their way to the Schoonover website. And with Webchat, customers have a convenient way to get in touch with the Schoonover team via text, and the team can quickly respond to customer questions. Before Podium, the business voicemail was full every Monday morning. Now, the team communicates primarily via text, and can field requests beyond traditional business hours. “Podium has given us another way—as a single location—to be a bigger player, to be like the big guys that have that capability of communicating with their customers.”

Results & ROI

Since 2019, Schoonover Bodyworks has used Podium to see results like: 

→ An increase in organic leads—no longer dependent on insurance company leads
Podium has helped Schoonover Bodyworks step away from insurance company leads and increase their organic leads with a larger online presence. “We’re not relying on insurance companies sending us work anymore,” said Mike. “And now we don’t have to work very hard at getting leads because we have Podium.” From Webchat alone, Schoonver has collected more than 1,100 leads and they average 40 – 50 new leads per month. 

→ 600% increase in reviews per month

By modernizing their review request process with Podium, Schoonover has seen a 600% increase in reviews per month. Before Podium, the business boasted just 60 reviews. With Podium, Schoonover has grown to more than 580 reviews.

→ 4.4 → 4.9 average star rating
With more reviews from customers, Schoonover’s average star rating has increased by ~11%. Compared to their top competitors, Schoonover has the highest average star rating—4.9 vs. 4.7. “In the automotive world, you want to pick the best. Having the Google rating where it is, that shows that we work really hard. Podium helped us get there,” said Mike. 

→ 5 – 6 hours saved per day on phone calls

“We’re more productive now. What used to take a five-minute phone call is just a quick text back and forth with the customer. Plus, we’re sharing more information than we could in that five-minute phone call,” said Mike. The front office team is saving 5 – 6 hours on phone calls every day. And, because customer communication is now digital, the front office team can manage multiple customer conversations at the same time.

→ ~$100,000 marketing budget saved annually 

Since implementing Podium, Schoonover’s total marketing spend has dramatically decreased with at least $100,000 saved annually. “We don’t spend money on any other online advertising. Podium is well worth the money. I don’t even look at it as an expense,” said Mike. 

 

“It doesn’t matter what size your business is. Podium is a valuable tool for so many different reasons—keeping track of how you are doing, understanding how happy your customers are, getting new customers, and communicating with customers before and after a sale. It’s all real time.” 

“Podium checks off so many boxes that a business needs, especially a small business where you have an active owner and limited—you’re able to do a lot more with Podium.”

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3-4x
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1,200+
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About Unstoppable Auto Group

Since its early days, Unstoppable Auto Group has focused on delivering an incredible customer experience with every car sale and car service appointment. Ever since starting the company in 2014, Unstoppable Auto Group’s founder—Garth Blumenthal—has had ambitious plans. Just 8 years later, the group has grown to 5 luxury dealerships and now has plans to grow to 20+ across the country. Unstoppable Auto Group currently serves customers across Southern California at the following dealerships:

In just one year, Unstoppable Auto Group has used Podium to connect with customers via text, grow their online reviews to more than 7,000 across all locations, modernize the payment experience, and maximize marketing efforts with text campaigns that consistently bring in 20-30% click-through rates. Podium helps Unstoppable Auto Group sell more cars and grow their business easily.

 

Challenges

Before Podium, Unstoppable Auto Group needed to improve the reputation of a few dealerships they had recently acquired. Their existing reputation management software was outdated, expensive, and didn’t produce the results they were looking for online. And their efforts to grow the business through email marketing were falling short. More specifically, Unstoppable Auto Group needed help with these challenges:

Improving the reputation of a few recently acquired dealerships
“The reputation scores for our Audi and Volvo dealerships weren’t great on Google and Yelp,” said Amir Alahwal, the Dealer Development Director. But it wasn’t just online reviews that were negative, the manufacturer survey scores also needed serious help. “The surveys from the manufacturer, sent directly to the guests, were struggling. They send those after car service or after a car is purchased. And we just didn’t have a good reputation management process so the whole thing fell apart.”

Replacing an inefficient and expensive reputation management tool
The software Unstoppable Auto Group was using before Podium relied mainly on email invitations for reviews. “We were using Dominion Prime and mainly only sending out review requests through email. We noticed a consistent declining rate of responses and even email opens,” said Amir. But even the text option for review requests wasn’t producing the results they wanted—and it required manually texting every number individually. “The software was very expensive. And the texting platform wasn’t advanced. We had to text every number–every single number individually. And we didn’t get any reporting,” said Amir.

Pivoting away from an email marketing strategy that wasn’t producing results
The team at Unstoppable Auto Group needed a better way to reach customers with promotions and incentives. The current strategy—email marketing—was falling behind on response rates, just like the review requests sent via email. “We just weren’t seeing the results we wanted from email marketing. The open rates, click-through rates, and even attribution back to that channel were all lacking,” said Amir.

 

The Podium Solution


With Podium, Unstoppable Auto Group improved their review request process and grew their online reputation at each dealership. With Podium Campaigns, they turned their lackluster email marketing strategy into a turbo-charged text campaign strategy that produced incredible results. Plus, they modernized their customer payment experience with text payments. Altogether, Unstoppable Auto Group uses Podium to improve the customer experience and to deliver: 

An improved review collection process and online reputation
“In my opinion, reviews are the most important thing you can have—they’re a reflection on the customer experience and that’s what we stand by at each of our dealerships,” said Amir. Unstoppable Auto Group set up each dealership with Podium and the changes online happened overnight. “We set up each of our stores with Podium Reviews and it was pretty dramatic how quickly everything turned on and how fast we saw results.”

The process for sending out review requests is now automated—the team doesn’t have to send out each request manually. “After we sell a car, the review invite goes out to the customer within an hour. And that timing is critical.”

A better way to send marketing campaigns—with texting
Unstoppable Auto Group implemented Podium Campaigns, a better way to send incentives, promotions, and other messages to their customers with texting. “I knew the power of text, but to see what we see now—with how engaged our team is—texting with Podium Campaigns helps us sell cars,” said Amir. 

With Podium’s wide array of subscriber opt-in points, such as after a review is left or a payment is received, the team was able to quickly build a robust text marketing subscriber list in a short period time–over 11,400 customers subscribed in under 12 months.

And the results are faster than the team expected. “Texting is not like SEO where it takes several months. This is immediate. We send a text campaign out to a small fraction of our database in the last few days of the month and we sell cars. It’s very powerful.”

A more convenient, modern payment experience for customers
By adding Podium Payments, the team can send a quick payment request via text. It’s adding convenience to the customer experience and modernizing the payment process, not to mention saving time at the dealership. “Podium Payments makes the payment experience faster. You can send a payment request via text after they visit the service department or while they’re right in front of you. It’s so nice to have it all in one software.”

And the setup for Podium Payments was fast and easy. “Traditional payment processors take at least a week to set up and they require you to buy credit card machines or processors. It can be expensive and you have to wait for everything to ship,” said Amir. So when Unstoppable Auto Group acquired a new dealership and needed to get set up quickly, they decided to try Podium Payments. “We were up and running with Podium Payments in one day. Podium shipped us free payment card readers and everything was so much easier. We started sending texts for down payments immediately.”

 

Results and ROI

In just one year, Unstoppable Auto Group has used Podium to see results like:

→ Campaign click-through rates of 20-30%+

After implementing Podium Campaigns, the team has seen incredible results with typical click-through rates between 20-30%. “We know that click-through rates between 9-12% are great, but when you see something along the lines of 35% with Podium, it’s unheard of. I’m so happy with it,” said Amir.

→ 1 text campaign sold 5 cars in 1 week with a 35% click-through rate

In just 1 week, Podium Campaigns helped Unstoppable Auto Group sell 5 cars. “The texting campaign basically pays for itself. We sent an Audi campaign that got a 35% click rate and we sold 5 cars in 1 week,” said Amir.

→ 7,000+ reviews across all locations with 1 location now boasting 3x the reviews

The number of online reviews for each dealership has improved dramatically. Overall, Unstoppable Auto Group has seen 7,000+ reviews come in across all locations. But at one dealership, they tripled their numbers. “We were averaging 10 reviews a month at one dealership before and after Podium, we immediately tripled it.”

→ 50% increase in average reviews per month

Each location is averaging 32 reviews per month now, a 50% increase from where each dealership was before implementing Podium. “We were paying double for our old legacy review software and it didn’t make sense. Now, we’ve increased our average reviews per month by at least 50%.”

→ 80% increase in reviews when payment requests are sent via text

Modernizing the payment experience has also increased reviews. “Customers are 80% more likely to fill out a review if they get a review request right after they get a payment link via text,” said Amir. Connecting with the customer via text is improving the entire customer journey—from first message to post-purchase reviews. 

“Podium has pushed us at least five years into the future. I would never go back to another platform because of how successful Podium has been. Podium has modernized our operations, enhanced our customer satisfaction, and allowed us to build loyalty with the customer.”

 

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44.5%
avg increase in net profit
12%
increase in CSI scores

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About Power Ford

 

Power Ford is a new and used car dealership in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Matt Sneed, the Director of Operations at Power Ford, joined the team in August of 2017, three months after his brother purchased the dealership. Together, as the Managing Partner/General Manager and Director of Operations, the brothers are driven by squashing the traditional, negative consumer perception of auto dealerships. “We’re focused on creating an exceptional ownership experience, while setting an example of excellence for others,” said Matt. With this focus comes a commitment to bringing customer experience to the forefront of their dealership.

