Podium is one of quite a few online reputation management companies on the market today. But as a messaging platform offering an easy way to collect Google reviews, is Podium all that it’s cracked up to be? While managing your business’s online reputation can be difficult, especially when you are dealing with an influx of negative reviews, online reputation management companies can help, but some are better than others. By looking at the good and the bad, let’s find out if Podium is the right platform for you.
Podium Compared to the Best Online Reputation Management Companies
Podium is one of our favorite ways to manage and gain Google reviews for your business. But they’re hardly the only choice for reputation management. Check out these four other solid choices, pulled from our full post on top online reputation management companies.
Nextiva is a straightforward tool designed to help you monitor brand mentions, schedule social posts, and reply to all your messages from a single dashboard. Take control of your online reputation and contact Nextiva today.
Birdeye is similar to Nextiva, but with a lot more functionality (making it more challenging to learn) and a stronger focus on forming authentic connections with your audience to holistically improve your reputation over time. Snag your free demo today.
Podium: The Good and the Bad
Just like for all online reputation management companies, there will be good and bad features to consider. Podium offers some excellent features for reputation management and customer interaction, but it also has a few drawbacks that could make or break the product. Let’s take a deep dive into both sides of the spectrum, and you can decide what works best for you.
Excellent For Getting Google Reviews: Getting customers to leave a Google review can be a difficult task, but Podium can help alleviate this difficulty with its built-in omnichannel functionality that utilizes MMS and SMS prompts. Instead of email chains and chatbot requests, after your initial customer interaction, the Podium software will send out a review request via text message. The text message will offer a one-click link, so your customers can click the link, choose which platform to review on, and leave their review.
Podium is the easiest way we’ve found to receive Google-specific reviews. Google is one of the most popular search engines for reviews, and with Podium, your customers are led right there with a click of a button. Podium also allows you to include Facebook and other industry review sites as options for your customers.
Easy Team Collaboration: Whether you have two team members or 20, Podium makes it easy to collaborate with your team while giving context to every customer conversation. With Podium, there are no unopened emails or complex phone transfers, especially not when you have access to one simple and manageable inbox. You can also collaborate with your team members by sharing customer conversations and connecting with them from anywhere.
With Podium’s unified inbox, you can send direct and group messages with pictures, videos, GIFs, and attachments for maximum effect. You can also adjust your notification preferences and filter out the updates you don’t need, making it easier to stay up-to-date and prioritize certain customer interactions. Podium’s team inbox offers customizable templates, autoresponder, automations, permissions, and the ability to assign conversations for relevance.
Smart Customer Feedback: Customer feedback is critical for the improvement of your business, and just like for reviews, Podium makes it easy for you to get quick responses from your customers—all you have to do is ask a question. Unlike other online reputation companies, there are no links or lengthy surveys. Podium relies on SMS messaging for customer feedback, so you can expect more responses within minutes and not months.
Once a customer has sent through their feedback, you can immediately view their score and jump into a conversation in real time, making it easier for you to resolve any issues if they arise. Podium offers you feedback templates, or you can write more relevant custom questions. Some other nifty features include real-time notifications, schedule feedback requests, automated responses, analytics, NPS, and a switchboard.
Omnichannel Customer Interactions: With Podium’s excellent omnichannel capabilities, you can interact with customers in more ways than one. Not only does the platform utilize MMS and SMS messaging, but it also lets you answer customer questions instantly through video chat and webchat. With Podium’s video chat feature, you can personalize your customer’s experience and respond more meaningfully to detailed customer questions and shorten the sales cycle—all without the need for in-person interaction.
You don’t have to download any third-party apps either, as you can send a video call invitation link to your customers through your Podium inbox. You also get access to virtual appointments, screen sharing, and a flip camera.
Alternatively, Podium’s webchat feature lets you capture leads straight from your website. Answer questions, schedule appointments, and close deals without sounding like a robot and aesthetically match your brand with customization options for buttons, avatars, greetings, and after-hours reminders. The webchat feature also offers multi-location transfers, daily digest emails, autoresponder, smart responses, and leaderboard functionalities to compare each employee’s response times.
Very Poor Customer Support: Unfortunately, Podium has a few drawbacks, with the first area being customer support. There is a high volume of negative reviews on many review sites regarding Podium’s subpar customer support, with many users complaining about similar issues. The most common issue surrounding Podium’s customer support was that it would take weeks for customers to hear from a representative, and when they did, it was lackluster or entirely unhelpful.
