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Kari Schellie Podcast

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Kari Schellie

Sr Marketing Manager Behler-Young Company

Kari Schellie  is an experienced marketing professional and emerging leader in the HVAC wholesale industry. She has a unique blend of digital marketing and IT experience with retail firm Meijer and manufacturer Besser.

Kari and her team are among the top performing Moblico clients and utilize a broad suite of Moblico services including a custom mobile app and texting to generate orders and support customers and employees on the move.

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Kari Schellie Podcast Transcript

David English:

Welcome back to the Mobile Matters Podcast by Moblico. I am your host again, David English. As a quick reminder, this is a 12 part podcast series highlighting a variety of organizations who are leveraging all that mobile technology can do for them, in a distribution environment. Now, in each episode we’re going to be covering how texting, mobile apps, location based marketing solutions, and a variety of other things are really, really effective for distributors across the country. It’s amazing how well some of this technology makes their lives easier, and that’s why we’re here. We’re here to talk about working smart versus working hard, and this technology really does that.

David English:

Now, today’s guest is Kari Schellie. She is the Senior Marketing Manager at Behler-Young in Grand Rapids Michigan. Now, they’re the premiere HVAC distributor for licensed contractors, 19 locations throughout Michigan. Due to their size, Kari realized that accurate, and consistent communication was key for really growing their business, so together we worked out a plan and we want to talk about some of that today. I’m going to let Kari jump on in here real quick. Kari, how are you doing today? What’s going on?

Kari Schellie:

Hi, I’m great. Thanks for having me.

David English:

Thank you for taking the time and really good to have you. Real quick, briefly jump in, give everyone whose listening kind of your background, what’s going on, who are you?

Kari Schellie:

As you mentioned I’m the Senior Marketing Manager with Behler-Young. I’ve been with the company just over two years now, but I’ve worked in marketing in eCommerce for over 20 years in both retail and manufacturing, and now I’m in wholesaling.

David English:

Okay, perfect. Now, who is BY? Who are you guys, what’s your business model, give me an in depth idea of what you guys do.

Kari Schellie:

Sure. Behler-Young, as you mentioned often referred to as BY-

David English:

Yeah.

Kari Schellie:

… is a third generation, family owned wholesale distributor of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration products. Again, as you mentioned we’re headquartered in Grand Rapids Michigan, and we represents hundreds of manufacturers, and we serve thousands of customers throughout Michigan and Northwest Ohio. We do have 18 branches, and 140,000 square foot distribution center in Kensington Park, which is just outside Brighton Michigan.

David English:

That’s huge, how big is that facility?

Kari Schellie:

140,000 square feet.

David English:

You get lost in there?

Kari Schellie:

Yes, you can.

David English:

I thought, how did you find Moblico? Obviously we’re in Kansas City, you’re not. How’d you find us?

Kari Schellie:

Our partnership with Moblico started about two years ago. At that time we were working with a bug site developer to launch our new eCommerce and website system.

David English:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kari Schellie:

And, the app that they offered did not meet our requirements, so we partnered with Moblico because they worked with us to develop the tools that we required to meet the needs of our customers. From our app, customers can shop products, they can text to our branches, and that is also through Moblico. They can get driving directions to our branches, and they can use our field tools. They can also see technical tips, register for training and events, and contact our experts. We also have tiles for internal documents that only our associates can view, and tiles for different segments for our customers, and only those customers can view those tiles, and the information within those tiles. So they actually, Moblico gave us the ability to offer all of this to our customers, and our internal team that nobody else was able to do.

David English:

That’s awesome. I’m looking at your app right now, and the tiles, I mean obviously I don’t have full access. But, it’s really user friendly. I mean you’ve got, I’m looking at, what is that? It looks like 12, 13, 14 tiles here? It’s really, really user friendly, is that some of the feedback you’re getting?

Kari Schellie:

Yes, yes, very much so.

David English:

Awesome. How long have you been with Moblico?

Kari Schellie:

Just over two years.