 

Shortly after acquiring Power Ford, Matt initially decided to implement Podium to help transform the dealership’s online reputation. Since then, they’ve partnered with Podium to modernize how they communicate with customers.

 

 

The Challenge

 

Before Podium and the Sneed brothers, Power Ford struggled with brand awareness online due to a lackluster star rating on Google with reviews left mostly by the few unhappy customers. In addition, the dealership grappled with challenges such as:

 

  • Steep local competition
    Of the four other dealers in the Albuquerque metro area, Power Ford’s biggest competitor—with a significantly higher marketing budget, Matt noted—had been the number one Ford dealer for 27+ years. Low brand awareness kept the Power Ford team from catching up to even the number two dealer in the area. “The first thing we had to do was build a brand and create an exceptional ownership experience,” said Matt. “And we needed to back it up with reviews so we started to look at how we could increase our Google rating.”

 

  • Website leads falling through the cracks
    Matt looked into live chat solutions, but they required customers to wait for answers to their inquiries, while also having to stay on the website to get an answer. The Power Ford team wanted and needed more from communication with potential customers. “[Chat boxes] are already small, especially on a mobile device. And then when customers try to go back to the conversation, it’s just not a great experience,” said Matt. Plus, with additional messaging channels, like Facebook Messenger, the Power Ford team struggled to maintain consistency with each conversation. “You might have four or five different conversation windows up on your computer and things are going to fall through the cracks.” And if a specific team member was assigned to a specific conversation, the conversation stalled if the employee had to leave early or was out of office.

 

  • Email review requests weren’t working
    Before Podium, the only way we asked for reviews was via emailand that was less than excellent,” said Matt. “The reviews weren’t pushing to Google, so we needed to change that.” A lack of total reviews and reviews on the right sites created a challenge for the Power Ford team.

 

The Podium Solution

 

With the Podium platform, the Power Ford team saw incredible results—a better way to connect and communicate with customers throughout their customer journey. Reviews are easier to collect, lead response times are faster, revenue is up, and all messaging routes to a single inbox so no customer goes unanswered. More specifically, Power Ford uses Podium to deliver: 

 

  • A better, faster review request process
    “One of the initial reasons we went with Podium was to help us with reviews and we could see that Podium was easy to use. It was clear Podium was the answer,” said Matt. The review invite is sent via text at 9:00 a.m. the morning after a purchase. “We saw results instantly. Our review collection rate went massively up, and so did our score. It’s made a huge difference for us,” said Matt. The team has also found success with the option to select which review site to focus on and prioritize. “Once we have enough Google reviews, we switch to DealerRater. We might switch it for two months and then go back to Google.” And when an occasional negative review is submitted, “it gives us an opportunity to fix any issues prior to the OEM CSI survey that is sent to the customer three or five days later.”

 

  • A connected Webchat experience
    We are using Podium Webchat and it’s absolutely phenomenal,” said Matt. “Plus, we’re able to get a little PII, or Personal Identification Information, and that’s a huge benefit for us with Podium and transferring web conversations to text messages.” Now, customers can start conversations online and continue them on the go.

 

  • A proactive approach to communicate with customers
    Podium workflows tie directly into feedback from the customer. Now, when the service department opens a RO, they send a text message to the customer, introducing them to their service advisor and opening up the conversation via text. “It’s a direct line of communication and the easiest way for us to communicate,” said Matt.

 

  • A centralized messaging inbox
    With a centralized messaging inbox, customer messages across channels are all funneled to a single platform. Employees can easily respond to waiting customers and nobody gets ignored. “When you have a team of people looking at those messages and organizing them correctly, nobody goes unanswered,” said Matt. “Podium helps us respond to customers faster. And that provides a better experience.”

 

Results and ROI

 

In their four years partnering with Podium, Power Ford has enjoyed results like:

 

→ Power Ford—#1 Ford dealer on DealerRater for four years running

With a higher focus on reviews and 4.52 Google ranking, the team has improved their online reputation and search ranking, drawing in more leads and customers. “And Podium has been instrumental in that,” said Matt. “We’ve been the number one Ford dealer on DealerRater for four years running.”

 

→ An average net profit increase of 44.5% year over year 

Now that Power Ford has an optimized GMB page, they’ve seen a 27.2% increase in phone calls and a 19.3% increase in website traffic directly from their listing. And with Webchat, they’re also seeing better quality leads that translate into sales. “We’ve seen an increase in leads and customers in the last four years and a massive increase in net profit,” said Matt. “In 2021 alone we hit an all-time record and we attribute a lot of that growth to Podium.” 

 

→ Saved an estimated $42k from not having to hire another BDC employee

With the increased lead efficiency Power Ford has seen since using Podium, they’ve been able to adapt easily to increased demand—particularly in the last year. “It has honestly saved us in hiring another person in our Service BDC,” says Matt. “That’s around $42,000 in an annual salary.”

 

→ 12% increase in Service CSI scores from 2019 to 2020

When Power Ford switched to text messaging for the majority of their customer communications in their Service department, they saw a correlated increase in their CSI scores year over year. “We will still pick up the phone when we have to have hard or, you know, sensitive conversations with our customers, but overall our customers love the convenience of text updates—so much so that we’ve even seen a 12% increase in our CSI scores since we started doing it,” says Matt.

 

→ % Decreased average lead response times from 2.5 to <1 minute

“With Webchat we are able to get information to our customers faster, which creates a better customer experience,” says Matt. “We have actually also seen an increase in our CSI scores on the sales side—even during the pandemic. Even with customers paying more, they’re happier. And Webchat makes it easier for us to sift between hot leads and basic inquiries. Typically text message leads are a lot hotter than other leads. It has replaced a lot of phone calls coming in.”

 

→ Saved an estimated 83 hours per month and $21k per year in Service

Now that the Service department relies mainly on messaging to communicate with customers, advisors save a conservative estimate of 83 hours per month just by not having to make so many 5-minute—or longer—phone calls.“Customers love it because when you have a direct line of communication with the person who has your car, you feel better about that,” said Matt. “And we love it because it saves the team so much time. Advisors can carry on multiple texts at once rather than one phone call after another. We probably save around 83 hours a month just from that—and if you think about it, that’s like, $21,000 a year in cost savings, which is about half an employee salary. That’s a huge deal. It’s significant.”

 

Power Ford leads out in dealership customer experience with Podium

 

The Power Ford mission is to create an exceptional ownership experience. With Podium, they’re making it easier for customers to do business with them and changing the consumer’s perception of dealerships. And they plan to use more Podium in the near future. “Payments is next on my list,” says Matt. “Customers will be able to make payments via text before they even come pick up their vehicle. It’s modernizing the payment experience. And the customer experience,” said Matt.

 

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92%
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17%
lead conversion rate
5,454
subscriber opt-ins

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When Devin Stotts started working in the auto industry, half of Americans still weren’t on the internet; and the other half were spending only three hours a week online. If someone wanted to buy a car, they’d drive from dealership to dealership to compare pricing. Nobody could have predicted how the internet and smartphones would transform the industry and consumers more generally.

Today, the average American spends about 24 hours a week online—eight times more than they did back when Devin got started. And it’s not uncommon for people to buy their cars entirely online in 2021. We spoke with Devin, who’s the Director of Online Sales at Maus Family Auto, about how he has embraced digital transformation to succeed in the auto industry. 

“Whatever it takes to help us sell more cars is what I do.”

Maus Family Auto is the Gulf Coast’s premier pre-owned vehicle dealership with locations in Tampa, New Port Richey, and Homosassa, Florida. Devin is responsible for everything involving online sales and marketing at Maus.

“My day-to-day involves every store and multiple aspects of it between lead generation, CRM, responding to reviews, videos, social media posts…” Devin told us. “You name it. Whatever it takes to help us sell more cars is what I do.”

Adapting to a new kind of car buyer.

Two years ago, Devin noticed that prospects were starting to look much more closely at customer reviews. “The car business has changed dramatically in the last two years,” Devin told us. “And our reputation as a dealer is one of the biggest things that people look at.”

Devin realized that Maus would need to not only increase their average star rating, but also respond to reviews—both positive and negative—to show prospects that they care about their customers and will work to resolve any issues. 

“You’ll have people look three, four, or five pages deep, find a bad review, and ask you about that situation,” Devin told us. “If you’ve responded to it, at least you are a human-based business that cares what the customer says and is willing to respond.”

In addition to all of his other responsibilities, Devin was trying to manage the online reputation of all four Maus locations. He needed to find a solution that would make gathering and responding to online reviews much easier. That’s when he came across Podium. 

“If you look at most of our stores, we’re 4.3 to 4.5 [average star rating] across the board, which I can attribute primarily to Podium.”

With Podium, Devin’s team started sending out review invites via text to customers. In their first full month with Podium, they received almost 100 new customer reviews. But that wasn’t the most surprising discovery. Devin saw that his customers were not only leaving reviews, but also responding to those text messages, eager to provide feedback or even ask for follow-up services.

