How Podium Automated 87.8% Of Slack Questions with Dashworks AI

April 23, 2024
Prasad Kawthekar
Prasad Kawthekar
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What changed for sales productivity in 2023
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
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What changed for sales productivity in 2023
What changed for sales productivity in 2023
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Podium is a customer messaging platform that helps businesses with a local presence connect with their customers at critical touchpoints, enabling them to strengthen their business. Founded in 2014 in Lehi, Utah, Podium initially aimed to help local businesses build reputations online more efficiently. Since then, the company has grown significantly, offering a suite of services, including online review management, text marketing, a CRM system, payment processing and phones solidifying its position as a comprehensive solution for local businesses.

Podium has facilitated over Billions of interactions for hundreds of thousands of local  businesses. It has modernized how local businesses operate, gaining a reputation for providing user-friendly and effective solutions that enhance customer interactions and boost local businesses' online presence. Recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in North America, Podium's current valuation exceeds $3 billion.

Information Overload and Knowledge Gaps

Podium's Customer Support and Success teams identified several areas of opportunity that they aimed to address with Dashworks. These included:

  • Lack of Alignment: Given the rapid updates to processes and enhancements to Podium’s suite of products, it became difficult to keep the team in sync with the latest procedures, best practices, and escalation paths; alignment gaps such as these can drive less than optimal customer service outcomes.
  • Information Overload: The sheer volume of information related to all the different components within their products can be difficult to navigate for the team. They sought a solution that would strike a balance - providing enough information to be useful, without overwhelming team members with unnecessary details.
  • Knowledge Gaps and Silos: With a fast evolving product, the team was constantly challenged to ensure that everyone had the necessary knowledge, resources, and information to perform and provide the best customer experience possible. Due to the rapid pace, moving information out of smaller siloes was an essential need to avoid dependencies and bottlenecks, especially if specific team members are unavailable at any point.
  • Training Gaps: Rapid changes in the product and processes can make it difficult to have the most up to date training for team members. As a result, team members can end up unprepared or unsure of how to handle certain situations.
  • Maintaining Documentation: Keeping documentation up-to-date was very challenging, especially in a fast-paced environment.

As a result of these pain points, they noticed a proliferation of help channels on Slack, where customer support and success teams would pose questions about different products or features. Often, these questions were redundant or documented, but in a hard to find place - the kind that could be addressed with a knowledge-base article. However, team members found it easier to post their questions in Slack rather than searching for the answers themselves. This led to  significant demand for support and product team members, responsible for responding to these questions.

One such channel that consumed a significant amount of time was for questions related to Podium’s Phones product, one of the most important and complex products that Podium offers. As Richie Hoffman, the product manager for the product, put it: "The prospect of not spending 10 hours a week answering these questions is a game changer for me personally."

“The prospect of not spending 10 hours a week answering these questions is a game changer for me personally.”

- Richard Hoffman, Principal Product Manager

Build or Buy?

Thomas Mancuso, Head of Product Partnerships at Podium, outlined the team’s thought process when exploring different solutions to these problems. They recognized that creating an in-house solution for their pain points would be challenging due to the technical complexity.

Initially, Podium had three engineers experimenting with AI and feature development as projects in their product line. Podium decided to have these engineers concentrate on developing product features for Podium’s products. Consequently, partnering with Dashworks for their internal use cases was the most practical choice.

Initial Success and Rapid Adoption

In late August 2023, Dashworks was officially launched, marking a significant milestone for the team. The product's first use case was rolled out for the internal “Phones” product Slack channel, showcasing its immediate value and effectiveness. Following this success, numerous other teams quickly requested access to Dashworks, highlighting a strong demand for its capabilities across the organization.

Podium identified one of Dashworks' key strengths as its seamless setup process, requiring minimal clicks to enable Podium's most heavily used tools, including Gmail, Google Drive, Salesforce, Slack, and Confluence. This simplicity made adoption swift and painless for the different teams.

Quantifiable Impact of Using Dashworks

Dashworks has significantly improved Podium's customer operations. It has automatically answered over 11,800 employee inquiries, accounting for 87.8% of questions posed across sales and support help Slack channels.

The resolution time for the remaining inquiries that need human intervention has been reduced by 69.5%.

Moreover, the average waiting time for a response has been cut from 18.9 minutes to less than a minute.

In total, this has decreased the time spent responding to questions and awaiting responses by 96.2%. This is equivalent to adding four full-time employees to the GTM team, a 69.3x Return on Investment.

Dashworks has also extended its positive impact beyond quantitative benefits by optimizing daily workflows across the organization.

