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The TAB Bank marketing team uses Podium to request and capture customer reviews, improving their online reputation, increasing review counts and the average star rating, and implementing a better customer feedback process. Before Podium, TAB Bank struggled to collect reviews with email response rates close to 0%. After implementing Podium the team saw a 12x increase in reviews and a nearly 2x increase in Google star rating in just three months. Plus, with targeted text review requests instead of email blasts to the entire customer list, TAB Bank has seen a 300% increase in review response rate. Implementing Podium has helped TAB stick close to its mission—a customer-first experience.
About TAB Bank
Headquartered in Ogden, Utah, TAB Bank is focused on relationships, not transactions. TAB—an acronym for Transportation Alliance Bank—started as a banking service, operating exclusively for the trucking industry. Through the course of more than 20 years, demand grew and TAB Bank expanded their services, offering a wide range of personal and business banking solutions. As a truly mobile bank, TAB has always offered an easy-to-use banking experience with customer experience at the forefront of every new product or service offering.
Before Podium, TAB Bank struggled to both request and collect positive customer reviews. With only 30 reviews on Google, most were unsolicited and negative, posted by disgruntled customers. New product campaigns struggled with low public awareness for the brand—the impact of social proofing showing up again and again as TAB Bank tried to expand its customer base and offer products and services to a wider audience.
Challenge #1: Investment in brand awareness was stuck in online reputation
As the marketing team worked to build up awareness for TAB Bank, even with ongoing campaigns, the most popular searches online included “What is TAB Bank? Who is TAB Bank? Is TAB Bank legitimate?” According to John Huntinghouse who oversees all of the marketing activities at TAB Bank, “We had this amazing product that was out in the market, but people needed to know more about the bank itself.”
These searches lead traffic to TAB Bank’s Google Business Profile. Before Podium, the bank only had 30 reviews on Google and the average star rating sat right at 2.4 stars. “Clearly something had to be addressed—whether that was the actual experience of customers or we just weren’t capturing more of what was actually going on,” explained John.
Because the bank is online, the TAB Bank Google Business Profile created the front door to customers’ opinions. “We needed to make sure that we improved the Google rating we had,” said John.
Challenge #2: Online reputation hurt deposit campaign performance
The team at TAB Bank launched an important marketing campaign, developed to promote a new, best-in-class checking account product and drive new deposits. Hopes were high that conversions would follow—it was the best checking account in the country with a 4% interest rate. The campaign drove a large increase in traffic, but the team noticed the traffic wasn’t converting. When they looked into the data, they found that prospects were getting hung up on the bank’s online reputation. The lack of review quantity, positive reviews, and star rating were all contributing to the campaign’s low conversion rates. John explained, “When you offer such an amazing product with really low awareness, people start to ask if it’s legitimate. We were dealing with a gap of trust.”
At the time, this marketing campaign was the bank’s largest marketing investment and primary marketing campaign. The lack of public response made it clear that, even with a compelling offer, online reputation would be a key driver of future success for the bank.
Challenge #3: Online reputation was not an accurate reflection of customer service/experience
As John and his team set out to identify whether customers were having a poor experience or if the online reviews simply didn’t reflect an accurate customer experience, they found that their reviews on the Google Play and App Store averaged around 4.5. NPS data also confirmed that TAB Bank customers were extremely happy with their experience. “We realized we just weren’t capturing the actual experience that most of our customers were having with our bank,” said John.
With thousands of customers and only 30 Google reviews, TAB Bank’s online reputation was suffering. The primary focus became finding a solution to help TAB get more customer reviews online and ensure those reviews reflected a typical customer experience. “To be able to build a review request program, create and generate those campaigns quickly, and then send them out in a timely manner so we could get those reviews from customers—that became our primary goal,” explained John.
Challenge #4: Email review invites yielded little-to-no results
The team had tried to generate reviews from customers in the past. They sent emails and made verbal requests, but success rates were low. The review request program often looked like a quarterly email with a blanket ask for customers to submit a review online. And the response rate? “It was almost zero—we generated roughly 15 reviews total and we only had 30 online reviews,” said John.
But beyond a better process for asking, the team needed a solution that would make it easier for customers to actually complete the request. “We felt like a lot of our customers wanted to give us reviews, but the process of trying to instruct them, guide them, walk them through how to go into Google, how to find us, how to leave that review—the entire process of educating and training them was more work than it was worth for them to provide the review,” said John. The team needed a solution that would make it easy to generate and capture more customer reviews, seamlessly and intuitively.
