What is Podium Starter?
Podium Starter is an Interaction Management™ Platform which aims to help businesses improve customer interactions. With a messaging inbox and a platform to streamline and manage customer reviews, sentiments, and payments, it’s a lighter version of the full Podium product. We highly recommend Podium Starter if you’re a small business interested in testing a solution for customer reviews and interactions before purchasing a full product.
Table of Contents
- What is Podium Starter?
- Podium Starter Review Summary
- Podium Starter Pricing & Cost
- Podium Starter Features
- Podium Starter Customer Support
- Podium Starter vs. Competitors
- Is Podium Starter Right For You?
Podium Starter Review Summary
Podium Starter is the free version of the Podium product and was launched in 2019. Podium was founded in 2014 and currently has over 45,000 customers. The software is used to enhance communication with customers, generate and manage reviews, and gauge customer sentiments.
The full Podium product includes features such as customer messaging, payment collection, analytics, and internal team messaging for $399 per month. New customers are also required to sign annual contracts. The company introduced Podium Starter as a way for new customers to explore their software without committing to the price.
Podium Starter offers almost all of the same features as the full Podium product. However, there are limitations to some features. For example, you can only request 10 customer reviews and send 100 outbound messages per month.
Overall, Podium Starter is a highly valuable offering particularly for small businesses, or those with minimal budgets. There’s very little downside to testing the software – you can use the free version permanently or decide that you’d like to upgrade to the full version at any time.
Podium Starter Pricing & Cost
Podium Starter is entirely free. There is a payment processing fee of 2.9% and a $0.30 charge per transaction. You can upgrade to the full Podium product at any time.
Podium Starter Key Features
Below is a chart of the key features included with Podium Starter. We’ll describe each feature and mention any benefits or drawbacks. Images of the software will also be included to give you a sense of the tool’s interface.
Live chat, or webchat, enables customers to contact companies in real time. Podium Starter enables chat with a widget that you’ll install on your business website using a few lines of code. From that widget, displayed below, visitors will enter their name, initial message, and phone number to begin texting with your customer service representatives.
While customers can only communicate via texting, messages will come through to your Podium Starter inbox, which can be accessed on the company side on desktop or via the Podium mobile app.
Podium Starter consolidates messages from Facebook Messenger, Google Messaging, Apple Business Chat, and text messaging into one inbox. Messages will provide the visitor’s contact information and indicate which webpage they first chatted you from, which can give you a sense of which pages on your site might be creating questions.
From within the inbox, you will be able to:
- Request payment from customers
- Send files and attachments
- Invite customers to write a review
- Add internal notes
- Block visitors
From within your dashboard, you’ll be able to create outbound messages to current or prospective customers. This feature is helpful as it allows you to actively create messages to customers rather than waiting for them to reach out to you. However, there is a monthly limit of 100 outbound messages, so be aware of this if you think you’ll require higher message limits.
Podium Starter allows you to send review prompts to customers. This makes it easy for customers to review your business or service, which can boost your company’s public Google rating. The downside to the reviews portion of Podium Starter is that you are only allowed 25 unique review conversations per month, so if you’re a large organization and anticipate more interaction, you’ll be constrained by the limit.
All reviews will be displayed in the dashboard, where you’ll be able to filter and search by date range, star rating, review site, and more.
Podium Starter enables you to request and process payments from your customers. Customers will be texted a link through which they will complete transactions. You’ll pay a small per-transaction processing fee to use the tool.
You’ll be able to track payment metrics from the Podium Starter dashboard. The dashboard tab provides an overview of payment activity, bank transactions, the time to payment, number of requests, and the amount processed (amount requested compared to amount paid). You can export all reports as CSV files and sort by locations if you have Podium installed on different websites.
The dashboard tab provides an overview of your company’s messages, payments, and reviews. The dashboard offers most of the information you’ll need to track your responsiveness and performance. There are helpful features that can help you know how you stack up against competitors—for example, the “Competitive” tab lets you list some competitors to see how your ratings compare.
Most of the information in the dashboard will appear like the view below:
The additional features are listed below.
- Mobile application
- Shared team inbox
- Help Center
- Training videos
Podium Starter Customer Support
To connect with Podium Starter customer support, you can use the widget on their site to text with their team. You can also call the phone number provided on their website.
|Customer Support Channels||Live Chat (Text), Phone|
|Other Support Resources||Help Center, Training videos|
|Application Status Page||No|
Podium Starter Alternatives & Competitors
Podium Starter is similar to other customer engagement platforms like Birdeye. The Starter tool is also somewhat similar to other tools that enable chat between organizations and their customers.
Is Podium Starter Right For You?
Podium Starter is an excellent choice for any company searching for a small-scale reputation management platform. There are monthly limits to the features, which are described above, but if you don’t believe these will hinder your customer engagement, it is not an automatic downside. As the product is free, you can try it out without any risk and can upgrade to the full product if you exceed the feature limits.
If you’re searching for a limitless communication experience, you can read our review of the full Podium product here.
If you are interested in trying Podium Starter, sign up today.