The ease of communication with new and existing customers is the biggest benefit of Podium.

Bond cropped

Austin Bond

President, Sleep Tight Inc.

Bedzzz Express, a specialty mattress retailer in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee, has been serving customers since 1995. In over 25 years, they’ve grown to more than 50 stores and boast top brands like Beautyrest, Sealy, Tempur-Pedic, Resident, and Cahaba Bedding. With a history of customer-first experiences, Bedzzz Express is focused on offering the best mattresses at the best prices. 

 

Austin Bond, President of Sleep Tight Inc., a franchise of Bedzzz Express, runs 29 Bedzzz Express stores in the Southeast United States. Before Podium, they experienced several friction points in the customer journey. 

 

The Challenge

 

No strong digital communication channels: Before Podium, Sleep Tight Inc. didn’t offer any form of web chat on their website. With no way for a customer to chat or ask questions, they resulted to phone calls or emails, which most customers avoided altogether. “I can count on one hand how many emails we had come in, so it wasn’t really working,” said Austin.

 

It was difficult to keep up with industry changes: “We were trying to stay on top of changes in the industry with blogs and other ways to connect to customers,” said Austin. But with so many changes in search and online research, the team struggled to keep up with new marketing strategies.

 

Gathering reviews was a manual process and inconsistent across each store: The process to collect reviews was limited and outdated—a QR code taped to the desk asked passing customers to post their review online. “It was basically a postcard taped to the desk. We would ask customers to point their phone at the QR code and go to the website to post their review,” said Austin. The team would also send emails that included the website link after each purchase and send a physical postcard home with each customer, but the results varied from store to store.

 

Too much time was wasted on the phone: Sales representatives relied on phone calls to try and reconnect with interested customers. “We used to try to get people to call back, but they don’t answer or check voicemails anymore, so we never heard back,” said Austin. Delivery calls also went right to voicemail. Delivery confirmation phone calls would often come from a random phone number and customers would decline the call. If the delivery wasn’t confirmed, sales staff or the store manager had to follow up with customers manually.

 

The Podium Solution

In 2018, the Bedzzz Express team didn’t just find their customer communication solution with Podium, they found a platform that streamlined the entire customer journey. 

 

Connecting online shoppers with local experts: When customers start a conversation with Bedzzz Express online, they type in their zip code and, based on their location, they’re connected via text message with the closest store, instead of routed to a central call center. Austin described the experience with Podium Webchat, “The person they’re connected [is] the person at the actual store location that’s closest to them. When they go into the store, the store manager can actually say, “Hi, I was the one texting with you earlier.” It’s really powerful.”

 

Boosting online reviews with a better review request: “We chose Podium Reviews because of ease. And there was a noticeable bump in reviews when we started the automation,” said Austin. The automated reviews process with Podium is saving every sales representative valuable time to focus on solving more customer problems and selling more product. And on the training side, by selecting an automated tool with Podium, getting new hires ready to sell is faster and easier.

 

Creating a faster, more convenient checkout experience: With text-to-pay, Podium is “minimizing the risk of customers not completing the transaction,” said Austin. Now, sales staff can send a payment link directly to customers on their mobile device in the same thread where they’ve already been talking about a specific product, collected the customer’s address, and talked about a delivery date. In-store card readers are also adding convenience to the customer experience at Bedzzz Express. “The card readers are really fast. When you put a chip in, it’s nearly instant. I’ve never seen a card reader transact as fast as a Podium card reader,” said Austin.

 

Saving each store time and connecting better with customers: Now that each store is communicating with customers via text, customer communication is faster, easier, and saving everyone time. “The ease of communication with new and existing customers is the biggest benefit of Podium,” said Austin. “We use Podium for so much communication now. It’s as simple as a text and everybody looks at it. Everyone sees it.”

 

Results and ROI

→ 62% increase in reviews with an average rating of 4.93 stars

Out of more than 3,000 total reviews for Bedzzz Express, nearly 2,000 are attributed to a Podium invite with an average rating of 4.93. Before Podium, the average rating sat at 4.67, but with an automated ask for every customer, a more convenient way to post a review, and a better overall customer experience, the average review rating has jumped to 4.86 overall. On average, the team is gathering 2x more monthly reviews at each location—from an average of 1.75 reviews per month to 3.5 reviews. 

 

→ 12% conversion rate on 2,297 Webchat leads

Averaging 112 leads per month over the last two years, the Bedzzz Express sales staff has seen incredible results with Webchat. They’ve collected more than 2,000 inbound leads, converting at 12%. “I would argue it’s a 100% increase in web leads because we didn’t have a web chat before Podium,” said Austin. The new channel is working so well, it’s adding as much as a single store’s volume each month.

 

→ Saved a minimum of 80 hours on the phone per month

With Podium, the sales staff is saving valuable time every month. Per sales representative, the time savings is at least two hours per month. With 40 salespeople, the savings is well over 80 hours per month. Now, the team can spend more time with customers in person and on a channel that converts—texting. 

 

→ 90% payment completion rate with more than $5 million collected in 4 months

The collection rate with Podium Payments is 90% with more than $5 million collected in the last four months. Plus, the average payment time is down to less than 18 minutes—significantly shorter than before Bedzzz Express offered text-to-pay and customers had to pay in person. 

 

→ Doubled the conversion rate of customers who leave the store without purchasing 

With a direct link to customers via text, the team at Bedzzz Express is seeing another benefit of Podium—a higher conversion of customers that leave the store without purchasing. “Our conversion rate for the people that leave and then come back has least doubled,” said Austin. 

 

→ Improved customer experience and retention 

With a pre-store experience online, Podium Webchat offers a better way to connect with a local sales representative. The in-store experience is elevated with follow up text messages and easy payment options. And the post-purchase experience is more convenient with an automated and convenient review ask. “There’s no other service that we could pay for that could help in all of those areas,” said Austin.

 

“Life before Podium was a lot more cumbersome, slower, more difficult,” said Austin. Now, after implementing Podium across the entire customer journey—from discovery, with Webchat, to consideration, with Messaging and Payments, to post-purchase with Reviews—the customer experience is customer focused. Bedzzz Express is communicating with customers in preferred channels, offering faster checkout options, and collecting reviews for a more accurate online reputation. 

 

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