“[Podium] allows you to text that customer and try to resolve the situation,” Devin told us. “It opens up two-way communication to be able to resolve any potential issues.”

Doubling down on text messaging.

Devin recognized that his team could also use Podium to bring in new leads and respond to them almost instantly via text. 

“Each store has an internet team that goes ‘cradle-to-grave’ [with their leads] if you will,” Devin told us. “So the person that gets the lead handles it from start to finish. Podium gives us a second layer that we utilize to reach out to a customer by sending an introduction.” 

Here’s an example Devin shared for what that text introduction looks like:

Example: “This is Devin with Maus Nissan here in North Tampa. I wanted to thank you for your interest in the vehicle you followed online. We’re going to send you a quick video of that vehicle to show you that we’re here to help.”

Devin and his team were sold on the power of texting. They were bringing in hundreds of new reviews and leads every month. They were turning those leads into customers at a 17% conversion rate. And they felt as though nothing could stop them. Well, nothing except maybe a global pandemic.

Facing the challenges of COVID-19.

When COVID-19 started impacting the automotive supply chain and car prices spiked, buying at auction quickly became risky business. 

“Right now, auction prices are through the roof. Dealers are paying retail. So to buy a vehicle at the sale and then try to retail it and get paid is almost ludicrous,” Devin told us. “I mean, it’s just the weirdest time in the car business I’ve ever seen.”

Overnight, Devin and his team were handed a problem they’d never seen before. Maus wasn’t bringing in enough inventory, and the cars they were bringing in had much lower margins than they did prior to the pandemic. 

“So thinking through it, I’m just like, ‘How can I market to customers quicker to be able to buy cars, or at least bring the awareness that we do buy cars?’”

Devin reached out to his CRM team and explained that they were in dire need of trade acquisition. Together, they started brainstorming creative solutions to get the word out to people that Maus was looking for trade-ins and was willing to work with customers on pricing. One thing they started doing was sending an email blast to customers letting them know they would buy their cars on trade-in. The results of the email campaign were less than ideal.

Finding the solution in SMS marketing.

That’s when Devin’s account representative at Podium reached out to him about a new product called Podium Campaigns which would allow Maus to use SMS marketing to bring awareness to customers and prospects via text.

“Let’s face it, most people don’t open emails on a daily basis,” Devin told us. “Historically in the car business, text has been the best way to reach a customer in the moment.”

Devin and his team immediately started using Campaigns to see the difference in engagement between text campaigns and email blasts. Here’s what the text campaign looked like:

“Hi Alex, we recently sent you an email about buying your vehicle from you with no strings attached. If you are interested, let us know by replying to this text. Oh, and it’s the last day of the month and we have some great new car deals.”

Campaign results:

  • Total Subscribers = 2,967
  • Response Rate = 3.88%
  • Total Responses = 115

When Devin’s SMS campaign outperformed his email campaign, he realized he could also use Campaigns to accelerate new car sales to reach their monthly sales quota. That’s when he decided to run another SMS promotion with Campaigns to sell 10 new cars on the last two days of the month. Here’s what it looked like:

“Hi Alex, Maus Nissan of North Tampa family needs your help. We have to sell 10 cars between now and tomorrow night. If you or someone you know needs or wants a new car, reply to this so we can help! [link to new inventory index.”

Campaign results: 

  • Total Subscribers = 2,898
  • Click/Open Rate = 5.72%
  • Total Clicks = 166
  • Response Rate = 1.52%
  • Total Responses = 44
  • Cars sold: 8

“We got a good response,” Devin told us. “At the end of the day, we were able to sell seven or eight more cars off that note in a 48-hour window. We bought a couple of cars too. Campaigns essentially paid for itself.

Devin told us he’s planning to run a lot more SMS promotions in the future with Campaigns because the cost of retaining a customer is so minimal compared to the cost of acquiring a new car buyer. 

“The cost acquisition of a new customer in the car business is what, $600 to $700?” Devin told us. “But once they’re your customer, the cost of retention is minimal, right? I mean, if you have to take $10 off an oil change to get that customer to come back to you versus going to a third-party option, it costs you $10 to keep a $600 customer. I mean, why wouldn’t you, right?”

“I would definitely recommend [Podium],” Devin told us. “For the platform costs and what it does, it’s probably one of the best for the money out there… Text and chat are where it’s at.”

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63k
Total messaging conversations
21k
Inbound Webchat leads
1k
Reviews collected with Podium

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“A year ago, America’s Car-Mart didn’t have a customer experience department,” Darshan Lundy, Director of Customer Experience at America’s Car-Mart, told us at the beginning of our recent conversation. 

Darshan explained to us their strategy behind the new Customer Experience department and how it has become the heart of the company. It has broken down barriers that existed between departments. Customer Experience, Marketing, Sales, IT, and Collections now work as one to turn prospects into buyers, and buyers into repeat customers.

One thing was clear—other enterprise dealerships can learn a lot from America’s Car-Mart. But we were left with one question: what happened last year that triggered this new approach? 

The answer wasn’t what we expected. 

Since they started in 1981, America’s Car-Mart has grown to 150 locations in 12 different states. 

Most of the customers who buy from America’s Car-Mart have experienced some kind of financial distress. But like anyone else, they’re looking for a reliable vehicle to get them to and from work, to pick up their kids from school, to simply live life. 

“Your credit score doesn’t define you at America’s Car-Mart,” Darshan told us. “What does define you is who you are and what you’re capable of.”

And that’s not just talk. America’s Car-Mart has been proven to offer lower interest rates and shorter terms than other buy-here-pay-here dealers in the industry, according to Experian market averages. 

Despite the dealership’s impressive growth over nearly 40 years in the business, they discovered a major problem last year. 

Leading potential buyers to a dead end.

“If you wanted to talk to Car-Mart, you either got in your car and drove down to the dealership, or you called our main number and it would get sent to the corporate office,” TJ Pike, Senior Director of Marketing and Digital Experience, told us. “So there was this huge gap between us and the customer.”

In addition to that huge gap, there was a bigger problem.

“There’s a whole dignity aspect to this,” TJ told us. “As you can imagine, a lot of our customers are apprehensive about even coming into one of our dealerships and opening up about their financial distress. Many of them have been treated differently by society because of their financial situation.”  

America’s Car-Mart was missing out on potential customers not only because of outdated communication methods, but also because they weren’t giving their customers the anonymity they needed in order to feel comfortable. People often feel the same way about going to a dentist, a lawyer, or an accountant. It’s not easy to share intimate details about your life when you’re looking a stranger in the eye. 

Leaving poor communication in the rearview.

“I was working on a project where we started sending out payment reminders via short code text messaging,” Brad Tomlin, Director of IT, told us. “It turns out, customers were constantly trying to reply to those payment reminders, but we couldn’t reply back since they were built on short code texting.” 

That was their lightbulb moment. If customers were trying to respond to these simple payment reminders, imagine what else they’d want to do through text. What if customers didn’t have to physically come into the dealership or call in to explain their situation? What if they could start a conversation by simply sending a text to America’s Car-Mart? 

While they were searching for the right solution, they happened to get a phone call from someone at Podium. They went through a demo and saw that Podium would give customers the ability to start a conversation with America’s Car-Mart by sending a simple message. And no matter where the customer started—whether on car-mart.com, Google, Facebook, or another channel—all of those messages would come together in one, shared inbox. They could text back and forth with their customers, and they could even collect payments through text.

“We were like, ‘You know what, we can do this centralized,’ Darshan told us. “We can do this from our corporate office and take a lot off the dealership’s plate while still making sure our customers have a consistent but exceptional experience.”

That’s when they decided to create the Customer Experience department. That department now fields new leads coming in for all of their 150 locations, with the same focus our local associates have to build lasting relationships with the people in our community. Once the lead is ready, the Customer Experience team simply assigns them to the right associate at the right dealership—all within the Podium platform. 

“This has allowed us to bridge a gap that existed before where we were losing people because they were not comfortable coming in to share their story,” TJ told us. “They’re able to do that now. And that’s pretty powerful.”

America’s Car-Mart has bridged the gap between their business and their customers. But they’ve also bridged a gap that existed within their own company. Marketing, Sales, IT, Collections, and Customer Experience now work together as one to attract new customers, put them in the right cars, and keep them on the road with us. 

Before ending our conversation, we asked everyone on the call to summarize what Podium means to their respective teams. Here’s what they said:

Darshan Lundy, Customer Experience – “Because we did not always see things through the eyes of our customers, opening Podium was a very humbling experience. It allowed us to see the gaps in our communication that we continuously overlooked. At the end of the day it’s about what our customers want and what their expectations are.” 

TJ Pike, Marketing – “From the marketing side there are two things. Understanding the customer pain points for me personally is a gold mine. We’re trying to move from a promotion marketing environment where it’s all about me and what we can do, to what are the customers’ needs and what do they truly need help with. Podium now allows us to capture those needs in real-time. My team then springs into action developing and sending solutions-based communications across our marketing channels. And second is the response time. Before Podium, we had a ‘contact us’ form that collected an email address and a phone number on our website. It could have been days before anybody got back to that customer. Now our response time has been cut down to minutes and hours.” 

