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How to supercharge your local business

Communicate, collect reviews, close deals, get paid - all over text | Daniel Fayle - Chekkit

About Chekkit

Daniel: Chekkit is an all-in-one customer interaction platform where we essentially help local businesses and brands go digitally. And what that means is a couple of different things we do. When we started out with the company, we helped local businesses get found online through the power of reviews. Review management generation is the second portion of what we do, and our solution is helping to make the experience convenient for local businesses and their customers. They get found online, and then they can go over to their website. The interaction through text, Facebook, Instagram, and all those different channels make it super convenient for that local business to do business with that prospect or potential customer.

How does it work?

Daniel: We started on the review management side. To give you some background, we started with local restaurants, and with those chains, we’re doing general marketing. We started with a mass promotion texting software and solution. Essentially, the customer would go into that restaurant and collect a piece of contact information when they signed on to Wi-Fi. The business can send them different text messages for promotions, events discounts, coupons, and that sort of thing.

We started with that product solving that problem. Then we really got into the review management side of things. We were just helping those local businesses get reviews on places like TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook, and any niche review platform that product really took off. That’s kind of where we started. We really got into the review management side of things. And from there, we looked at every other way we could help that local business make a very convenient process and just conversation for them and those customers. Testimonials and reviews are a big portion to help businesses when customers or people search online, and we also help them make that experience as convenient as possible.

Chekkit best features

Daniel: I would say the number one would be the review management piece, proactively getting your customers to leave you that review. If you do it the old-school way, it can be really tough. Web chat’s been a really big hit. If the customer goes on that business’s website, whether it’s a jewelry store, dealership, or dental clinic, they can have that text communication so they can text back and forth, which is very convenient cause you don’t have to call in.

You can book an appointment right there, and you can pay an invoice right there. You can do things just very conveniently from your phone. Web chat and just the texting portion of what we do has been a big hit. And then our payment solution, sending out an invoice with a text message, is pretty cool. And the customer can pay via GooglePay, ApplePay, or any major credit card.

How do you generate reviews?

Daniel: Honestly, it’s pretty simple. We take out a couple of steps in the review process, but essentially there are a couple of different ways we do it. When we started, it was more of a manual process. The business would have to input the phone number, email, or contact piece and then send a review invitation. The customer would just click on the link. It would be kind of a branded fancy review invite. They could click on the link and choose where they leave that review. But now we have different integrations with different CRMs, so they can send it out automatically if they want, or you could do it more of a bulk level every week or month with campaigns and whatnot.

Chekkit pricing plans

Daniel: We have two different pricing. We have a standard, and we have a premium. The standard is $99 per month, and then we have the premium, which gets you a payment schedule, up message, and other features, and that’s $199 a month. We have quite a bit of integrations too. We had the connector when we started with Zapier because it is huge. That just helped us with some of the basic integrations. Shopify has been pretty significant. People have asked for that. I’m trying to think of some other ones that are, and those are the two that come to my head anyways.

Chekkit product use cases

Daniel: We work with a lot of different verticals, so we work with a ton of jewelry stores, a ton of dealerships, auto collision, and dental clinics. I would say probably the top right now is jewelry shops, our stores, and probably dealerships auto. We work in many different verticals, and most brick and motor and local brands and businesses could utilize our staff. From mom-and-pop shops to some more enterprises like Ative Canada and Dental Corp of Canada. We work with storefronts with just one location, right up to businesses with a couple of hundred locations.

Chekkit really has two different solutions. One is more of a corporate solution, so they can analyze all their locations in one dashboard, which is a nice view. And then, on the other side, we have the single dashboard where they can do all the fun things like send out reviews and get reviews, hop on video calls, collect payments, and text back and forth with our customers, like a mini CRM.

What is the Digital Management service?

Daniel: We rolled out with a new service, but we’ve always been a pure software play with a software subscription. There’s a flat fee, and there’s no hidden cost. Because our software integrates and works so closely with those local brands, websites, and their local SEO, there’s obviously a lot more built into local SEO, helping them get found on Google with organic search—obviously, website design, hosting, all that stuff, and social media management.

