Make Calls and Send Texts in Podio using smrtPhone

Scott Costello All, Blog, Podio, Tools, Tutorial 9 Comments

I love testing out new services and products that can greatly improve my productivity. Even better when I find one that can be integrated into Podio allowing me to manage more things in one spot. I found one of those recently called smrtPhone.

Communicating with leads and keeping track of each touch is always a challenge. I mean you can send an email, call someone on the phone, text them, leave them a ringless voicemail or even send regular snail mail. That is a lot of different medium to keep track of.

Note: To be upfront, I’m an affiliate for smrtPhone. So if you sign up with them using one of the links in this blog post they will contribute some money to help my blog grow.

smrtPhone

SmrtPhone is a phone and sms service that already has the Podio integration figured out and baked in. You don’t need Zapier, or any connector service, to do anything as it just works with your existing Podio setup.

It’s funny because I look for tools and services that the average person would need guides and tutorials to integrate into Podio. With smrtPhone I really don’t need to create one (though you know I will). Podio integration is a 2 step process that I will cover in the next section.

Once you have done that you are all set. Now to get a quick look at what you’ll be setting up in this tutorial, here are 2 videos (1) demonstrating making and receiving calls from Podio and (2) sending and receiving text messages from Podio using smrtPhone.

Making Calls with smrtPhone and Podio
Sending and Receiving SMS Texts through Podio using smrtPhone

What you need for this Tutorial

For this tutorial you will need to have accounts at the following services.

Podio Account (Premium)

You probably already have one of these accounts if you are on my website, but just in case you can signup for one at the link below. 

For this tutorial, you’ll need access to Globiflow. This means that you will have to have a Premium account. If you are using Podio, Globiflow is a MUST HAVE. So to me it is a no brainer.

Cost: $24/mo
+ Globiflow: included in all Premium plans

Get smrtPhone Account

smrtPhone Account

This is the phone/sms service we will be using for this tutorial. We will be using it to make, receive and manage all our calls and sms text messages from Podio.

smrtPhone gives you a great free trial to test out their service. The only gotcha is that calls are limited to 15 seconds. SO that means the free trial is good for getting things setup and tested, but not for full use. But still, give it a try so you can do this tutorial!

There is a flat monthly cost for this service, plus additional costs per text and call that you make/receive through on of their numbers.

Cost: $50/mo
+Additional Users: $5/mo
+Phone Numbers: $5/mo
+SMS: $.01113 / sms
+Calls: $0.02 / minute

Get smrtPhone Free Trial

How the Podio Integration Works

SmrtPhone integrates into your existing Podio Workspace so you can be up and running with it in a matter of minutes. Well there is some further setting up to implement texting from Podio. I’ll get into that later in this post, but they have a tutorial which is easy to follow.

When you first setup your smrtPhone account, you’ll be asked for the following two things…

  1. Location of your Contacts app and to identify the Phone, Name, Notes, Photo and Company Info fields within that app.
  2. Permission to let smrtPhone create a Communications App in your workspace

Here is more information about the integration apps…

Contacts App

This is where smrtPhone will pull the recipients information from to make calls and for the caller id. While I have a dedicated contacts app for my leads, you may not. It is OK to use any app that contains the desired information.

During setup you’ll be asked to map your Podio App fields to the smrtPhone fields. These fields include Contact Name, Phone, a Photo Field, Contact’s position, Notes and a Company name field. See the smrtPhone form below.

As you can see I don’t have some of the fields in my Contacts app so I just left it blank, which was fine.

Communications App

The Communications App is an app that will be added to you workspace by smrtPhone. This is where all the calls and texts to a contact will be logged. It relates back to your Contacts App by a relationship field. Below are the fields for the full App.

Within the your Contacts App, all communication entries will be shown in the Related Items section at the bottom of the App, see below.

Try smrtPhone

smrtPhone has a free trial, so give it a try so you can follow this tutorial.

Chrome Extension

Another small piece that enhances the integration with Podio is the Chrome Extension. This simple extension allows you to click any number in a Podio Phone Field and call it through smrtPhone.

The image below is a screenshot of the Phone field in my Podio workspace. It adds a link next to the phone number that can be clicked to call the number besides it.

Below is a video showing you how to install the Chrome Extension…

Installing smrtPhone Chrome Extension

One note, is that smrtPhone.io needs to be open on another Tab for this to work. A good thing though is that if it is not, you’ll be prompted to open up your smrtPhone dashboard.

After clicking Open smrtPhone, a new bookmarked tab will show up and then you can re-click the call link to make the call.

Here is a Demo of making a phone call through Podio

SMS from Podio Setup

One thing that really brings this integration to the next level is the ability to send SMS text messages from within your Podio App. With smrtPhone, and a little help from Globiflow, you can do this in two different ways.

SmrtPhone has a tutorial for setting this up: SMS API

This tutorial is pretty good, but I think it leaves some minor things out that might trip up some of you. I tried to fill in the gaps below.