Dustin Edwards, Sales – “For me the biggest thing is the opening up of different forms or channels of communication for our customers. Before Podium, it was always by phone, or the customer had to come to the store if they wanted to do business with us. Starting text messaging has been huge, and to me it’s just opening up a number of forms of communication and texting was a big, big way of doing that. To me that’s where Podium really has taken us to another level of really a different touchpoint for us and being able to set up those appointments, get them to our locations, get them to our General Managers and to our sales associates, and being able to find the right vehicle for them.”

Josh Meltzer, Collections – “As people were furloughed, put on reduced hours, or had to quarantine, we began using Podium to let our customers know we were here to help. Within about a two and a half week timeframe our collections came right back in line in terms of our delinquency numbers. Podium gave us a new avenue of communication with customers regarding collections and really opened our eyes to a better, more comfortable way for customers to communicate during a stressful time.”

Brad Tomlin, IT – “My big thing is, I want automation. I want efficiency, ease of use, good API layers, and things like that. Working with Podium’s technology stack has been very easy. Podium was easy to get a hold of, easy to work with, and if we ask for things and they make sense, they try to add them to the product.”

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300+
Inbound Webchats per Month
20%
Webchat Lead Conversion
169%
Increase in Google Search Appearances

This is a fake video section for testing.

Most love stories don’t involve a lot of car wax, but in the late 1970’s, college sweethearts Joye and David Griffin fell in love among wet squeegees and the hum of a car vacuum.

Little did these lovebirds know, their after-school car-detailing business would eventually turn into Griffin Fast Lube, an empire of over 60 car maintenance shops. But the secret to their multi-million-dollar success had one little hitch.  

Collecting Feedback the Cumbersome Way

“We always pride ourselves in customer service,” said Bryce, Griffin Fast Lube’s marketing Vice President. “And we [used to base] our Customer Service score off of a phone survey that would call random customers from the previous week.” 

This survey provided the Griffins with customer feedback, a competitive advantage in a world of impersonal or inattentive car shops. But it also came at a price. The cumbersome process included collecting phone numbers, calling customers, asking questions, and then evaluating the data. The biggest issue was trying to fix problems that happened over a week ago, a problem that could have cost us hundreds of customers.

A Better Way to Communicate

“We needed to figure out a better way to communicate with our customer, because that’s where we really struggled,” Bryce said. “We get them when they come in- we can talk to them, but when they leave, we don’t really know.” 

Fortunately, that’s when they stumbled upon Podium. By adding the ability to text their customers and streamline the customer review process, Griffin Fast Lube’s feedback skyrocketed.

Podium also helped Griffin Fast Lube retain customers. “Seventy percent of our business is repeat customers, and we started to see a decline in the previous year,” Bryce said. “As soon as we started using Podium, we went up to almost 7% in repeat customer increase.”

Becoming a Customer for Life

“I can give you an example of this,” Bryce continued. “We had a customer contact us very upset; while one of our employee’s was vacuuming her car, during the oil change service, one of the doors of the vehicle didn’t get closed all of the way. Because she had an easy way to contact us through Podium, we were able to salvage that relationship and fix the problem. She’s was like ‘I wasn’t going to come back, but because you responded so quickly, I’ll be your customer for life now.’” Most of the complaints we receive have nothing to do with the “Oil Change” itself, but rather, the way you make the customer feel; that is what they remember. Podium has allowed us to get more insight on the way we make our customers feel, and use that to improve our customer service.

From their humble beginnings as college students detailing cars, to over 60 stores spanning three states, customer feedback has made Griffin Fast Lube the company it is today.

At Podium, we’re proud to partner with such a customer-centric company and be part of their happily ever after.

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The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, and auto service shops are quickly adapting to the challenges associated with it. Now more than ever, shops are embracing “working together” models to creatively lean into customer collaboration and ensure the safety of everyone that visits their centers. 

In just over a month, many shops have implemented creative “no-touch” measures that leverage text-based tools to communicate with their customers through every step of the repair process. 

Shops have updated their websites to share their new employee policies during the crisis. They’ve embraced Podium to answer inbound inquiries about their policies through Webchat and text, and to collect text-based payments. And some have even reconfigured their services to maintain social distancing. 

They are embracing alternatives to in-person visits such as “delivery signature care,” which allows customers to schedule their body shop valet service from the comfort of their homes. As well as “drive up and go” concierge services for customers to park anywhere in the parking lot, shoot over a text for a staff member to pick up their vehicle and begin the repair process. 

These programs not only seamlessly improve customer interactions during the crisis by shifting all interactions—from inquiry to payment—to text. They also safeguard customers against the spread of the Coronavirus and let customers know that you not only care about their business but that you value their wellbeing and their loyalty.

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4.3 to 4.7
average Google rating
700
new Webchat leads
18%
lead conversion rate

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Podium helped Pro Auto Care generate leads and conversions

Technology moves fast. That’s usually a good thing—but sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Al Oramas has had both experiences since starting Pro Auto Care in ‘92. 

Al started out repairing Japanese-made cars. Ten years later, he expanded into a general repair shop because his customers had changed. They started buying more from Audi, Chevy, Jeep, and others. He realized he could either change with his customers or turn down valuable business. Luckily, what started as a problem turned out to be an opportunity.

Those were the days of print. The internet was still new and unfamiliar. Customers would find Pro Auto Care in their Yellow Pages ad or direct mail. That type of advertising worked well for the repair shop—until it didn’t. As Al told us, it all started to change about 15 years ago. 

“You honestly were paying a king’s ransom. It could be upwards of $12,000 a month for a full-page ad.” Direct mail had changed, too. The cost of postage and printing was skyrocketing. Print advertising was getting more and more expensive, but it was still nearly impossible to track a return on your investment.

With the death of the phone book came the birth of email marketing. Al started using email to attract and retain customers, but it was “just okay.” Email worked well enough to communicate with people, but it was easy for them to ignore their email inbox if they were busy.

While the internet changed everything, the smartphone took the internet and placed it in every consumer’s pocket. “All of a sudden we went from flip phones to smartphones,” Al told us. “I’m in new cities, I’m using the apps. I’m using it for everything from navigation to finding restaurants.” The best businesses are able to identify when their customers are changing. Al knew that if he himself preferred using his smartphone, then so did his customers. 

As a Yelp user himself, Al started putting effort into Yelp reviews for his repair shop. He had worked up to a total of 80 reviews when Yelp changed something in their policies. “We were left with 28 reviews out of the 80,” Al told us. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, we worked so hard to make things good’.” 

Since that experience, Al has been searching for an easier way to delight customers and get them to leave reviews. 

A couple of years ago, Al went to the ASA Trade Show in Colorado. He ended up in a breakout session led by two Podium employees. “I sat in that class and my eyes were wide open like a kid on Christmas day,” Al told us. 

Like any good business owner, Al approaches new technology with a healthy amount of skepticism.“Honestly, when I first signed up for Podium, I was just hoping to get a few customers to cover the cost of the software,” he told us. “I was very surprised at how much communication started coming in through it. When I actually saw it working and bringing leads to me, that was proof in the pudding.”

But like we said, sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. 

Al and his team had been using a CRM software from another vendor. That vendor was now promising a premium version with additional tools for text messaging, chat, and internal communications. Al saw this as an opportunity to reduce costs. “That’s when I left Podium,” he told us. In its place, Al upgraded to the premium version of his CRM software solution. 

“After about a week of using it, I realized I had to cut my losses,” Al told us. “The chat activity virtually disappeared. The texting was clunky. The notifications were clunky.” His team wasn’t happy about the change, either. When Al tried to get support to fix these problems, he was left frustrated by the experience. 

That’s when Al decided to return to Podium. “Honestly, by the next day we were back up and running. We immediately began seeing results again.” 

With Podium, Al and his team have received more than 500 new reviews and have increased their average star rating from 4.3 to 4.7. They’ve also captured 700 new Webchat leads with an 18% conversion rate.

 

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2.9 to 4.0
average star rating
100%
increase in total reviews
40
Webchat leads per month

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What happens to a car dealership when its average review rating jumps by a full star? To find out, we asked Victor Quintanilla, Business Development Director at Carizma in Lubbock, Texas. 

Maintaining a positive online reputation can be stressful for buy-here-pay-here lots like Carizma. In June 2019, Victor and his team were facing a 2.9 average star rating. Victor had used Podium at a previous employer. “I knew we wanted to get our reviews up to par, and Podium had done that for us at my last dealership,” he told us. 

Although Victor knew that the majority of his customers were leaving happy, he found that the unhappy minority were the ones leaving the most reviews. He realized that part of the problem was that they weren’t asking customers for reviews until after they had already left the lot. The process was broken. Luckily, he had already found the solution at his previous job. 

Texting at every checkpoint.

With Podium, Victor and his team have made the review invite part of the buying process. Since they’re already using Podium to text the customer, they now send them a review invite while they’re still at the Carizma car lot. This new approach started paying off quickly. Carizma went from an average rating of 2.9 stars to 4.0 in just three months—not to mention they more than doubled their total reviews number.  

“The more five-star reviews you have, the more organic leads you get,” Victor told us. “I’m all about organic leads.” That said, leads only turn into revenue if you can capture them and provide a convenient buying experience. Before Podium, Carizma was having a hard time converting web traffic into foot traffic. 

Turning leads into deals with messaging.