We basically came up with this full-service offering. Suppose any of those local businesses want to utilize us for their local SEO and just get found online in terms of organic reach. In that case, they can do that if they want us to manage their social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or others. Obviously, posting and responding that’s a full-time job. Businesses can take that on for them like a fractional CMO, essentially. If they want upgrades on their website, they can do that. If they want an entirely new website, we can offer that and website hosting.

A lot of the time, local businesses will go, and they’ll have one company for their SEO and one that does their website design and hosting. They have maybe an in-house person that does their social media management, so there are a lot of different pieces to that. We just said – hey, if you want to come to one spot, just a one-stop shop, we can help you with all that. I think it’s pretty scalable, so I wouldn’t say we’re limited in any sort of sense. Of course, the more customers we take on, the more people we hire to take on some of that work. Software will always be more scalable than the service side of things.

How is Chekkit different?

Daniel: When you’re in a market and competing directly, many products, especially on the software side, can look similar and have similar features and functionality. If you’re using PandaDoc, there’s obviously DocuSign, and there are a million others, and they all have similar features. For us, we find that keeping our prices low and keeping them affordable has been our message to local businesses. Some of the other way is customer support.

Sometimes they call a business, especially if they’re a bigger operation. You might have to wait 45 minutes or an hour. Our support chat level is on the site, and our times are down to a minute, right? If you have a customer support question or concern, you’re getting an answer immediately. Our customer support team’s been phenomenal. I think that’s an overlooked competitive edge that we’ve definitely mastered.

What has been your best growth tactic?

Daniel: We started out in very unconventional, old-school ways. We made a lot of door-to-door sales, which were not scalable at all, but it helped us. Doing things that don’t scale, we got a lot of traction there. We found it to be successful. I think the top growth strategies really have been one acquisition channel that has been cold emails been really good for us. We have an affiliate marketing channel that we use so people can refer us, and they can get paid reoccurring fees. We offer 25 to 30% off, and it’s a decent chunk of money, and you get that every single month. So people are motivated to give us those referrals. Yeah, so I think those are kind of the.

What has been your biggest challenge since starting the company?

Daniel: There have been obviously a ton of challenges, but I think the biggest one is starting the company, trying to get it off the ground. When you start out, even if you have an amazing product and you’re going to sell it, people will always ask – who else is using your product? It’s a hard question to answer when nobody is using it. I think just getting the initial traction and getting out the ground is one of the standouts, more considerable challenges that we’ve had. But there have been a lot of more minor challenges for sure that have come our way.

What’s your best piece of advice for a first-time startup founder?

Daniel: I was a commercial banker. I worked in commercial banking for Scotia Bank. My background is really just banking and finance. This is my first startup, and I think one of the things that helped me was that I went all in. Financially, there are a lot of people that just aren’t in that position or don’t have the money saved to have a burn rate. They need a year to get the company off the ground or whatnot. But if you can do it, do it because it’s hard to work at nine to five, or you’re working seven to five sometimes and then coming home and trying to build something, you’re just exhausted. It’s very tough. If you can, focus just on the startup and focus, focus, focus.

What’s your favorite software apart from Chekkit?

Daniel: I like Notion because it keeps me organized. I use it like a mini CRM. There’s a to-do list, and there are a bunch of things in Notion that I like. Basecamp has been great for having our files and all our information for the company, and Basecamp has been really convenient. It just makes everything organized. Those are probably the top two that I utilize all the time. I don’t mind Slack, but the notifications every 10 seconds are overrated.

Podcast Host & Guest(s)

Cristian Dina


Cristian Dina

Managing Partner & SaaS Podcast Host @ Tekpon
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Managing Partner & SaaS Podcast Host @ Tekpon

As one of the founding members of Tekpon, Cristian has worn many hats within the company, but perhaps none shines brighter than his role as the charismatic host of the Tekpon SaaS Podcast. Cristian is a community builder at heart, being the Bucharest city leader for SaaStock Local and the author of the best-selling book King of Networking.

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