What happened to the once-dreamed-of 15-hour workweek? Despite past predictions that the workweek would shrink, people are working more than they used to. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always translate into more wealth. Though they work more, millennials seem to be worse off financially than prior generations.
This begs the question: How do you win people’s attention when they have fewer dollars and even fewer hours to go around?
Vasili Tsoutouras, CEO of Adelaide-based Allstate Pest Control, asks himself that question every day. “People are really time-poor, again,” he told us. With 17 years in the business, Vasili has seen firsthand how customers have changed. He’s learned that the quickest way to the heart of today’s customer is by saving them time.
“I was looking for a way to interact with customers better, quicker,” Vasili told us. Even something as simple as a technician running a few minutes behind would often turn into a game of phone tag. The technician would call the office who’d then call the customer. It was frustrating for all involved parties.
Vasili thought messaging might be the answer to his problem, but he’d been burned by clunky texting platforms in the past.
Vasili’s team used to send out messages using their management system. Unfortunately, they couldn’t attach files, and customers couldn’t even respond. “It was very clunky and limited,” Vasili told us. “It was less than ideal.”
The technology wasn’t Vasili’s only concern. “As an organization, one of the big things that worried me was what happens when someone messages back and the person’s unable to take that message,” Vasili said.
While at work one day, Vasili saw a story on LinkedIn that got his attention. The story was much like the one you’re reading now. He read about a Podium customer who had seen great success with messaging. He started doing some of his own research. Six weeks later, Vasili ran into the Podium booth at a conference in Australia.
“I thought, that’s convenient. All right, sign me up.”
“I went back to Adelaide and got Podium going. I had everything up and running before the training even happened. I was already getting reviews. When my Podium contact went to train me, I was like, ‘I don’t know if you need to train me.’ It’s that easy.”
Now, instead of phone tag, if a technician is running behind, it’s just two clicks of a button. The customer is notified instantly that the technician is running late. Because the message comes from the technician rather than the office, the technician builds rapport with the customer before they even arrive at the home. The customer feels comfortable. The technician is ready to do their job. All barriers are gone.
“The best thing about Podium is that everybody in the organization, from me down to the last technician, can see those conversations appearing,” Vasili told us. His team can see not only the conversations coming in, but also whether they’ve been assigned to anyone. They route each conversation to the right team member, and the customer never even knows that they’ve been handed off. The days of conversations falling through the cracks are gone.
Vasili shared a recent example with us. One day, a customer messaged Vasili’s team with a concern. The message went straight from Webchat to Allstate’s team inbox. They discussed the problem and responded to the customer within a few minutes.
“In the past that probably would have been a phone call, or an email. It would’ve taken a long time to solve the customer’s issue,” Vasili told us.
“What makes it so special is the speed with which you can handle a customer inquiry, even issues from the field.”
Customers aren’t the only ones who’ve changed. Vasili told us that he’s seen a shift in the mindset of his field technicians. He’s found that they’re trying harder than they did before implementing Podum. They take more care to delight customers and get reviews. As Vasili put it, “They wear it as a badge of honor.”