In the past, Victor’s team had tried a different solution for capturing leads. “It wasn’t as interactive,” he told us. “Yes, customers could text us 24/7, but they were really texting a third party who didn’t know what was happening on our lot.”

From July to August, Carizma doubled their total number of units sold from 30 units to 60. When we spoke with Victor halfway through September, they had already hit 60 units—25% of which came from Podium leads. 

“In the car business,” Victor told us, “it’s all about follow-up. It’s about that text.” Because Victor is responsible for training and managing salespeople at three different stores, he uses Podium to ensure that conversations between his reps and their customers are up-to-par. Because, the ultimate goal for Carizma isn’t only to collect 5-star reviews, but also win lifelong customers.

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10K
Reviews
4.7
Star Rating
5X
Increase in Avg. Monthly Reviews

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Everybody loves the convenience of buying something online, but there are just certain purchases that need to be made in person. This is especially true when buying a car. 

“Don't get me wrong, I will buy anything online that I can,” said Kris King, Director of Digital Marketing at Toyota of Orlando. “But it's different with a car because it is such a big investment.”

Even if the purchase is going to ultimately end up taking place at the dealership, that doesn’t mean that most of the car-buying journey isn’t happening online. And that’s why Toyota of Orlando has placed such an emphasis on building up their online reputation.

The dealership recently collected its 10,000th review on Google and isn’t looking to slow down anytime soon.  

“Having 10,000 reviews is a reflection on our dealership,” related King “When people make purchases, they want to know what type of experiences other customers have had, and reviews are a useful tool for that.”

Each one of those reviews is earned because the team is focused on delivering a top-notch car-buying experience, and they strive to make buying a car as painless as possible. 

“We try to give each customer an efficient experience because a lot of times when people go to buy cars, it can be a long process,” said King. “We want it to be efficient, easy, and stress-free.”

Because of the experience customers receive at the dealership, they are more than willing to leave a review. And it doesn’t hurt that they make the process to leave a review so easy with Podium.

“We really like Podium because it makes it so easy and seamless for the customers to go online and share their experiences,” said King.

Aside from the sheer volume, another thing that is unique about the reviews at Toyota of Orlando is how many of them mention salespeople by name, which helps them build their personal brand and drive customers to seek them out directly. 

“Getting good reviews and being named in them is good motivation for our salespeople,” related King. 

At the end of the day, the team at Toyota of Orlando wants to create customers for life, and they’re doing exactly that by providing a seamless car-buying experience and encouraging happy customers to leave reviews—attracting new customers to the dealership. This creates a virtuous cycle that helps grow their business.

“We always say, ‘When you buy from us you become a part of the family,’” concluded King. “We want to be a one-stop-shop for our customers from purchasing, servicing, all the way until it’s time for them to buy a new car again.”

 

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4.9X
More Monthly Reviews
7%
Increase in Star Rating
2.3K
Total Review

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It’s hard enough for any business to stand out from the competition. It gets even harder when you work in an industry that prides itself on delivering both a quality product and experience.

That’s the situation Jeff Garris of Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead, faced when he became the Director of Business Development in 2013. In order to attract more car buyers in the crowded luxury car market in the Atlanta metropolitan area, the dealership needed to drastically improve its online reputation.

The dealership’s goal was to become the top-rated luxury car dealer in the area, which was lofty considering where they were when Garris started.

“When we started our ratings were in the high twos and low threes,” said Garris. “You can’t be average in the market that we’re in and succeed, you just can’t.”

At the time, Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead was using a home-grown solution to build its online reputation that wasn’t very effective. Because Garris had a background in technology, he began looking for a better tool. That’s when he came across Podium.

“In my judgment, Podium was the best tool we came across,” stated Garris. “It certainly was cost-effective, but it was also process-effective, which was very important to me because I’m a process-driven person.” 

Since implementing Podium in November of 2017, Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead has increased its total number of Google reviews by nearly 300%, collecting more than 800 reviews during that span. They’ve also grown their star rating to 4.3 stars.

Once the dealership got its online reputation under control, it wanted to focus on overall customer satisfaction, especially for the large number of vehicles serviced at the dealership each year, the Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead decided to implement Podium Feedback.

What Garris likes most is how immediate the feedback is compared to other methods they’ve used. With Podium, they’re getting feedback in minutes as opposed to days. 

“Today’s consumer might be hesitant to complete a long survey,” related Garris. “But Feedback is almost like instant gratification. We’re able to quickly figure out how happy our customers are and what we did to make them happy, or how unhappy our customer is and then formulate a plan to make it better.”

One of the reasons Garris and his team are so focused on customer satisfaction is that it’s a major success factor they are measured by, along with total sales volume.

“Dealerships get rewarded based on how happy we make our customers and how many cars we sell,” concluded Garris. “And Podium helps us achieve both of these goals. It’s just that simple.”  

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78
Average Webchat Leads per Month
45
Average First Response (in minutes)
253
Total Webchat Conversations

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The Challenge

Tire Outlet is building its tenth store in Northeast Florida, but it’s still a local business at heart. Although the tire shop competes with massive, nationwide chains, it maintains the personal touch its customers love.

While popularity was never an issue for Tire Outlet, modernizing communication was. The business started using customer interaction platforms to talk with customers but found them to be inefficient. “Zendesk is kind of hard to manage,” says Jenn Nicole, marketing coordinator at Tire Outlet. “Let’s say someone goes on chat for five seconds and doesn’t get an immediate response. They immediately leave your site and you lose the customer instantly.”

To patch this hole in their communication strategy, Tire Outlet looked to Podium for an easier way to interact with customers online.

The Solution

Podium quickly proved a convenient option for Tire Outlet. “The rollout was fairly simple,” says Nicole. “The platform kind of speaks for itself. There’s not too much training that you really need to go through in order to understand it.”

After taking Podium for a spin, Tire Outlet saw its impact on customer engagement. “It’s a platform where we’re able to communicate with our customers without having to go to multiple platforms. We used to have Zendesk, and we had our call center guys going from Zendesk to Facebook Messenger to the reviews. Now that it’s just all on one system, it makes it a lot easier to manage and make sure that nothing gets forgotten.”

With Podium, Tire Outlet can ensure it responds to any customer who reaches out.

The Result

Tire Outlet has seen an immediate impact since adding Podium’s Messaging Platform. “The amount of quotes that we send out per day through that messaging app has doubled, almost tripled since we’ve put it on,” says Nicole.

But beyond using the Messaging Platform to provide quotes, Tire Outlet also uses it to send potential customers product information to drive sales. “We’re able to send photos,” Nicole says. “It just has a lot more communication you’re able to do.”

Today, Tire Outlet can easily interact with customers and provide them with the personal, local service they’ve come to trust.

 

 

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Fender benders aren’t fun. Dealing with insurance isn’t fun. And finding an auto body shop that’s both compatible with your insurance and has good reviews can feel a whole lot like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. 

However, one Staten Island-based shop is changing all of that. 

With 27 years of experience, Jamie Jensen of Straightline Collision knows for a fact how stressful it is to get your car fixed. “In this business, when most people come in here they’re already ticked off because they have to be here.”

Instead of subjecting customers to the same old story, Straightline Collision uses two-way messaging to provide seamless communication any day or hour.

Time to Shift Gears

Text messaging is the preferred method of communication—90% of people would rather text message than call. Straightline’s customer base is no different. Not only do customers prefer to text, but they demand its convenience especially during stressful times. Jensen saw this shift in communication preferences firsthand. They don’t like to call. They don’t like to be on the phone. So I get text messages.”

Additionally, Straightline primarily relied on word-of-mouth reviews and its hard-earned reputation to gather new customers. And while Straightline’s online review rating was lingering around 4.6 stars, the shop needed an easier, faster way to gather reviews that would help solidify their online presence and draw in new customers.

Trends in customer search habits are evidence as such “as far as people that don’t know of you, they’re going to Google ‘Auto body shop in Staten Island.’ The first thing they want to look at is the reviews. The more you have on Google, the better it looks for you” says Jensen.

For this Geico-backed repair shop, the writing was on the wall: it was time to shift gears and provide customers with an easy, convenient way to communicate and leave reviews.

That said, Straightline needed a software that was compatible with its CRM system, ProfitNet, to maintain full efficiency as a well-oiled service shop. Podium is integration-compatible with ProfitNet, so it popped up on Jamie’s radar. 

Jamie did what her own customers would do—researched and read reviews. “I saw an update on ProfitNet with Podium’s pop down. And I’m not going to lie, I looked at all the options. I looked at all different like tutorials, reviews on each company.”

A Clutch Solution

The ProfitNet integration allows auto service businesses to transfer all aspects of customer information, from estimates to contact information and delivery dates, into Podium’s communication dashboard. From there, businesses such as Straightline Collision, can communicate with customers via text messaging and gather reviews easily. 

For Jamie, the seamless connectivity and ease of integration are what really sealed the deal. What I liked the most was that the text message gets sent right from delivery with Podium. As long as the customer’s cell phone is filled out in the form, we don’t really have to do much after that. I like that we can text the customer from our actual business phone number. And I like that customers can actually text us as the business owner because nowadays people like to text.”