David English:

Two years. Okay, great. Within the Moblico system, I mean you mentioned the app earlier. What all are you guys utilizing? I mean, I know obviously the app which I want to dig into here in a little bit. What else do you guys do?

Kari Schellie:

We do text to branch, or text to landline. We utilize that so our customers can contact our branches. Rather than calling them, they can use that same main number for each branch to contact them by text. They can send pictures, they can send just texts, they can send links to documents. And then, our branches can reply directly to them.

David English:

Are they texting in that same number, or are they texting a different number and someone else is helping them out that’s maybe not at the facility, or something like that? Is it all within the, in your world?

Kari Schellie:

It is all within our world. Any branch associate that you would see if you would want into our branch, would be replying to that text.

David English:

So we have something on their screen that’s showing the text messages as they come in?

Kari Schellie:

They do. The one group benefit I’ve found is that before we had this service, we would have customers contacting our associates on their own personal cellphones, so now they have the opportunity to not use their personal cellphones, so if they’re on vacation or something they don’t have to reply to the customer. Anybody within the branch is now able to return that text.

David English:

On their personal phones? I would assume there was a reluctance to respond on your personal phone, and if you’re on data limits or something like that. It has to make communication a whole lot easier for both parties, right?

Kari Schellie:

Definitely, definitely.

David English:

Was there a learning curve? I mean, kind of rolling out texting in the app and everything that you ran across, was there some training you had to facilitate?

Kari Schellie:

Yeah, so I actually did not have to facilitate that because Moblico stepped in, and they were able to help train. First of all, they set up the system. We didn’t have to do anything, so they made the connections with our phone provider to set each of those branches up so that we can use that main number-

David English:

Yeah.

Kari Schellie:

… rather than a new number for our customers to remember. And then, they also did the training with each associate at our branches as well.

David English:

Walked them through, explained to them how to use it, explained how to respond, and help show how maybe communication problems are made easier within this texting world?

Kari Schellie:

Exactly.

David English:

I’m thinking about, I’m getting off track a little bit and I apologize. But, I’m thinking about generational gaps, and younger versus an older crowd. Is there a difficulty that some have to use the texting or the app, or is it something that everyone adapts to and really kind of buys in pretty quickly?

Kari Schellie:

We’re finding more and more customers are using the different technologies that we offer.

David English:

Yeah.

Kari Schellie:

Including the text to branch, and our app.

David English:

That’s awesome.

Kari Schellie:

It just takes some learning.

David English:

Yeah. I mean, I imagine so but gosh, once you’re acclimated to everything it’s got to be so much more convenient. When putting all these programs together, why was using mobile so important to what you are wanting to do, why was that important to you?

Kari Schellie:

I would just say look around. How often is it that you see someone without a phone in their hand?

David English:

Yeah.

Kari Schellie:

Mobile marketing program is a necessity these days, and it’s going to continue to grow. And, Moblico offers several features that we haven’t even begun taking advantage of yet.

David English:

What all does using the mobile brings to your client base, to your customer base? You mentioned communication, are there any other benefits?

Kari Schellie:

Mobile marketing allows us to connect with our customers 24/7. Almost everyone has a mobile phone. We’re also connected to our phones also. I actually read somewhere recently that 79% of people worldwide have their phones next to them at all times.

David English:

Gosh.

Kari Schellie:

Perhaps that’s not great for relationships, but it’s great for marketers.

David English:

You know, I saw a, I was online the other day, an old newspaper ad. It had a picture of a husband and a wife, and they were dressed in older clothes. It said like, “1964,” or something on it, and both the husband and the wife were looking at a newspaper. And then, on the next screen was a husband and wife, younger, newer clothes, you could see that in the picture it was a newer world they were living in, both on their phones. The idea was not as much has really changed as maybe you think, but I don’t know about you, I get sucked into the world of mobile technology, and Twitter, and everything else pretty quickly. It’s easy to get lost in there.

Kari Schellie:

Yeah, definitely.

David English:

Do you think society has, you do evidently, think society has really changed to where this mobile technology is a necessity moving forward?