Challenge #5: Competition was high in the loan industry
The sales cycles for loan products vary for TAB Bank customers and the competition is high. And as a mobile bank competing against other mobile banks and even brick-and-mortar banks, customers are interested in getting third-party feedback on which bank they should select. “Social proof matters in the loan space, especially with larger loan amounts—many over a million dollars,”said John. The bank’s lack of online reviews was impacting their bottom line.
The Podium Solution
After identifying online reputation as one of their main challenges, TAB Bank set out to find a reputation management platform that could help them request, collect, and respond to reviews. They needed a solution that would make the process easy, seamless, and convenient for both customers and the TAB Bank team. Podium was their answer.
Solution #1: Customer interactions trigger review invites
Instead of sending broad requests for reviews to all customers, Podium is helping TAB Bank send requests based on specific customer actions. By segmenting customers and their specific actions, review request campaigns can target a specific audience with a specific request for reviews.
“We’re generating a lot of reviews from customers that have PPP loans during COVID,” said John. “Segmenting outreach campaigns is the biggest difference of how we utilize Podium versus how we were doing it before. When one round of review requests finishes we send another.”
The team plans to automate review requests in the future. But for now, even manual sends based on segmentation and real-time interactions are creating a positive impact on review responses from customers.
Solution #2: Customer feedback loop implemented for reviews
Within the digital banking department at TAB Bank, the voice of the customer group is now responsible to take feedback—from online reviews, NPS, and customer service—and find ways to solve customer issues. “This team triages and prioritizes the feedback and what needs to be fixed first. Then they route the specific instructions to the right team to change or fix those areas,” said John.
Enabling a team to manage negative reviews is critical for a businesses’ online reputation. And with this new process, the TAB Bank team can not only respond to customers that have had a negative experience, they can take that feedback and integrate it into their plans to make the customer experience better.
Solution #3: A reputation management solution they could trust
As the team evaluated reputation management solutions, they knew they needed a solution they could trust and could see worked for others already. “I knew more about Podium, and so did my peers. Everyone I reached out to knew about Podium and gave the same positive feedback.”
“We were looking at Birdeye as a potential offering, but when it came down to it, we really just needed something that worked,” said John. “We trusted Podium based on other people’s experiences and their results, and we felt like Podium would give us our best chance of getting a win with reputation management.”
Results and ROI
Result #1: 95.8% increase in average Google star rating
Before Podium, the average star rating for TAB Bank was 2.4. After implementing Podium, the average star rating soared to 4.7, a 195% increase in just three months. “Podium worked phenomenally in terms of generating reviews,” said John.
Result #2: 12x increase in total reviews
The team’s initial goal, after they implemented Podium, was to go from 30 to 100 reviews. After segmenting their first group and requesting reviews, they quadrupled their initial estimate and brought in over 400 reviews. John explained, “the response we got was crazy! We beat our goal by four times the amount and it was all in just three months.”
Result #3: 300% increase in review response rate from text vs. email
By utilizing text messages, the response rate for review requests skyrocketed. Email brought in close to a 0% response rate and texts blew past that by 300%—rounding up at least 3% of all review requests that went out to customers. “Previously, we would send the requests to the entire bank, to all of our customers. And we wouldn’t see any reviews. Now, we don’t even send to the entire bank and the response rate is incredibly high.” John explained that if they were to send out review requests to the entire customer base at the same time, “we would be overwhelmed with responses and we like to respond to every review—whether it’s positive or negative, we try to respond to all of them.”
Result #4: Transformed brand awareness
“We’ve developed social listening tools with Podium. Instead of defending ourselves, we’re now seeing TAB Bank show up on Reddit and other social platforms with people recommending us,” said John. Even more incredible is how the online community shows up to advocate for TAB Bank. “We’re seeing individuals championing TAB Bank, saying, ‘It’s amazing! They are a great bank and they have really high reviews.’ The specific mention of our high reviews is really incredible,” said John.
The bank has even seen an uptick in press since their reviews increased. Tier-one publications like CNBC and The New York Times have started picking up on online conversations, including TAB Bank in “best online account” and “best checking account” articles. John explained, “Podium has become a really strategic part of the success we’re seeing.”
Result #5: $200M in new deposits from marketing campaign with improved online reputation
While it’s difficult to quantify the specific impact of new customer reviews and increased Google ratings, as well as what portion of new sign ups should be attributed to them, the team saw a clear correlation. After making some adjustments, including using Podium Reviews to improve their online reputation in terms of review quantity, recency, and quality, TAB Bank’s product launch campaign generated over $200 million in the first six months, far exceeding their original deposit goals and time frames. Using Podium to drive higher review counts and a higher average Google rating created the third party validation new customers need to trust TAB Bank.