“Dashworks shortened the onboarding time, shortened the response time, and really freed up a lot of time for our product managers who were being those resources for customer questions.”

- Thomas Mancuso, Director of Global Product Partnerships

Improved Customer Satisfaction

One of the immediate benefits Podium experienced from using Dashworks was the capability for frontline team members to promptly get answers to their questions during customer interactions. In the past, the team would rely on individual searches or collective team effort to find answers. With Dashworks, answers are now received within seconds, leading to faster response times to customer tickets and consequently shorter ticket lengths. This has significantly contributed to Podium's customer retention strategy by improving the speed and quality of responses to customer inquiries, thereby positively impacting customer satisfaction.

Swift Incident Resolution

Dashworks' effectiveness was demonstrated during an incident early in their evaluation. During this time, new and complex carrier standards and requirements warranted changes to the messaging aspect of Podium's business. The incident occurred over a weekend, requiring the team to work continuously for three days, with some members barely getting any sleep.

Without Dashworks, the team would have needed to set up a conference call involving numerous participants such as team managers, and would have resulted in a massive backlog of tickets that would have lasted weeks.

However, Dashworks proved to be a crucial tool in this situation. A dedicated Slack channel was created for the incident, and a document outlining problem-solving methods and expectations was shared through Dashworks. Within an hour or two of the incident's onset, the support team, consisting of over 50 individuals, was able to use Dashworks' Slackbot within the channel to find specific information to resolve the issue. This allowed the team to find answers and solutions simultaneously, eliminating the need for any follow-ups. This approach has since become a part of their workflow, enabling them to quickly ask questions and primarily find answers within Slack.

Faster Ramp-Up Time

One of the significant benefits Podium has experienced from using Dashworks is a reduction in the ramp-up time for their support representatives. Support teams often face high turnover rates, creating a continuous cycle of hiring, training, and education. Introducing Dashworks has made this process more efficient. Instead of dedicating extensive time and resources to get new recruits up to speed, Dashworks has helped quickly ramp up new support representatives to effective support levels. This has also helped ensure higher customer service quality by ensuring all representatives are well-equipped to handle customer inquiries.

Accelerated Sales Cycles

In sales, response time is vital for closing deals. Thomas Mancuso from Podium notes that Dashworks has been extremely helpful in assisting sales representatives and customer success managers in answering product-related queries, significantly decreasing their response time to customer questions during the sales cycle. These quicker responses expedited the deal cycle considerably, allowing them to move in a faster lane.

Faster Product Velocity

Dashworks has not only accelerated ticket resolution times but also significantly reduced the number of support tickets requiring multiple levels of escalation. This has reduced wait times for Podium's customer-facing teams and also freed up valuable time for their Product teams, allowing them to focus on more critical tasks like feature development and product shipping. They can leverage the Dashworks Slackbot to efficiently handle product-related queries. The bot's access to both public and private product documentation ensures accurate responses. This time-saving solution has empowered the team to allocate more hours each week to delivering innovative features to customers.

“Dashworks has been a life changer for our organization.”

- Karina Becerra, Director of Customer Advocacy

Advice to Peers

Thomas Mancuso from Podium encourages other companies considering AI adoption to dive in and start learning by doing. He suggests that while AI might seem intimidating due to its rapid development and utilization, companies can quickly gain value and guidance from working with startups like Dashworks. Leveraging these startups' expertise can provide insights on how to incorporate AI functionalities into their own platforms. Thomas states that Podium, having started their AI journey two years ago, is now experiencing a significant positive impact on their customer experience, product development, and growth, largely supported by their use of AI.

Karina Becerra, Podium’s Director of Customer Advocacy, advises that for customer service teams exploring AI integrations, a willingness to iterate is crucial. Teams should be ready to define a broad set of measurable objectives. Monitoring progress and making timely updates is vital for achieving incremental benefits throughout the process. This iterative approach guarantees continuous improvement and maximizes the potential of AI solutions in customer-facing operations.

Future Development and Opportunities

The integration of Dashworks has brought about an exciting transformation within Podium. It's not just the customer-facing teams that have benefited; the platform has significantly enhanced how the documentation is created, edited and shared. Dashworks has infused efficiency and collaboration into their daily workflows, making a marked difference across different parts of the company.

The deployment of Dashworks has already started to demonstrate positive quantitative outcomes. In terms of future developments of Dashworks the team is excited about the potential of multimodal understanding, which allows AI to tackle issues based on images and videos, and the prospect of further workflow automations across their tools.


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