Podium Expands Interaction Management Platform to Now Include Payments

Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor, Hotels

Podium, an interaction management platform for local businesses, announced the addition of Payments to its existing suite of interaction management tools, allowing local businesses to utilize text messaging to securely take payment directly from the Podium platform.

Two-way SMS text messages have shown to be the most effective and engaging way for businesses to connect with their customers. It both improves their customer experience and completes the transaction to get paid faster. By engaging with customers through simple text-based payment links, what has either been a resource-intensive phone call or a multi-week turnaround with mailed invoices can now be completed within minutes.

Podium's platform currently facilitates millions of customer interactions for more than 43,000 businesses of all sizes -- from single location medical and home service providers to professional sports franchises and enterprise retailers with hundreds of locations -- in the United States, Canada and Australia.

"Podium is now our go-to for payments, not just for Webchat leads, but for any payment with a fan," says Ty Wardle, Vice President Ticket Sales & Services with the Utah Jazz. "We went from spending two to five minutes per phone call trying to collect payments for tickets to just sending a convenient text. Not only does that make our team way more efficient, but it has improved our ticket buying experience to being one of the best in the NBA."

By having a text-based payment solution, the price of sending a text with Payments is much lower than mailing a statement and businesses don't need as many dedicated staff members to handle it. In traditional "card-not-present" transactions that are typically handled over the phone or via mailed invoice, these transactions have roughly a 2% completion rate. With the companies in Podium's Payments beta, that completion rate tripled as well as provided 80% reduction in staff time resources.

With text messaging, businesses not only engage customers where they already communicate, but they provide a much richer customer experience by allowing them to respond proactively in the same channel in which the payment was requested, rather than have questions about emails and mailers and no ability to respond and give quick context.

"In the past five years since Podium launched, we have been at the forefront of solving the biggest interaction pain points local businesses face," said Eric Rea, CEO of Podium. "One of the largest things we have always heard from our customers was how difficult it was to conduct the $20B+ worth of card-not-present transactions that they transact each year. Podium Payments allows businesses to modernize their payments by simply sending a text, solving everything from outstanding invoices such as medical bills or home services jobs to retailers wanting a more convenient way to close a sale through messaging. We are excited to roll this out and continue to improve every interaction that local businesses conduct."

Founded in 2014, Podium is now working with more than 43,000 businesses across the United States, Canada and Australia. In 2019 alone, nearly one in four (24%) U.S. smartphone owners used Podium's platform to connect with a local business.

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