“There’s definitely a correlation to the success of our recent product campaign. Search didn’t change—we still saw people asking, ‘Who is TAB Bank?’ ‘What is TAB Bank?’ But now, we have a much stronger story to tell about who we are with online reviews,” said John.
Result #6: Record-setting growth for the loan portfolio
“We’ve seen a lot of success and growth on the loan portfolio side of the business,” said John. “Quarter four in 2020 and quarters one and two in 2021 have set the record as the best running quarters in the bank’s history. When you beat your all-time record by an additional 10% in one quarter—it goes to show that social proofing, highlighting and emphasizing the overall customer experience, it’s a great way to do that.”
Reviews typically mention TAB Bank’s differentiators—quick funding, flexible loan deals, and positive customer experience. “People want a partner and when they read about how we can be that for them in reviews, when they see a score that reflects a positive customer experience, it all adds to their decision making,” said John.
Result #7: Improved feedback and customer experience
From a customer service standpoint, collecting more reviews has allowed TAB Bank to get a better view into the customer experience. Before Podium, reviews swung from one star to five stars—from the extremes of what a customer could experience at the bank. Now, the reviews are filled with three, four, and five-star reviews, detailing what makes their experience with TAB positive, and what areas could use improvement.
“Reviews have really helped us to look at what areas need to be improved and what we need to fix,” said John. “It’s feedback that we weren’t getting before Podium. Now we’re getting additional insights and actual feedback from reviews.”
TAB Bank has seen incredible success in improving their online reputation with Podium. A higher review count, higher average star rating, and a better process for collecting customer feedback have all aided in the brand awareness the team set out to improve. “Our executive team sees the results we’re getting from Podium and they’re really happy. A quick Google search shows that we can highlight how well our employees are doing and how we provide a great experience for our customers,” said John.
Now, John and his team don’t worry about reviews. It’s no longer a major roadblock for the business and they’ve been able to shift their focus to other strategic activities. “For us to not only exceed our initial goal of 100 reviews by four times that amount, but to also have a 4.7 average star rating—from an ROI standpoint, you can definitely see why Podium is a positive.”
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Very few jewelers can say they’ve gone from selling jewelry from a horse and buggy to doing it all online and over text. Lux Bond & Green, a family-owned jeweler with five locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts, is one of them. In 1898, Morris A. Green started operating his fine jewelry business out of a horse-drawn cart, repairing and selling gold and silver jewelry including pocket watches and gold eye frames on the streets of downtown Waterbury, Connecticut. More than a century later, Lux Bond & Green is one of the longest continuously operating jewelers in the United States.
“Being family-owned is pretty important to us,” Andrea Mascaro, Marketing & Advertising Director at Lux Bond & Green, told us. “But I’m not so sure it’s important to our customers anymore. What seems to be important to them is the level of service they receive and the level of attention they get.”
Lux Bond & Green is a business with a rich history. While they’re still rooted in their tradition and core values, they haven’t let that keep them from adapting to the rapidly changing technology environment—especially during a global pandemic. When COVID-19 hit the U.S., it not only accelerated their need to adapt, but also changed their perspective of how they view their business.“The movement with COVID and everybody starting to shop online more has changed our perspective,” Andrea told us.“It’s made us realize that we’re really a technology company in the jewelry industry.” When people started to go into quarantine in the spring of 2020, Lux Bond & Green was left with five physical locations and zero foot traffic. That was a major problem. But Andrea and her team quickly began to see it more as an opportunity to embrace change.
“The luxury market expects top priority customer service,” Andrea told us. “It was demanded of us that we needed to figure out how to make our customers happier.”
What specific problems were you facing as a business?
Lack of online reviews.
“Everything was starting to move online and we needed a better online presence. We work with a digital media company, and one of their suggestions was that we needed to step up our Google reviews to drive more traffic to our website, getting out there and spreading the word through the internet.”
Losing website traffic and sales.
“In the beginning, our website was just a channel for people to look and connect, not necessarily shop. It has become more apparent as the years go on and lifestyles change that the website is another store. It’s another experience altogether. Our goal was to make our website feel like you’re entering into one of our stores.”
Insufficient response times.
“Our customers were looking for ease of use. They were looking for quick responses. They wanted things done quickly. We work with certain luxury brands that require a certain level of experience and service. They require us to respond on all of our channels, including social media, in under seven minutes.
Difficulty managing communications for multiple locations.
“People were already communicating through their cell phones, including all of our sales associates to their customers. And so it became something that could get out of control quickly if there wasn’t any way to monitor it or guide it.”
Difficulty navigating digital transformation.
