Updated · Jun 09, 2022
Best for: Simple and flexible interaction and review management
What Is Podium?
Podium is a reputation management software that lets you generate reviews, interact with customers, and accept payments. Eric Rae founded the Utah-based company in 2014. Since then, over 100k businesses have used its services.
One of its core beliefs is that “convenience wins.” There’s supposed to be an easier way to build up a good reputation and ultimately grow your business. And that’s where the Podium app comes into play!
It will help you:
- Accumulate more reviews
- Capture leads from your website
- Launch text campaigns
- Manage all communication from one inbox
- Video chat with your customers
- Accept card and text payments.
It also has a mobile app with most of the core features.
Now, that sounds fine and dandy, but does it really deliver? And more importantly, how can it benefit your company?
Let’s find out together.
Here’s what Podium has in store for you.
The first thing anyone interested in your service will do is check out your ratings. That first impression can make or break things for your business.
Luckily, Podium can handle reviews with ease across multiple platforms, like:
- Google My Business
- Dealer Rater
- Healthgrades, and more.
You can send invites to your clients, which speeds up the whole process. It takes as little as two clicks to leave a review! You can then view and manage those impressions.
And the best part?
You don’t have to go hunting after them on every platform — you can reply to all of them on your dashboard. Furthermore, you can watch your reviewers’ distribution across websites and other valuable data - more on that later!.
Podium has a messaging inbox that streamlines multi-channel communication. It’s similar to the review dashboard. It organizes your incoming messages via SMS, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Zendesk, your company’s website, etc. You can even place them into custom categories.
And there’s more.
You can mark them as read or unread and assign them to team members. You can also use templates for common questions, which is neat!
There’s another time-saving feature that’s worth mentioning — automation. You can automate messages sent through:
- Facebook Messenger
- Google Click to Message
- Apple Business Chat.
For routine tasks, it's best to use appointment reminders and feedback requests.
So, what does it look like in action?
You can create custom text campaigns or use templates. You can even target specific groups of customers with personalized messages.
Your clients will also have an easier time signing up if you include opt-ins in your texts. No one wants to jump through a thousand hoops and links to subscribe.
Want to hunt down leads right from your website? If so, Podium has a webchat widget that’s precisely what you need.
Here’s how it works.
Clients can click on the small chat icon on your website. Once they do, they’ll be asked to provide contact info, including their phone number. Then, they’ll be able to talk to one of your team members.
Most importantly, the conversation doesn’t end once they leave your website. Your hot leads won’t just fizzle out. The webchat integrates with your inbox, and you can continue just where you’ve left off.
Nothing beats face-to-face conversation sometimes. It can be downright indispensable for customer service! If there’s something wrong with your product, your customers should be able to demonstrate it.
I’m glad to report that the Podium app keeps video chatting as straightforward as possible.
It takes one click to initiate a secure video call. Switching between it and plain ol’ texting is also very natural and easy. You can also share screens and resolve issues much quicker.
Don’t underestimate the importance of customer feedback. There’s no better way to identify your company’s strengths and potential pitfalls than by just asking.
So, how does Podium handle this task?
This platform allows you to text a mini-survey. You can send two questions:
- On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend us?
- What made you choose your score?
There are no links to click through, which results in a much higher response rate. Furthermore, Podium has a customer feedback dashboard where you can filter responses and zoom in on the negative ones.
Overall, it manages to simplify this usually laborious process — kudos to that!
This reputation management software also doubles as a team collaboration app.
Your team members don’t have to flip between several apps to communicate. You can simply do it from the convenience of Podium’s inbox. It supports one-on-one convos and group chats.
Podium’s text-to-pay tool lets you collect payments via text. Your customers only need to click on the link and choose their preferred method. You can accept:
- Google Pay
- Apple Pay
- Bank transfers.
But, are there any extra costs?
There’s a standard processing fee for all Podium text payments, and that’s it!
And there’s more good news:
You can also connect multiple bank accounts and issue branded invoices.
Analytics provide a much-needed insight into your business’ performance. Podium keeps track of your inbox activity, such as:
- Inbound leads
- Median first response
- Total conversations.
These metrics help you determine how well you attract and keep leads.
You can analyze your reviews, too. You can monitor your:
- Average review rating
- Total reviews
- Review invites.