The ProfitNet integration allowed Straightline to cut time spent on manual tasks like delivery phone calls, while Podium’s two-way messaging enables Straightline Collision to connect with customers on their term without losing touch. And regardless of what questions customers needed answered, they could count on Jensen and Straightline to respond. “Sometimes on the weekend, I’ll get something like ‘I just hit something. Is this fixable?’ And they’ll send me a message and….a picture of their car because we’re not open. It’s convenient because it’s a way to keep in contact with customers and them to keep in contact with us even when, even after hours, even when we’re closed.”

Since signing on with Podium in December, Straightline has received 30x the reviews it originally had—the auto shop has gone from 56 reviews (accumulated over the course of 27 years) to 20 reviews per month.

Putting a Premium on Experience

Rather than add to customer stress levels, Straightline Collision gets ahead in the race by making it easy to connect with them—no matter the time of day. And more importantly, Straightline is able to manage all of customer interactions and information through one dashboard.

 

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4X
Increase in Average Monthly Reviews
4.7
Average Customer Rating
395
Total Reviews

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Recalibrating has always been second nature to Australian-based Fulcrum Suspensions. Although they had a system in place to collect reviews, customers didn’t post those reviews online. The company knew they were missing out on a huge opportunity to leverage word-of-mouth marketing. They set a plan in motion to improve their online presence and customer engagement right away.

“We could see that people were enjoying the experience we gave them in our workshops, but nobody else knew that,” says Doug Steindl, digital marketing specialist. “We were looking to convert our customer experiences to written reviews and have them seen online.”

Meanwhile, Fulcrum Suspensions also sought to revise other important systems. “We were looking for SMS solutions so we could send our services to customers. At the same time, we were also looking to push reviews online,” says Doug Steindl.

According to Emma Pitt, Fulcrum’s marketing coordinator that wasn’t all. “We were looking for kind of a one-stop shop for all of the online services we needed.”

Discovering a one-stop solution for a balanced digital presence.

When Fulcrum Suspensions found Podium, they discovered everything they needed to manage multiple systems in one place. Between Messenger and Reviews, implementing Podium improved Fulcrum Suspensions’ customer engagement and online presence.

Messenger, in particular, has helped Fulcrum save time on both customer calls and managing their social media presence. “Bringing all those social media platforms into one area makes it easier to manage six company stores plus an online store, and our business is continually growing,” says Pitt.

Reaping the benefits of a well-oiled marketing plan.

Fulcrum Suspensions also uses Messenger to send service reminders, answer questions, and send attachments to provide additional information, further streamlining customer interaction. Plus, Messenger sees a lot of traffic. Fulcrum Suspensions previously used a different messaging system but saw a 70 percent uptick in messaging once they switched to Podium.

With Podium, Fulcrum Suspensions also garners a higher volume of online reviews. They saw a massive rise in Google Reviews between September 2018 and April 2019. While ratings held steady at a stellar 4.7 stars, the total number of reviews skyrocketed from 254 to 395 after adding Podium.

In addition to the obvious benefits from Messenger and Reviews, using Podium has provided Fulcrum Suspensions with some less expected results.

“From using Podium, we’ve actually come up with an additional sales process,” says Doug Steindl. “Previous to this, we had no way of getting into direct contact with a customer. What we do is we reply to them, and there’s a set of criteria that if we know that they want to buy based on those criteria, then we get the online team just to pick up the phone and call.”

Perhaps Podium’s biggest impact on Fulcrum Suspensions has been its effect on sales. Doug Steindl estimates a 15–20 percent increase in online sales since implementing Podium. The numbers don’t lie. Podium has overhauled Fulcrum Suspensions’ online presence while still improving sales.

 

 

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41X
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5%
Increase in Average Star Rating
4,500
Total Reviews

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The Challenge

Dunn Tire is a locally-owned, regional tire store with 29 locations in New York and Pennsylvania. The company focuses on tires, but also offers automotive services, making it popular among residents. However, in spite of Dunn Tire’s loyal customer base, the business wasn’t getting the same positive exposure or experience online.

“We didn’t have any way to try to push people to leave reviews. So in a lot of cases, the only ones on there were bad and we didn’t have many at all,” says Harry Schlyer, assistant call center manager.

Managing the reviews Dunn Tire received proved challenging and inefficient. “I would have to go through the individual Google sites for all 29 locations and respond,” says Schlyer.

Dunn Tire was at a crossroads. It needed to encourage more reviews and manage them with greater ease in order to attract more customers and grow.

The Solution

Dunn Tire contacted Podium and implemented the Interaction Platform™ at each of their locations. According to staff, the implementation went remarkably well.

“It seemed pretty seamless and a nice transition to all 29 stores,” says Craig Hills, marketing operations manager.

Garnering and managing reviews became easier than ever. “It’s all automatic,” says Hills. “So, everyone who visited our store one day receives the invite the next morning.”

The Result

Reviews started pouring in for Dunn Tire. With more satisfied customers leaving feedback online, Dunn Tire’s reputation and visibility improved drastically.

“The vast majority of reviews are positive. It’s been very beneficial to get a lot of nice, positive feedback about us out on the internet,” says Schlyer. Not only do the improved ratings better reflect Dunn Tire’s quality, but they also improve its visibility.

“In October when we rolled it out for all the stores, we had nine stores that were under four stars, so they wouldn’t come up in certain Google searches,” says Schlyer. “Now, we only have two that are under that, so it’s made some of our locations more visible in a broad search and just allowed more of the good experiences that we more often provide to be out there for the public to see.”

With broader online visibility and a digital reputation that grows stronger every day, Dunn Tire is off to the races.

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The Challenge

Van Horn Automotive Group owns 15 locations in Wisconsin and Iowa—making it a convenient choice for many car buyers. However, Van Horn Automotive Group needed to improve its online presence to adjust to changing customer preferences.

“People don’t want to spend a whole day in a dealership,” says Tina Tasche, customer relations manager at Van Horn Automotive Group. “And the digital retailing components that are coming out in the industry are allowing customers to get a lot more homework done before they enter our showroom.”

To achieve this goal, Van Horn Automotive Group realized it needed to increase its digital presence by translating positive in-person feedback into powerful online reviews. Although, this seemed easier in theory than in actuality. “How do we get people who are happy to leave reviews?” Tasche says. “Because it’s easy to get angry people to leave reviews.” All that changed when the business implemented Podium.

The Solution

Van Horn Automotive Group did a trial-run with Podium at a few of its dealerships before expanding Podium’s coverage to every location. “We just started to add it everywhere,” says Tasche. “It’s just incredible what our partnership in Podium has done to bring reviews into our dealerships.”

Beyond cultivating more positive online reviews, Podium also proved to be a convenient option for both staff and customers. Tasche says “Not only is it simple for my sales and service staff to send out an invitation, but it’s just as easy on the customer than for them to receive direct links to all of our review sites and not have to go out and try to find them.”

The Result

Van Horn Automotive Group has enjoyed the reviews it receives through Podium’s service. “I know that we would not be where we are today on our Google pages or on any other respective review pages if we did not have this partnership with Podium,” says Tasche.

The reviews also serve as a valuable tool to motivate staff. “I do a leaderboard report for each dealership,” says Tasche. “And then we kind of combine everybody’s results together and each month I send out an email with our top performers. I think that has also helped with our success. Who doesn’t want to see their name on that report that you know that the owners are gonna be looking at?”

As the automotive market continues to evolve, Van Horn Automotive Group aims to stay ahead of the curve. “We’re trying to be as engaged in being an early adopter in this new space as we can,” Tasche says.

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5X
Increase in Average Monthly Reviews
5%
Increase in Average Star Rating
2368
Total Reviews

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The Challenge

While satisfied customers came naturally to the team at Gary Crossley Ford, getting customer reviews did not. The dealership hadn’t quite figured out how to translate five-star customer experiences into five-star reviews.

Alex Moore, Digital Marketing Manager at Gary Crossley Ford, said, “You know, there wasn’t really a great way, outside of handing the customer a business card that said, ‘Hey, go here and give me a review.’ Once you leave the dealership, no matter how happy you are, life happens. The next thing you know, a day goes by, a week goes by, and there’s no review.”

The Solution

To get an edge on other dealerships, learn from customers, and spread the word about its great customer service, Gary Crossley Ford realized it was time to take control of its reputation. Moore says, “We have been pulling the digital part back ourselves, over the year. We can watch it better, and we can tune in and learn more about it. We’re more tech-savvy than most dealers.”

Podium was a natural fit for the tech-savvy dealership, which quickly implemented Reviews. Moore says, “I add a dashboard I work from, I can add users to that dashboard. I can put an app on a salesperson’s phone, and right when they’ve sold a car, they can just swipe that up to their customer they’re in front of right now, and the customer’s engaged. They’re happy, they do want to leave a review.”

The Result

Once Gary Crossley Ford introduced Reviews, testimonials flooded in. Moore says, “I think when we first started, I had about 300 Google reviews, and now I’m pushing 1,000.” Managing online reviews has also become easier for Moore and his employees. Moore says, “I have one place to work all my reputation stuff.” That allows the salesperson to focus on the customers and sell more vehicles.

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Beggs Tire & Wheel is a family-owned business that doesn’t have the benefit of large advertising budgets that corporate-backed franchises might have. It has to be strategic and make every single marketing and advertising dollar stretch as far as possible.