Many users found that Podium’s customer representatives would often transfer calls to other reps who didn’t know what the issue was, so customers had to re-explain their situation. Others found that Podium’s support team would never follow up on issues, and getting anyone to answer a phone call seemed impossible.
Nonexistent Onboarding: We have found many reviews claiming that Podium offers little to no onboarding assistance, with some customers waiting months for help, even after paying for the product. Onboarding assistance seems to go hand in hand with customer support, as many customers have spent weeks to months trying to get into contact with a representative to help with a variety of installation inquiries.
Software onboarding should be a seamless process, but unfortunately this doesn’t seem to be the case for Podium, as many found that its customer representatives were unresponsive.
Issues with Cancellation: Most software companies will allow you to cancel your account or subscription online immediately. However, with Podium, the cancelation policy insists that you must contact support 30 days before. Many users have complained that they have tried to cancel their subscriptions for weeks but are repeatedly ignored or transferred to other reps who can’t help.
According to many users, Podium has made it incredibly difficult to cancel your subscription, and there have been a few cases where Podium would continuously charge customers afterward. While the issue of repeat charges is only hearsay, we found too many negative customer experiences to not mention in this review.
Podium Pricing and Options
Podium doesn’t currently disclose its pricing packages on its website. However, we found many reviews that claim its pricing options to be steep.
According to one review site, Podium starts at $249 per month, but other review sites and users have said they paid between $300 and $400 per month. Here’s a quick overview of what we found:
- Podium Standard — $399 per month
- Podium Webchat Add-On — $100 per month
There are no free trials available, but you can request a free demo and create a custom pricing package with Podium’s sales support team.
Podium has a few other product offerings that help you create meaningful customer interactions and build a positive brand presence online. One of these offerings is known as Podium Campaigns, which is a new feature that lets you take advantage of the 98% open rate of text messaging and implement SMS marketing into your campaigns.
Podium’s campaign feature lets you grow your marketing database naturally and receive immediate insights, all while marketing like a human. With opt-in choices built into Podium’s interactive tools, you can go about business as usual without the need to reach out to multiple customers.
You can send marketing messages to the same customers you are already building a relationship with by using the same SMS thread. There’s no need to create multiple new message threads or send out bulk emails when you have Podium to do all the work for you.
Whether you want to measure, view, or maximize your results, Podium gives you immediate insights into your marketing efforts. You can understand how your SMS marketing campaigns are working with digestible results through tables and graphs from the Podium Dashboard.
Tailor your campaigns to your specific business needs with customizable templates and specific groups. You can make your content more personalized and preview it before sending it off to your customers.
Podium Campaigns is a separate product, and you can watch a free demo to get started.
Improve your customer satisfaction, reduce fees, and save time with Podium’s payments feature. Whether you need to send invoices or collect payments, Podium has got you covered.
The Podium payments feature lets you sell while you text by sending a simple link to close deals before a customer loses interest. And if you run a physical store, you can re-engage customers who have already walked out.
This feature lets you save valuable resources and cut back on postage, paper, and phone tags. You don’t need to do a great deal to send and receive payments when Podium does all the work for you. Not only can you save money, but you can get paid faster by requesting payment in an existing Podium text conversation.
Alongside many areas of the Podium software, you can create customizable invoices as well by branding them with your company name and logo. You can also establish different payment methods for certain types of customers and purchases, such as only allowing e-checks or removing credit card purchases.
You can export the payments feature to your favorite accounting software, as Podium offers integration-friendly data formats. These formats can help you see who has completed payment and who needs a follow-up message.
Podium payments also let you quickly process refunds straight from the dashboard, connect multiple bank accounts, easily itemize your invoices, and give flexibility to your customers with several ways to pay, such as credit, debit, Google Pay, or Apple Pay. The feature also offers advanced fraud protection and secure payments with Podium’s PCI-compliant software.
Podium Payments is a separate product, and you can watch a free demo to get started.
How Podium Ranks
Podium is higher in the ranks when compared to other online reputation management companies on the market today. With its omnichannel capabilities and focus on SMS messaging, it’s no surprise that Podium is easy to work with when it comes to grabbing Google reviews.
Overall, Podium is a decent online reputation management company, especially for receiving Google reviews. Its SMS messaging software makes it easy for you to create meaningful customer conversations and build brand loyalty.
With additional product offerings like campaign and payment features, there is a chance for Podium to help you improve your customer interactions and marketing efforts.
However, you should definitely consider where Podium falls short. Solid customer support is a critical area for many users, and not having proper access to it can make or break a product, especially when other reputation management companies may offer better support.