By Nick Miller and Eric Rea, Podium
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Podium has come a long way from our days above the bike shop.
It started with my Dad’s tire shop. He owned and ran an incredible business that had plenty of happy customers. But he was frustrated. His online presence simply didn’t accurately reflect his customers’ in-person experience. And he wasn’t alone.
When I co-founded Podium with Dennis, we started our efforts by creating an effective, efficient way to gather reviews for local businesses. We’ve since used that success to build out an entire platform of solutions designed specifically for doing business with customers—in the moment. And while our platform has expanded, our mission remains the same: to modernize the way business happens locally.
A Square Peg in a Round Hole
The in-store and in-person experience is not dying or dead.
Most consumers (about 90%) actually prefer brick-and-mortar locations to online distributors. Local businesses offer something online competitors can’t match—a friendly and helpful go-to resource who can help them address pain points or provide solutions when customers need them the most. And not only that, there are some services or purchases, like going to the dentist or having a plumber visit your home, that quite simply will never be done online.
But, there’s still a disconnect.
Local businesses are trying to put a square peg in a round hole by using platforms and marketing strategies that aren’t built for the in-person experience.
We set out to change all that.
A Toolkit for the Convenience Economy
Reviews were the initial puzzle piece. But we quickly discovered that Reviews were symptomatic of an even bigger issue. Most local businesses lacked tools that could enable frictionless customer interactions—they just couldn’t compete with the overall online experience. So, we worked to equip local businesses with long overdue solutions.
More importantly, we saw that combining the use of these products was generating a powerful flywheel effect; with Reviews and Webchat helping businesses get chosen more often, and Messaging and Feedback helping create five-star customer experiences, businesses were winning more leads, retaining more customers, and then easily leveraging those customers into even more growth.
Creating a Category with Interaction Management
We soon found ourselves in a predicament—there were no existing product categories that fit the impact and capabilities of our product suite. Like our customers, we wound up trying to shoehorn ourselves into outdated solution categories that wouldn’t give our products the justice they deserve. We too were trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.
For that reason, we are defining a brand new category: Interaction Management.
Interaction Management is a categorical umbrella for products that facilitate modern interactions—an all-in-one platform that helps you win more leads, earn repeat customers, and do more as a team.
Within Podium, two-way messaging allows businesses to provide the type of efficiency and convenience today’s customers have come to expect.
At Podium, we’re beyond excited to see what the future holds as interaction Management transforms, enhances, empowers, and connects the dots for local businesses and their customers.