“We’ve tried to take this omnichannel branding approach of luxury service. The in-store experience is very white glove. It was a challenge for us to take that and move it to our other platforms, like texting, the website, and our social media.”
Outdated payment process.
“During COVID, people didn’t want to exchange their credit card with someone, even in the store. And regardless of COVID, nobody likes having to put in their credit card information online or over the phone, especially now that we’ve all grown accustomed to things like Apple Pay and other one-touch methods. We quickly realized that we needed a faster, more secure way to collect payments from customers.”
How have you used Podium to solve those problems?
Collecting more than 1,000 reviews via text.
“It’s been wonderful. We have hundreds if not thousands of five-star reviews now. And it’s been a great tool in terms of feedback to know either where we’re missing the mark, if we are, or how great we’re doing and what customers like the most.”
Improving website experience and collecting 1,687 Webchat leads.
“With Podium Webchat, if a customer selects a store, the message then goes to the location manager or whoever they deem responsible. And they then assign the conversation to someone who’s our watch specialist, or someone who’s a good diamond buyer, or something to that effect.”
“If we didn’t have [Webchat], and a customer had a question about something, I’m sure they would go somewhere else. If we lose that touchpoint, then we’re probably going to lose that customer. We certainly have found that we’re getting more conversions because it’s easier to guide people online when they have questions, as opposed to just letting them click off the website.”
Improving response times and overall communications.
“Responding to our customers before we had texting? It was really difficult. It was a phone call. And so when you’ve got people on the phone and on the [sales] floor and they’re working and now they have to come off the floor and make a phone call, whereas podium allows us to have their cell phone and their computer stations around our stores where they can log on and respond, or they can go on their texts and go, “Oh, you know, so-and-so customer just texted me. He’s looking for a baby gift. Let me go find something that might work and send him a picture. So it’s been very helpful in completing that white-glove branding experience throughout all of our platforms. We respond to all text messages, all social media, all emails from customers within 10 minutes”
Managing communications for multiple locations.
“Podium has become such an integral part of our business at this point in time because we’re able to watch our teams communicate with their customers and we’re able to see how quickly they’re responding. It gives us something to motivate them as well. We send out a weekly report that we get from Podium via email and say, ‘Hey, great job responding to these inquiries and text messages.”
Streamlining the payment process and experience, collecting $4.2M.
“One of the ways for us to succeed in business is to keep ahead of the times. And so for us to explore Podium Payments was just kind of the next step. Our customers were looking for ease of use. They were looking for quick responses. They wanted things done quickly. And I think it was just easier for us to process payments using Podium as opposed to coming into the store and swiping their card or going online and entering it in. it was just the quicker of the two.
Everyone has their phones—they’re such an important tool for all of us. It made our customers’ lives easier, it made us easier to work with, and it helped expedite the process for us. You have everything programmed into your phone. It’s easy. Click. Send. I’m done. So I think it becomes more of a convenient tool for us. It’s allowed us to increase our customer service and give our customers more possibilities with the way that they want to shop.”
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Even though many businesses are closed, pawn shops have seen a spike in business the past couple of weeks since they are technically essential financial institutions. Now more than ever, people are looking to pawn retailers to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic via trades for crucial goods and loans custom-tailored to their needs.
As one of the top pawn shops in the country, King’s Jewelry & Loan is using Podium to remain operational at a time when face-to-face interactions are limited. To showcase their commitment to staying open for those in their communities, they’ve transitioned most of their interactions online. They have started to leverage Podium to enable text-based payments as they socially distance. “It’s so easy, we just send a text and get paid,” says Sam Shocket, owner. “Our customers love the convenience, and we love the fact that we’re able to stay open and keep serving our community.”
They’ve also started using Podium to keep their customers informed on their employee policies and inventory, maintain open communication with clients, and encourage curbside trades while keeping both their staff and customers safe.
As customers visit pawn retailer’s websites in search of a grand bargain or short term loan during this time of great need, shops need to create convenient interactions that foster comfortability, safety, and drive future business into the store as the crisis rescinds.
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Ted knew collecting reviews was crucial to outranking competitors on Google, but admittedly his process was far from perfect. “We had instructions on a piece of paper for how to do a Google review, or we would email them.” Even though the process worked occasionally, it wasn’t anyone’s favorite part of the day. “It’s hard to keep on your team when you’re not getting the results.”
He wasn’t waiting for a solution to walk right into his office, then one day it did. “We bought a security system from a company here in the city. At the end of the service he asked if I would do a review for him on Google. He pulled out his phone and sent me a review invite. I was sold. I contacted Podium and pretty much signed up on the spot.”