increase in sales close rate
of phone calls routed to texts
hours saved every week

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About Budget Blinds of Salt Lake and Davis Counties

One of the original 10 Budget Blinds franchises, the Salt Lake City location opened in 1994. Run by Lindsay’s Fekitoa’s grandparents and mother, their location focused primarily on delivering blinds to customers’ homes in Salt Lake and Davis Counties. “We were one of the first 10 original Budget Blinds franchises and the first one in Utah,” said Lindsay, co-owner of the franchise. In 2021, Lindsay and her husband, Efi, took over the franchise and the business model has expanded to offering shutters, drapes, shades, and more.  With just 8 employees, the Budget Blinds team is busy. Keeping up with customer communication was a challenge before Podium. In September of 2021, after the Budget Blinds convention in Nashville, Lindsay and Efi decided to give Podium a try. And they’ve seen strong results in just under a year.  In only 9 months, Budget Blinds has increased their sales close rate from 45% to 60% and saved their team countless hours by routing 25% of their phone calls to text conversations. “The bottom line is that we can just streamline things a lot better with Podium,” said Lindsay. “The value that Podium Phones has brought to us has been time savings and profitability. It’s made those two things easier because we can streamline phone calls and texting all together.”

The Challenge

Before Podium, Budget Blinds of Salt Lake and Davis Counties didn’t have the option to text their customers. Their current phone provider wasn’t routing calls to the same phone numbers and sales reps were using their personal cell phones to connect with customers. Altogether, Budget Blinds was struggling with the following challenges:

  • Adding texting with their current provider was too expensive. Lindsay and Efi inherited a Veracity phone contract from the previous Budget Blinds franchise owner. And while Veracity handled the Budget Blinds phones and internet, Lindsay was interested in adding texting as a way to connect with customers. Veracity suggested WebEx as an option with a $70 price tag for every user. “The price was outlandish and it just didn’t work for us,” said Lindsay.
  • Working with their old system was frustrating. The phone contract the Fekitoas inherited wasn’t user friendly. The mobile app was hard to use and phone calls weren’t routed to the right person. “The app was glitchy and everyone got phone calls instead of just the one person that was supposed to be getting the call,” said Lindsay.
  • Contacting customers after hours required the use of personal cell phones. Before Podium, sales reps were using their personal cell phone numbers to connect with customers. This made it difficult for Lindsay and Efi to track customer calls and to get a clear picture of customer history with communication scattered across multiple channels.

The Podium Solution

With Podium, Budget Blinds of Salt Lake and Davis Counties has saved time and increased their profits. A higher close rate and better call deflection to text conversations is making both the customer and the employee experience better. Plus, sending review requests and payment links via text has made both of those processes faster and easier. More specifically, Budget Blinds uses Podium to deliver:

  • A single number for text conversations and phone calls. With other vendors, the option to add texting was a separate experience and using the same number for texting and phone calls was important to Lindsay. “We’ve had an established phone number since 1994 and it was just a natural transition to have everything bundled with Podium—phones and our texting,” said Lindsay. “For me, that consistency of having the numbers be the same really made the decision to bring on Podium.”
  • A higher sales close rate. “We’ve seen a better closing rate since we implemented Podium,” said Lindsay. “We’re noticing that from our leads and people who have texted us.” The Fekitoas attribute that increase to more streamlined communication with Podium. “Our close rate has gone up because communication is easier,” shared Lindsay. “When people are up late in bed and want to text something, they can initiate that conversation or send in a question. There are no barriers to connecting with us now.”
  • Full visibility into all customer communication. Now that all calls, customer notes, and text conversations are housed in the same system, Lindsay and Efi can get a clear view into all customer communication. “It’s so much easier to see what was said to each customer over text or in an email or on the phone. With Podium Phones, it’s a lot easier to see what was said and get real clarification,” said Lindsay. With Podium, they can easily catch any mistakes or get to the bottom of any miscommunication. “It’s helping us with accountability when things go wrong—getting to the bottom of what happened if something does go wrong.”
  • More time to focus on growing their business. Podium has opened up time and opportunities for Lindsay and Efi to spend time on other tasks to help them grow their business. “Now we can schedule texts and avoid playing phone tag with customers,” said Lindsay. “It’s just easy to send a text and confirm appointments. And I don’t like to be on the phone so it’s so much easier to send a text and call it good.”
  • Customer calls routed to the right person every time. With Podium, customer requests—texts and calls—are routed to the right person without a different phone number and without using anyone’s personal cell phone. “Podium has just made it a lot easier for sales reps to get in touch with customers,” said Lindsay.
  • Generating better leads. Since implementing Podium, the Budget Blinds team is seeing a better response from Google leads. “We’re generating better leads from Google with Podium now. We have more people calling and texting us now,” said Lindsay. With the option to text when a customer finds Budget Blinds online, more customers are reaching out and the lead quality has improved.
  • Faster response times to leads. Podium has made responding to leads a lot easier for the Budget Blinds team. “We’re definitely noticing higher response times to our leads. And texting helps so much after hours,” said Lindsay. “Even when customers have reached us after normal hours, we’re still able to see the text and know if it’s a problem that needs to be handled right away or if it’s something that can wait over the weekend.” 
  • A better app experience. “Logging into the app and seeing the conversations and call logs—to know who’s calling and when they called—it’s so much easier to track customers with Podium,” said Lindsay. With the Podium app, Lindsay can check in on customer conversations with sales reps wherever she is—at home or at the office. “I use Podium to track our reps’ communication with customers. I can see responses and know that they’re doing what they need to do to make the customer experience better.”
  • An easier way to collect online customer reviews. The Fekitoas are also experiencing another benefit with Podium texting—a better response to review requests from customers. “When a job is complete, we have the option to send a review request from text or through email,” said Lindsay. “But when we text the review request to our customers, we get more reviews.”
  • A faster way to collect payments through text. Sending payment requests has also improved after implementing Podium. Now, the team can send a payment link right in the text conversation they’re already having with a customer. Having the payment links in text messages has been incredibly helpful,” said Lindsay. The new payment experience is easier for customers and the employees at Budget Blinds.

Results & ROI

In just 9 months, Budget Blinds of Salt Lake and Davis Counties has used Podium to see results like:

→ 25% of phone calls now routed to text conversations “Since Budget Blinds is pushing more brand consistency across every franchise, Podium Phones has made streamlining communication through one phone system has been so much easier,” said Lindsay. And the Budget Blinds team is seeing that with more customers consistently choosing to text instead of stay on a call. By offering both options with the same phone number, it’s easier for customers to continue conversations through text, saving the Budget Blinds team 25 – 35% of the time they used to spend on the phone.

→ 33% increase in sales close rate Before Podium, Budget Blinds consistently saw a sales close rate between 40 – 50%. Now, with Podium Phones and texting, Budget Blinds has increased their sales close rate, despite market slowdowns. “Usually we can plan on our closing rate landing between 40 – 50%. With Podium, we’re now between 50 – 60%,” said Lindsay.

→ 10+ hours saved every week by routing phone calls to text conversations By giving callers the option to text instead, Lindsay and her team have saved at least 10 hours every week on the phone, and have been able to offer each customer their preferred communication channel.


“Podium is worth every penny. We’re able to communicate efficiently with our customers through Podium. I would tell anyone on the fence, I would 100% pick Podium.”

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more sales calls captured weekly
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About Mountaineer Heating and Cooling

Founded in 1981 and run with just 15 employees, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling specializes in installing and servicing HVAC equipment in North Carolina and the surrounding states. Joshua Jones, the founder’s son-in-law, is the Office Operations Manager and Controller at Mountaineer and runs the day-to-day finances, manages the marketing, and coordinates with the management team to make sure the business runs smoothly. 