That’s one of the reasons that online reviews were so intriguing to Charles Vickery, Manager at Beggs Tire & Wheel. He realized that most consumers were using online reviews to help them find and choose which tire store to frequent. But the number of reviews the business had collected didn’t accurately reflect how successful it had been over the years.

“Before implementing Podium, I think we only had collected 20 reviews over the entire time we’ve been in business,” said Vickery. “Even though we didn’t have a bad rating, having a small amount of reviews doesn’t look good to potential customers either.”

MAKING IT EASIER

The staff at Beggs Tire would ask customers to leave a review from time to time, but because there was no formalized invitation process in place, very few of those customers followed through and left a review. That all changed once they implemented Podium. Now it’s a one-step process that directs the customer right to the stars page on Google or Facebook. “Making it easier for our customers has played a huge role in our increase in online reviews,” related Vickery. “If they have to put too much effort into it they’re not going to do it.”

MORE REVIEWS = MORE BUSINESS

In the five months since implementing Podium, Beggs Tire & Wheel has collected 110 new reviews and boasts a 4.9 overall star rating, which is much better than the more well-known brands in the area. But that’s not the biggest benefit the business has realized. Vickery noted that they’ve seen month-over-month revenue growth every month since rolling out Podium – and that’s without any increase in advertising spend.

“Our competitors spend a ton of money on advertising to drive people through the door and we still rank higher than them in total number of reviews and Google star rating,” said Vickery. “And we’re doing that with just Podium and optimized social media. We don’t spend money on newspaper, radio, or anything like that.”

IMPROVING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Beggs Tire & Wheel has also been able to use the feedback contained in reviews to improve the customer experience. For example, they recently received a review that said that the tire shop was a little messier than the customer would like. That was because there were tires laying all over the shop that weren’t immediately put away because the employees were busy.

“After we got that review we decided that as soon as we get tires delivered, we’re going to put every tire away no matter how busy we are,” said Vickery. “And since then, we haven’t gotten any reviews mentioning the shop being messy.”

GETTING MORE FEEDBACK WITH MESSAGING PLATFORM

Vickery also likes the feedback the business has been able to get with Podium Messaging Platform and has plans to integrate it more into their business communications over time.

“Messaging Platform has been nice for us because not everyone has a Google or Facebook account, so they can just text us back with feedback,” concluded Vickery. “Even if that feedback isn’t a review it lets us know they had a good experience and helps us build a better relationship with them.”

 

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The way that car-buyers shop has changed significantly in recent years. Traditional marketing and advertising are no-longer as influential as they once were. Now, consumers are turning to the internet and online reviews to help improve their decision making.

Aaron Fisher, the e-commerce director at Marion Toyota, is well aware of the impact online reviews have not only purchase decisions but where the business shows up in online searches. The problem he was running into was finding a way to collect reviews on a consistent basis.

“We used to have an email automatically triggered from our CRM at the close of a transaction,” stated Fisher. “We did have some success with it, but were never able to collect a large number of reviews because the process was cumbersome for the customer.”

Part of the Sales Process

In an effort to make the process to leave a review easier, Fisher decided to give Podium a try based on the recommendation from another dealer.

It was obvious from the beginning that Podium’s platform was much easier to use both for Marion Toyota’s employees as well as their customers.

One of the things Fisher liked most about the way Podium worked was customers could receive the invitation and leave a review right on site because the invites were delivered via text. Sending review invitations with Podium to each customer is now part of the sales process at Marion Toyota.

“We’ve always had certain expectations for our salespeople like good CSI scores or taking a photo of the customer with their vehicle and posting it on social media,” related Fisher. “Now asking for a review with Podium when the vehicle is delivered to the customer is one of those expectations.”

People Notice

Since implementing Podium, the biggest benefit Marion Toyota has achieved is just the sheer number of reviews it has collected on Google, Facebook, Cars.com, and DealerRater. The dealership has collected 815 new reviews and improved its Google star rating from 3.9 to 4.9.

Fisher loves the dashboard because it allows him to track the success of each salesperson, while also making it easy for him to respond to reviews. Something he tries to do for every review – positive or negative.

“Podium is a great product,” concluded Fisher. “We’re big believers in it. We frequently get approached by other dealers who looked us up and see how good our online reputation is and how many reviews we have. It does have an impact. People notice it.”

 

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Negative reviews are just a fact of life for any business. The key is to respond thoughtfully to negative reviews when you get them, but more importantly, make sure the voice of your happy customers far outweighs the voice of your unhappy customers.

Anthony Gilpin, Director of Digital Operations at NewRoads Auto Group understands this concept very well. That’s why he’s placed an emphasis on building up the Group’s online reputation on Google, Facebook, and DealerRater.

“Reviews are like anything in life,” said Gilpin. “You can make 99.5 percent of customers happy. It’s just that .5 percent is always going to yell the loudest. That’s why it’s important to collect reviews from all of your customers, so the happy ones drown out the unhappy ones.

EMPHASIZING THE RIGHT SITES

When Gilpin came across Podium, it seemed like a perfect fit. The solution was easy to use and it also let them focus on the review sites that were most important and would provide the most value to NewRoads. Right now, NewRoads is emphasizing Google and Facebook because they are the platforms that are most widely used and trusted by  consumers.

Additionally, Gilpin liked that the invitations were delivered via text message, allowing him to diversify the channels he engages his customers with.“We like to save email for things like marketing offers,” related Gilpin. “Podium allows us to more effectively collect reviews, while still giving us the opportunity to reach a wide base of our customers with these marketing emails.”

KEEP THE PROCESS TOP OF MIND

NewRoads had good success initially with Podium because all of the GMs made reviews a focal point of the sales process. According to Gilpin, if you want to maintain success over time, you need to keep reviews top of mind for your salespeople.

One way they are accomplishing this at NewRoads is by incentivizing staff with contests to keep them motivated to collect reviews.“Whenever we have a contest to collect more reviews, we will see a spike in the number of reviews coming in,” said Gilpin. “I’m sure we will continue to have contests a couple of times a year to ensure we always have recent reviews, which are important for online searchers.”

HUNDREDS OF NEW REVIEWS

Since implementing Podium, the five NewRoads dealerships have collected 1,055 new reviews and are maintaining a 4.6 overall star rating. Gilpin’s goal is to continue to collect more reviews and ultimately have each location with more than a thousand reviews.

According to Gilpin, the more reviews his dealerships have, the less power and leverage customers have when leaving a negative review. Instead of getting bullied by those customers, he can now work with them to fix the problem in a way that is amenable to the customer and the business. At the end of the day collecting reviews is a numbers game, and Gilpin is just trying to get reviews from as many customers as possible so the voice of the satisfied customers drowns out the ones that are unsatisfied.

And Podium has been an excellent tool to help NewRoads do just that.“For the price, Podium is money well spent,” concluded Gilpin. “It gives us an easy way for our sales staff to ask for reviews and for customers to engage with us and leave feedback. We’re getting an excellent return on our investment.

 

 

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Russ Darrow Auto Group has been serving the people of Wisconsin for more than 50 years. It currently operates 22 dealerships, five of which are JD Byrider franchises. Up until recently, the business had struggled with its Google star rating.

Prior to implementing Podium, the dealerships averaged just 3.1 stars on Google. Jimmy Lee, Director of Reviews and Director of JD Byrider for the Russ Darrow Group, knew that if given the choice between a business with a 3 star rating and one in the fours, the business with the higher rating will typically get the business.

“If I Google Honda and see that the Russ Darrow Honda Store has 3.3 stars and another Honda dealership has 4.5 stars and driving distance wasn’t a big deal, 4.5 stars is always going to win the sale,” said Lee.

Already Familiar

Lee was familiar with Podium through JD Byrider. Podium is the preferred online reputation vendor for JD Byrider franchises, so Lee had seen how a tool like Podium could help improve a business’ Google rating.

With the success that their JD Byrider dealerships were having improving their online reputation, it was a no brainer for Lee to implement Podium at the remaining 18 Russ Darrow dealerships. “Before using Podium, we used another outside vendor to help us collect reviews,” related Lee. “We weren’t really paying attention to the process and our online reputation showed it, but that all changed after we implemented Podium.”

 

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When Julie Woods was promoted to Digital Marketing Manager at Taylor Automotive in late 2015, she knew the business had an online review problem. Despite delivering stellar service to its customers, Taylor Automotive’s overall rating on Google was under 3 stars. This was a problem because the dealership was spending thousands of dollars on traditional advertising to attract new customers, only to turn them off with bad reviews.

Woods made improving the business’ online reviews a point of emphasis and set out to find a solution to help her do just that. At that time, Taylor Automotive didn’t have a set process in place for its sales staff to solicit reviews from customers. They did invite customers to leave a review as part of a survey they were sending out through Calendar Systems, but that wasn’t yielding the results they were looking for.

When Woods came across Podium, she knew from the get-go that it was the solution she was looking for. “I immediately saw value in it and knew that it would make collecting reviews so easy for our salespeople and our customers,” recalled Woods. Besides ease of use, what really drew Woods to Podium were the analytics on the back end — especially the ability to have all of the dealership’s reviews aggregated into a single dashboard.