Way #1: Using App Fields

Basically in this setup, you will select the FROM NUMBER, enter an SMS Message and click SEND. These fields will need to be added. The smrtPhone tutorial leaves out some info about this so I’ll go over each field you need to add below.

Label: From Number
Field Type: Category
Settings: Required Field; Single Choice, Drop-down list
Option(s): Add all your smrtPhone Numbers as options.

Use this field to select the smrtPhone number you wish to Send the SMS from.

Lable: Text Message
Field Type: Text
Settings: Single Line
Value(s): -no value-

Use this field to enter in the message you want to send in the SMS text. Once the text is sent this field will be reset to blank.

Label: Actions
Field Type: Category
Settings: Single Choice; Inline
Option(s): Send Text

This is the trigger field that will fire off the globiflow flow that sends the SMS Text message.

After adding these fields we have to create a simple Globiflow Flow to send out the Texts using smrtPhone. What we are doing here is using the smrtPhone API to send the message. This is about all the smrtPhone API can do right now, but its enough for our purposes.

Here is the Flow that I created

FORMULAS

Here are the formulas used in the above flow. If you see a field token like [(Contact) Phone], you’ll have to re-enter those by removing it then selecting the field token by clicking the list icon and selecting the field from the list.



Mobile: preg_match_gf(“/mobile:([^,]+)/”,[(Contact) Phone],1)

Header: X-Auth-smrtPhone:<your smrtPhone apiKey>

From Url: https://phone.smrt.studio/sms/send

POST Params: from=[(Contact) From Number]&to=[(Variable) mobile]&message=[(Contact) Text Message]

Here is a video walking you through the entire setup process…


Way #2: Using Comments

The other way is to use the comment field to send SMS text messages. This way seems a little more conversational and the way most people text. Though mechanically I don’t like the idea of having to type “SMS:” before sending it out. Not sure why that bugs me, but enough so that I chose to use WAY #1 to send out my texts.

This method only requires you to create a Globiflow FLOW and you are done. So in some ways this is easier to implement…Plus you don’t need to crowd your Contacts App with extra fields just to send messages ( I might be talking my way into using this method now HAHA).

Here is the Globiflow FLOW

FORMULAS

Here are the formulas used in the above flow. If you see a field token like [(Contact) Phone], you’ll have to re-enter those by removing it then selecting the field token by clicking the list icon and selecting the field from the list.



Message: str_replace(“sms:”,””, strtolower([Triggering Comment]))

Mobile: preg_match_gf(“/mobile:([^,]+)/”,[(Contact) Phone],1)

Header: X-Auth-smrtPhone:<your smrtPhone apiKey>

From Url: https://phone.smrt.studio/sms/send

POST Params: from=[(Contact) From Number]&to=[(Variable) mobile]&message=[(Contact) Text Message]

Add Comment: SMS Message (From: [(Variable) fromNumber])
To: [(Variable) mobile]
[(Variable) message]

Here is a step-by-step video on how to set this up…

Setting up Sending Text Messages from Comments Field

Adding the Call and SMS Logs

An added bonus for me was having a field in my Contacts App where I can quickly see the last 5 or so calls and texts I had with the lead. While this isn’t necessary, I think it is a cool feature. Plus it looks pretty as well.

What do you think?

Let’s Do It…

SmrtPhone has a good tutorial for this. These two fields are just calculation fields that pull in the items from the smrtPhone Communications App which is your universal log that contains all your calls and texts for every lead.

One small note though, is that you need to add some fields to the Communications App. My first attempt at setting this up I skipped right to cutting and pasting the code and to my surprise it didn’t work. SOOO read this part (this quote comes from the smrtPhone tutorial)…


Before we discuss the history fields, we need a couple of additions to our Communications app to make this work. First, we installed a new calculation field and used the @Created On tag to store the date the record was created. Second, we are using a single line text field to store the “URL Link to Item” from Globiflow, and have written a flow that fires upon the creation of each new record to store the URL so it can be used elsewhere. Once you have made both of these changes, everything else in this next section will work.

Now you see the part that I crossed out about using Globiflow to create the URL Link? No need to do that, we just need to create a simple Podio calculation field. Much simpler! Here are the Podio fields you need to add to the Communications App.

Label: Created On
Field Type: Calculation
Settings:

Formula
@Created On
This will just created a field to store the date and time that this communication took place.

Label: URL
Field Type: Calculation
Settings:

Formula
“https://podio.com/<your org>/<your workspace>/apps/<your communication app name>/items/” + @Unique ID
** Please note that in the formula you must use your communication App’s base url. To get that….

1) navigate to an item in your communication app (if none exist, create a dummy item)

2) Copy the url up until and including the …/items/ part. You don’t need the number at the end. This is the Item ID.

3) Paste the url into the calculation field and surround it with quotes (” …url…”)
https://podio.com/<your org>/<your workspace>/apps/communications-2/items/
4) Concatenate + @Unique ID to the end. You will need to type this out and select it from the field tokens that show up when typing.
https://podio.com/<your org>/<your workspace>/apps/communications-2/items/” + @Unique Id
This field will calculate the link url for the particular communication item. You’ll use this link in the SMS/Call log calculations.