Joshua’s father-in-law started Mountaineer more than 40 years ago after a mentor  encouraged him to go into HVAC. The competition in the area was low and the need was high. With no experience, he and his brother started the business out of their garage with a truck they borrowed until they could pay it off. The business has had a few ups and downs with the recession in the early 2000s and the impact of the pandemic in 2020, but in the last year—since implementing Podium—the company has produced more revenue than any other year in business. 

In just 18 months, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling has witnessed strong growth and introduced a customer-focused experience for payments, communication, and appointment scheduling with Podium. In previous years they struggled with a failing phone system, slow payments from customers, and no way to capture missed leads that went to voicemail or didn’t even register on their phone system at all. With Podium, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling is seeing immediate results—at least 2 additional sales leads every week, a record-breaking start to the year in revenue, more than 200 hours saved every year, a 10x increase in Google reviews, and so much more.

The Challenge

Before Podium, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling had a difficult time collecting payments, scheduling appointments with customers, getting new reviews for Google, and following up with leads and customers via phone. Their antiquated phone system and manual processes to connect with customers weren’t working. More specifically, the Mountaineer team struggled with the following challenges:

  • Relying on phone calls delayed appointments and payments for weeks

Joshua noticed a gap in communication with Mountaineer customers. “A lot of our clientele includes customers that are buying a second home, but these customers aren’t always available to communicate from 8:00 – 5:00 every day,” said Joshua. Customers were calling back after hours to leave voicemails, initiating a phone tag that was frustrating for both Mountaineer employees and their customers. Joshua explained, “It could take weeks to schedule an appointment and weeks to get invoices paid.”

  • Collecting Google reviews from customers was difficult

“I was having a lot of trouble getting any responses back from customers for Google Reviews,” said Joshua. The process to collect reviews—manually pulling a list of customers to ask and then emailing each customer—took too much time and rendered too few reviews. Mountaineer was only collecting one or two reviews a month before Podium.

  • Using their antiquated phone system was risky and complicated

Before adding Podium Phones, Mountaineer was using a phone system that had been hacked several times, required a lot of maintenance, and was overly complicated to use. “The phone system we were using was from a guy in Tennessee who had a side business. We felt like a side project,” said Joshua. “It was overly convoluted for a rural Appalachian HVAC company.”

  • Relying on their old phone system frustrated customers

It wasn’t uncommon for the Mountaineer team to run into problems after hours with their phone system, preventing customers from calling in with emergency maintenance needs. “Customers couldn’t get through to us and that doesn’t look good when customers are paying for you to be on call,” said Joshua. “We would find out on Monday morning that customers had tried to call us four times during a heat wave and we had no record of it.”

  • Listening to customer voicemails was a complicated process

When customers would call and leave a voicemail, Mountaineer’s previous phone system would save the message as an audio file and email it to the technician. “Sometimes the voicemails would be transcribed and sometimes they wouldn’t,” said Joshua. “But the worst part was that the technician didn’t actually get a phone call. And they didn’t have a convenient way to call the customer back right away.” The technician had to listen to the voicemail through an emailed link, open another app, find the customer’s phone number, and then call the customer through the app. “Customers were not satisfied and the experience was terrible for every technician.”

  • Missing prospect calls meant missing sales

With every missed call, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling knew they were missing potential clients. And with an average of $12,000 per job, they were missing out on a lot of potential business and revenue when calls went to voicemail. “Before Podium Phones we missed 20% of our sales calls,” said Joshua. “We were missing 2 out of every 10 calls. That’s $24,000 we were missing out on every week.”

The Podium Solution

With Podium, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling added efficiency and convenience to both the customer experience and the employee processes. With a reliable phone system, a faster payment solution, real-time conversations through texting, and a platform that prevents missed calls and missed leads from falling through the cracks, Podium is helping Mountaineer boost revenue and increase customer satisfaction. Mountaineer Heating and Cooling uses Podium to deliver:

  • Real-time connection with customers through texting

“I brought on texting with Podium to make the whole customer experience better,” said Joshua. By offering customers a way to connect with Mountaineer through text messages, scheduling appointments is convenient and easy. “A lot of our customers respond after hours so we just check it the next day and get everything scheduled,” said Joshua.