There’s even a sentiment analysis function. This report zooms in on your reviews' most common positive or negative keywords.
One more thing!
Podium supports competitive benchmarking. You can compare your performance with up to five competitors based on:
- Total reviews
- Average rating
- Latest reviews.
The platform integrates with 180+ apps across multiple industries, such as home services, healthcare, retail, automotive, etc. Here’s a small preview:
- CDK Global
- Housecall Pro
Ease of Use and Interface
Podium has a lot to offer in terms of raw functionality. But, how user-friendly is it?
Very much, as it turns out!
Even though the app has many features, the dashboard doesn’t look cluttered. It’s clean and sleek!
As soon as you launch the Podium software, you’ll notice the top menu. You can find the dashboard, inbox, surveys, reviews, and other tools there. A side menu will open up containing additional options when you click on one.
For example, when you choose the inbox, you’ll find different groups and categories of messages on the left side.
Overall, using the app is a piece of cake! It’s incredibly convenient due to the integrations — you can access everything you need from one place.
In addition to that, you can also make use of the help center, guides, webinars, and blog. The help section is detailed and approachable, with plenty of articles for each topic.
You can’t have a Podium review without looking at customer support!
Here’s what you need to know.
You can reach out to the reps via email and text during their working hours (9 AM-12 AM Eastern time, Monday through Friday).
Unfortunately, I had to wait four days for a reply. In the end, they didn’t even answer my question. That’s not a good look for the platform’s customer service.
And I’m not the only one who’s had a disappointing experience. I’ve checked out other reviewers on G2, TrustRadius, and GetApp. Quite a few say that Podium’s team has lousy communication skills.
And many complained about canceling being unreasonably difficult!
It’s a bit ironic that the Podium platform has shoddy support. While dedicated to improving how you interact with your clients, it can’t even treat its users right.
So, what about Podium’s pricing scheme?
There are three plans in total:
- Essentials - $289/monthly or $249/month (billed annually)
- Standard - $449/monthly or $409/month (billed annually)
- Professional - $649/monthly or $599/month (billed annually)
You can also try the service for free for 14 days and see how it suits you.
But, how do the plans compare to each other?
Essentials has most core features, except integrations, automations, and custom branding. On top of that, Podium limits your marketing contacts to 100 and your total contacts to 1000. And only three users can access the app!
Meanwhile, the Standard and Professional plans lift most of these limits and support the more advanced features. Still, the number of marketing contacts is capped at 500 for Standard and 1000 for Professional.
Obviously, the Essentials package’s design is for small businesses. However, at that price point, it’s too expensive for most startups and SMBs. And what’s more, it severely restricts the number of customers you can text and doesn’t include integrations.
The rest of the plans are also pricey but suitable for growing medium-sized and big businesses.
Podium Review - Verdict
Here are my final thoughts on the service.
Flexible interaction is Podium’s forte. It helps you branch out and reach customers in various ways: texting, web chat, video chat, social media, etc. All communication goes to one inbox, which is fantastic.
The app also makes short work of reviews. You can even track specific keywords on review sites. This is all powered by more than 180 integrations, and there are new ones added every day.
But, the app is not without its flaws.
The Podium customer service is unreliable. It’s also more expensive than its biggest competitors, such as Reputation.com and BirdEye. Additionally, the most basic plan isn’t well thought out, and it’s unfit for smaller companies.
So, who can benefit from this service?
Podium is a robust reputation management solution for those that can afford it. I can recommend it to larger companies and teams, especially in-home services, hospitality, healthcare, and retail.
Does Podium have a mobile app?
Yes, Podium has a mobile app for iOS and Android. However, according to some users in their Podium reviews, the Android version is quite buggy,
Is Podium HIPAA compliant?
Don't worry; Podium is a HIPPA-compliant service. You can find its Business Associate Agreement here.
What is Podium Starter?
Podium Starter had a free plan that included some essential tools for texting and reviewing. It’s officially discontinued.
Why is Podium so expensive?
Podium is a reputation management solution with powerful tools for engaging clients. It’s pricey, though, and not a good option for companies on a budget.
Selma is a content writer with a love for all things nerdy by day and an internet archaeologist that likes to dig up obscurities by night. Mostly she's trying to balance between many obsessions. Right now, it's bass playing and reading hard sci-fi about vampires in outer space - next week, who knows.
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