“I love how you can see how many reviews you have by site and what your rankings are all in one place,” said Woods. “Because we have eight stores, it would be very time consuming for me if I had to go to eight different places at eight different times just to get all the information that I can get from the analytics tab in Podium.”

Additionally, she was able to show them how their online reviews could help them build their personal brand and even help them sell cars. “This is a selling tool,” related Woods. “I told our salespeople if they show customers all of their reviews, the customer will be put at ease with the knowledge others have had a good experience buying from them.”

Impressive Results

Since implementing Podium in late January 2016 as part of an overall effort to improve the dealership’s digital marketing efforts, Taylor Automotive has seen impressive results. Most notably in the number of reviews they are able to bring in on a regular basis. Prior to implementing, the dealership had 153 reviews on Google across its eight locations, but in less than a year of usage that number increased to 2,647. They have also seen their overall star rating increase from 2.97 to 4.76. The increase in online reviews has also had a positive influence on Taylor Automotive’s web traffic, which saw a 21 percent increase. They also saw a 62 percent increase in internet leads and a 224 percent increase in online reputation from February to April. But most impressive is how much that increase in traffic and leads has led to more car sales. Taylor Automotive sold nearly 1,000 cars in April, which is the most they had ever sold in that month. “Things are going really great for us and I think things are only going to get better,” concluded Woods. “We are really starting to get into a groove with Podium and we are expecting great things in the future.”

Useful Tool

One of the features that has proven to be most useful for the sales staff at Taylor Automotive is the mobile app. It makes it easy for them to send out a review invitation when the timing is right, regardless of whether they are at their desk or not. This has helped the dealership to maintain high click-through rates and keep a large number of reviews rolling in.

Additionally, Woods has been able to use individual reviews to highlight instances of exceptional customer service. “We have a program at the dealership called ‘Weekly Wows’ where we recognize employees who go above and beyond to help a customer,” stated Woods. “And having all of the reviews in one place has made it much easier for us to identify these instances among our sales team.”

 

 

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When Mark Winters, eCommerce director at Tim Dahle Nissan, joined the dealership in 2015, he had a keen understanding of the importance online reviews can play. Winters is a veteran of the industry and sees reviews as an integral part of a dealership’s messaging – on par even with advertising. Tim Dahle Nissan had a fairly decent library of reviews when Winters arrived, but they weren’t coming in as often as he would have liked. And the solutions that he had used in the past weren’t very user-friendly. They required a lot of effort both by the sales team and the customer. Because of this, he was always on the lookout for new solutions that could improve the process.

Prior to implementing Podium, the collection and management of online reviews at Tim Dahle Nissan was done on an ad hoc basis. The GM of the dealership would have to go into Google, Facebook, and other online review sites they were interested in and manually check for reviews. This process was time-consuming and ineffective. Additionally, there was no set process for collecting reviews, so the dealership’s online reputation was somewhat vulnerable if a customer left a negative review. “When I saw how Podium worked, it was just a no-brainer in my mind,” said Winters. “Being able to use text messages to send the invitation while the customer is still right there is much more transparent than bombarding the customer with emails and requests for reviews. Podium’s process was much more personal. But the most amazing thing to me about Podium was how powerful the platform was. It took all the friction out of writing a review.”

Hitting the Ground Running

The initial implementation and training of the staff went smoothly. Winters was able to quickly secure buy-in from the sales staff by showing them how online reviews were going to help them sell more cars and build their own personal brand online. Tim Dahle Nissan recently redesigned its website to incorporate reviews its salespeople received on DealerRater. Winters was able to point out that potential customers could easily research them online and decide which salesperson to do business with based on those reviews. Once they realized the effect online reviews could ultimately have on their paycheck they were on board. Winters and sales management have also incorporated Podium’s leaderboard into their sales meetings, frequently recognizing employees who are sending out the most invites and receiving the most reviews.

Reviews Rolled In

The biggest benefit Tim Dahle Nissan has achieved since implementing Podium is the sheer volume of reviews it is receiving across all of the review sites it manages. In just over one month since implementing, Tim Dahle has secured 315 new reviews at its three Utah locations. Even in just a short period of time, online reviews are becoming part of the culture of the dealership. “We went from generating four or five reviews here and there to going lightspeed ahead,” related Winters. “What we’re doing now is instilling a culture of reviews. Collecting and responding to reviews is part of our daily routine now and it has made a big difference in how we treat our customers. Our employees know they have to earn it.”

Turning a Negative into a Positive

One of the features that Winters has found value in is Private Feedback. Podium has made it really simple for the staff at Tim Dahle to respond to negative feedback and try and right a bad situation before a negative review is published Winters notes that a lot of dealerships struggle with how to respond to negative feedback, but he looks at it as a chance to show customers that Tim Dahle Nissan cares about their experience. “Customers know that no business is perfect,” stated Winters. “But they want to know that if your business makes a mistake, you’ll fix it. I don’t ever look at a negative review as a setback. I see it as an opportunity to improve.”

The Future Is Bright

Right now Winters says the dealership is only scratching the surface of what it can accomplish with Podium. In the future they plan on rolling it out to the service department as well, which sees a large volume of customers on a daily basis with the challenge to build on the momentum that started with the sales team. “Podium has really changed the mindset of our salespeople,” concludes Winters. “We’re now a review-centric dealership, which helps us to provide a better experience for our customers. Podium is responsible for that, and it’s definitely been worth its weight in gold.”

 

 

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Sheila Humphrey has worked at Ultra Clean Car Wash for 14 years. Over that time she has built strong relationships with all of her regular customers. Up until recently, those relationships didn’t manifest themselves in the form of online reviews. In the past, Humphrey would ask customers from time to time to leave a review, but there was no effective way to track or follow up on the invitations.

That all changed when Ultra Clean Car Wash implemented Podium. Now, Humphrey asks virtually everyone who comes through the car wash to leave a review after she sets them up with their desired wash. Because Podium makes it so easy to leave a review, many customers do so before they even leave the premises.

In a little more than a month using Podium, Ultra Clean Car Wash collected 545 new reviews and with a 5-star rating on Google. However, Podium is doing more than just improving the online reputation of the carwash, it is also driving new business.

Recently, Humphrey approached a customer with out-of-state tags on his car. After getting the customer set up with a wash, she asked the customer if he would be willing to leave a review if he was satisfied with the service. To her surprise, the customer said the reason he chose to come to Ultra Clean Car Wash was because of its good reviews. “That experience reinforced the value Podium brings to our business,” related Humphrey.

“It’s obvious that people are going online to find out if businesses have good reviews before coming to them.” Podium has now become an integral part of Humphrey’s daily routine. In addition to inviting all of her customers, she is closely monitoring the app to see which customers click on the link, recommend the business, and ultimately leave a review.

 

 

 

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more reviews with Podium

 

Von Bibra Motor Group has been a mainstay in the Gold Coast of Australia for decades. They currently sell about 750 new and used cars and are responsible for 3,500 repairs each month. But Wade von Bibra, Group GM, knew that if the business was going to maintain its position, it needed to place more emphasis on its online reputation.

That is because the way car buyers find and choose which dealership to work with has changed. Now consumers are conducting most of their research online and reading reviews before ever stepping on a car lot. “When people get it in their mind that they want to buy a car, the first thing they do is jump online to see what kind of car they want and which local dealer they should work with,” said von Bibra. “They’re looking at reviews trying to ascertain whether or not the dealer is reputable and because of this, online reputation is one of our top priorities.”

Finding an Easier Way

Prior to implementing Podium, von Bibra did have a solution in place to help its dealerships collect reviews, but the process wasn’t as streamlined as it could be. The solution required them to input a number of details about the customer, take a photo of the vehicle, and forward that information onto their digital agency.

From there, the digital agency would send the customer an email with a link to leave a review. By that time, the experience with the dealership wasn’t top of mind, so as a result the conversion rate on invites wasn’t as good as they would like.

Additionally, the solution wasn’t ideal to use in their service department, which meant they were missing out on another 3,500 opportunities a month to collect reviews from their customers. “This process worked okay for us, but it was nowhere near as effective as Podium,” related von Bibra. “And the fact that it let us reach a wider base of our customers was a big win for us.”

“It’s not rocket science,” said von Bibra. “I’m not a rocket scientist when it comes to technology, so what I like most about Podium is how simple it is to use. When you have a customer in front of you, all you have to do is enter their name and number, hit send, and they’ve got the invite.”

Consistent Reputation

von Bibra Auto Group has already seen the needle move with its online reputation. von Bibra boasts a 4.7 Google rating, on average, across all of its dealerships, while collecting 439 new reviews on all of the review sites it is monitoring.

With the business doing so well on Google, von Bibra is now shifting focus to ProductReview. In the short time since the switch, they have seen a .2 star increase in their rating and expect that number to continue to improve.

The dealership spends a lot of money on marketing and advertising to drive customers to their showrooms, but it has found that reviews, which are effectively free, have the most influence. Reviews will always be an integral part of the buying process and that’s why building and maintaining its online reputation with Podium is so important for von Bibra Auto Group.

“Podium is such a powerful tool,” concluded von Bibra. “It has made it very easy for us to collect reviews on Google. The minute you start adding more steps, the less reviews you’re going to receive, and Podium is so easy – both for our staff and our customers.”

 

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