  • An increase in online customer reviews

“We’ve had so much success with Podium Reviews,” said Joshua. Now that they automatically send review requests via text, customers are quick to respond and happy to write a review right after a positive interaction with Mountaineer employees. In just six months they’ve collected more than 60 reviews.

  • Faster payments with text-to-pay

Mountaineer uses Podium Payments to collect customer payments via text. By requesting payments through text the Mountaineer team has eliminated the old frustration of collecting every payment over the phone after several back-and-forth phone calls and voicemails. “Now, I send a message to the customer that they can call and pay their invoice or we can text them a link to pay,” said Joshua. The option is helping Mountaineer get paid faster while offering a better payment experience to their customers.

  • Missed calls don’t mean missed sales anymore

“Since we started using Podium Phones, nothing has fallen through the cracks. We haven’t missed a single lead,” said Joshua. Now when a prospect calls and an employee can’t pick up the phone right away, they can send a text instead. Podium Phones plays a message to the caller offering the opportunity to text instead. And when customers choose to leave a voicemail, the message is transcribed and housed with all of their other messages in the same platform as their texts, Webchats, social media messages, and more.

  • A single location for all customer communication

“The best thing about Podium Phones is that everything is right there. Whether people are texting you, emailing you, or calling you—it’s all in one place and everyone sees what everyone is doing,” said Joshua. With this background information, Mountaineer employees can provide a better experience to their customers. Now there’s no need to log in to separate platforms, wait for an emailed link to hear a voicemail, and open a separate app to call the customer back. “Podium Phones really enables us to be more customer focused than we were before.”

Results & ROI

In just 18 months, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling has used Podium to see results like: 

→ 2+ more leads per week and ~$96k per month with Podium Phones

With Podium Phones, leads aren’t falling through the cracks. Now, leads are increasing. “Everything is there in the dashboard so we can get to everyone, we can respond to everyone,” said Joshua. “And now we can call everyone back and know who we’ve called back and who hasn’t been called back.” With the Podium Phones missed call auto reply text feature, Mountaineer is turning previously missed calls into up to $96,000 in additional revenue per month.


→ 20% more sales calls captured weekly

Podium Phones is making it easier to convert leads into closed sales. “Podium Phones has made our lives significantly better,” said Joshua. Automations make it easy to follow up with missed calls, missed voicemails, and even after hours with an option for the caller to text Mountaineer. “Our general manager calls Podium the best decision we’ve made since moving to a digital customer database.”  


→ A record-breaking year in revenue 

“Since implementing Podium Phones, we’ve made more money in our first quarter than ever before,” said Joshua. Now that missed calls and voicemails don’t lead to missed sales and scheduling appointments and requesting payments is as easy as sending a text, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling is reaping the benefits.


→ 4 hours saved every week by automating review requests through text

“Adding Podium Reviews has saved us at least four hours every week,” said Joshua. By automating review invites and getting rid of their previously manual process, the Mountaineer team is saving at least 20 hours per month and more than 200 hours per year.


→ Text-to-pay helped save 22% of annual maintenance subscriptions 

“We mostly use Payments with our service and sales departments, but we also use it to remind annual customers to renew their subscription,” said Joshua. And the new process is working. Payments has helped Mountaineer save 22% of their annual maintenance subscriptions that they generally expect to lose every year.


→ A 10x increase in customer reviews

In just six months, Mountaineer Heating and Cooling has collected more than 60 reviews, averaging 10x the number of reviews they used to get before Podium. “We were averaging maybe one or two Google reviews a month before Podium,” said Joshua. “But in just the last six months we’ve collected more than 60 reviews.”


“Podium pays for itself. It’s worth every penny—it creates a better customer experience, turns missed calls into sales, and helps us not lose track of any lead or customer. Nothing falls through the cracks with Podium.”

Podium can help your business too. Get started now.

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Convert more website visitors by taking online conversations to text messaging.

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Gain critical insights into your business through custom surveys and NPS.