Text messaging can come in handy, especially when handling sensitive situations like funeral planning. Ronald Haulman, Executive Director of Neptune Society Funeral Home and Cremation Services, has been dealing with sensitive and heartbreaking situations with customers for 25 years. They have been using Podium for two months and have already seen how texting can improve the customer experience.
“When we found out that we could text our customers back and forth on the Podium dashboard, our entire strategy for communicating with customers changed,” Haulman said. “Getting reviews when emotional distress is at an all-time high for our customers is difficult. But, with Podium’s Messaging Platform we have found that we can prepare our customers with success. If they give us the green light to communicate via text, we will text them. At the end of a long week’s conversation, handling a very sensitive subject with them, if we have handled their situation with care, they are more likely to leave a five-star review.”
Haulman and his staff deal with information that may be more comfortable to exchange through a text, like letting their customers know when a death certificate has arrived. “A lot of times our customers are more comfortable planning stuff surrounding the death of their loved one via text. It is easier for them to do emotionally,” Haulman said. “For example, my staff will text customers letting them know that we have sent the death certificate out to the doctor, or that everything is fine and we have the paperwork and that their loved one is ready to go to the crematory.”
The ability to reach out to customers through Podium’s Messaging Platform in a non-intrusive way makes it easier to gather the information that they need. It also has allowed Haulman and his team to develop positive relationships with customers in their time of despair.
“After you have texted back and forth with your customer seven or eight times, the customer knows that you care for them and their family,” Haulman said. “That alone makes it that much easier and likely that you will get a five-star review. Messaging Platform has given us another medium to connect and care for our customers.”
More Texts, More Money
Since using the Messaging Platform to develop relationships and connect with customers, Haulman has seen a 20% increase in the reviews he has received. “Before Podium, we never got reviews because we didn’t have any connection with the customer outside of a phone call,” Haulman said. “Now with Messaging Platform we can text and develop that superior customer experience.”
Haulman turned on the “Click-to-Message” button on his Google My Business account recently, driving more traffic to the Messaging Platform.
“Just last week we got a customer through Google’s Click-to-Message,” Haulman said. “I got a text from someone over the weekend, and they turned into a customer because I was able to respond and answer their questions.”
Messaging Platform is also a huge time saver for Haulman and his staff. “For my heavy Messaging Platform users, it probably saves them around 10% of their daily time,” Haulman said. “For my lower users, it is probably somewhere in the 1-2% range. But every one that is using Messaging Platform is reporting back to me that their time spent communicating to customers is down dramatically.”
Texting is the Future
“If you had asked me to text customers 15 years ago, I would have told you that 13-year-old girls text message, and there was no place for it in a professional setting,” Haulman said. “But now, I would be entirely wrong. Customers want to know things and they don’t always want a phone call if they can get their answer in a text. Even our older customers are more okay with us sending them a text. They really like it.”
Not only are customers happier with this form of communication, but employees also are being more efficient in the office.
“My staff is reporting higher levels of efficiency by using Messaging Platform because they are not getting on the phone and having long phone calls,” Haulman said.
“Now with Messaging Platform, we are able to give the customers what they want, when they want, and do it very quickly.”