Kari Schellie:

Of course. Mobile phones make communication easier for people. We no longer have to leave a message and wait for a call back, we can just send a text and reply when it’s convenient.

David English:

Yeah.

Kari Schellie:

In our industry specifically, we can easily share photos, documents, or videos showing an issue that may need troubleshooting, or a product that a contractor can’t identify, so that’s helped us with our business as well.

David English:

So contractors out on the field, there’s a problem or an issue that’s maybe beyond their training, or they’re not familiar with. They can reach out via text, and potentially resolve the problem in half the time?

Kari Schellie:

Yeah, they could be right on the job site resolving it.

David English:

Yeah, how great is that? I mean, if you’re a contractor, let’s say you’re a technician and you’re in a customers home, you don’t want to be yapping on your phone, talking about how you don’t know what you’re doing, and you don’t want to be … It’s uncomfortable to have that conversation, maybe the customer’s upstairs. I mean, how great is it? You can just say, “Hey, what’s going on here? What’s this wiring problem? I’m not familiar with this thermostat.” It has to make their world more comfortable don’t you think?

Kari Schellie:

Oh yeah, definitely.

David English:

Yeah.

Kari Schellie:

They can resolve the issue right there, or order the products that they need to fix it from the homeowner’s basement.

David English:

That’s crazy. You can order it and then, what? Leave, pick it up five minutes away from the house, and come back, and potentially you turned a serious problem into a resolved issue?

Kari Schellie:

Yeah.

David English:

That’s awesome.

Kari Schellie:

And some of that could be done via text, but they can also use our app to shop for the products that they need. They can see who has it in inventory, where they can pick it up. We also have a will call option at some of our branches where like you said, five minutes away, they could go pick up the products, and come right back to the home and have it done.

David English:

Now, in regards to the app you and I spoke the other day and admittedly we had a scheduling conflict, which was my fault. But, we talked briefly about monetizing the app, and work that you have done … and again, we’re off script, and I apologize. But, work that you have done to help monetize the app. Can you explain to me what you’re doing there that makes so much sense? Because, you’re doing an incredible job.

Kari Schellie:

Sure, thank you. We’ve actually worked with our vendors, we offer vendors an aray of marketing opportunities with BY, including the banner ads within the BY app. Within the last couple years our vendors have recognized value of digital and mobile marketing, so we went as far as offering a digital only package.

David English:

Yeah.

Kari Schellie:

And, we monetize the digital ads that we run featuring our vendors products. We showcase about 10 ads per month on both our app and our website, we also send push notifications, and texts through the mobile app. That prompts our customers to click on vendor promotions, and again, our vendors have seen the value in that, and many of them are choosing not even to go to print. That, they see more value in what we can do digitally.

David English:

That’s awesome, and have you guys been monetizing that from day one, or has it been a learning process that you had an aha moment and, “Oh my gosh, we can do this.”

Kari Schellie:

We actually, because we were halfway into the year when we found Moblico, we were able to set that up for the following years program.

David English:

Yeah.

Kari Schellie:

So we actually have an annual marketing program for our vendors.

David English:

That’s so great. I mean, it’s clever. I mean, frankly, because I don’t know that everyone understands that you can turn your app, and really alleviate some of the cost from it, or all the cost really, by turning it into a profit making machine for you.

Kari Schellie:

Yes, definitely.

David English:

That’s fun, cool, cool. Well I don’t want to take up your entire morning. I really appreciate you coming on. If anyone wants to reach out to you or has questions about your app, or texting, or anything else, what’s the best way to reach you?

Kari Schellie:

Likely email, so it’s Kari K-A-R-I, S for Schellie, at Behler-Young.com.

David English:

Perfect. Well again, thanks so much, sorry about the scheduling conflict earlier, that was my fault. But again, I really appreciate you jumping on today.

Kari Schellie:

No, thank you. I really appreciate it.

David English:

Have a great afternoon.

Kari Schellie:

You too, thank you.

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