Now we just need to create two calculation fields in your contacts app. These fields will be for the SMS LOG and the CALL LOG.

App: Contacts
Label: SMS History
Field Type: Calculation
Settings:

Formula
var table = “”; var type = @All of Type;
var dt = @All of Created On;
var text = @All of Text Message with nulls;
var url = @All of Calculation with nulls;
var smrt = @All of smrtPhone Number;
var count = 0;
var ints = [];
for (var i = 0; i < type.length; i++)
if (type[i] == “Incoming Text” || type[i] == “Outgoing Text”) {
ints[i] = {date: moment(dt[i]).format(“MM/DD/YYYY h:mm A”),type: type[i],text: text[i], url: url[i], smrt: smrt[i]}; count++ };
ints.sort(function(a,b){
return new Date(b.date) – new Date(a.date);
});
var trunc = “”;
for (var j in ints) {
if (j == 4) {
trunc = “\n” + “!(https://dabuttonfactory.com/button.png?t=” + (count-4) + “+Interactions+Not+Shown&f=Calibri-Bold&ts=16&tc=fff&tshs=1&tshc=000&hp=13&vp=3&c=5&bgt=gradient&bgc=3d85c6&ebgc=073763)”;
break;
};
if (ints[j].type == “Incoming Text”) {
table += “[!(https://img.shields.io/badge/” + ints[j].date + “-INCOMING SMS-green.svg)](” + ints[j].url + “) ” + “!(https://img.shields.io/badge/smrtPhone Number-” + ints[j].smrt + “-blue.svg)” + “\n” + ints[j].text + “\n” + “\n” + “\n — \n”;
};
if (ints[j].type == “Outgoing Text”) {
table += “[!(https://img.shields.io/badge/” + ints[j].date + “-OUTGOING SMS-red.svg)](” + ints[j].url + “) ” + “!(https://img.shields.io/badge/smrtPhone Number-” + ints[j].smrt + “-blue.svg)” + “\n ” + ints[j].text + “\n” + “\n” + “\n — \n”;
}};
if (table == “”) {
table = “!(https://dabuttonfactory.com/button.png?t=No+SMS+History&f=Overlock&ts=22&tc=fff&tshs=1&tshc=000&hp=20&vp=8&c=3&bgt=gradient&bgc=c00&ebgc=e06666)”;
};
table + trunc

NOTE: you must re-enter any field tokens you see in the calculations “@All of …” are field tokens. Make sure when re-entering you select the correct one with regards to “with nulls” as it makes a difference.

App: Contacts
Label: Call History
Field Type: Calculation
Settings:

Formula
var table = “”;
var type = @All of Type;
var dt = @All of Created On;
var owner = @All of Call Owner with nulls;
var url = @All of URL with nulls;
var note = @All of Call Notes with nulls;
var smrt = @All of smrtPhone Number;
var count = 0;
var ints = [];
for (var i = 0; i < type.length; i++){
if (type[i] == “Incoming Call” || type[i] == “Outgoing Call”) {
ints[i] = {date: moment(dt[i]).format(“MM/DD/YYYY h:mm A”),type: type[i],owner: owner[i],url: url[i],note: note[i], smrt: smrt[i]};
count++
}};
ints.sort(function(a,b){
return new Date(b.date) – new Date(a.date);
});
var trunc = “”;
for (var j in ints) {
if (j == 4) {
trunc = “\n” + “!(https://dabuttonfactory.com/button.png?t=” + (count-4) + “+Interactions+Not+Shown&f=Calibri-Bold&ts=16&tc=fff&tshs=1&tshc=000&hp=13&vp=3&c=5&bgt=gradient&bgc=3d85c6&ebgc=073763)”;
break;
};
if (ints[j].type == “Incoming Call”) {
table += “[!(https://img.shields.io/badge/” + ints[j].date + “-INCOMING CALL-green.svg)](” + ints[j].url + “) ” + “!(https://img.shields.io/badge/smrtPhone Number-” + smrt[j] + “-blue.svg)” + “\n” + ints[j].owner + “: ” + ints[j].note + “\n ” + “\n ” + “\n”;
};
if (ints[j].type == “Outgoing Call”) {
table += “[!(https://img.shields.io/badge/” + ints[j].date + “-OUTGOING CALL-red.svg)](” + ints[j].url + “) ” + “!(https://img.shields.io/badge/smrtPhone Number-” + smrt[j] + “-blue.svg)” + “\n” + ints[j].owner + “: ” + ints[j].note + “\n ” + “\n ” + “\n”;
}};
if (table == “”) { table = “!(https://dabuttonfactory.com/button.png?t=No+Call+History&f=Overlock&ts=22&tc=fff&tshs=1&tshc=000&hp=20&vp=8&c=3&bgt=gradient&bgc=c00&ebgc=e06666)”;
};
table + trunc

NOTE: you must re-enter any field tokens you see in the calculations “@All of …” are field tokens. Make sure when re-entering you select the correct one with regards to “with nulls” as it makes a difference.

Here is a step-by-step walk through of adding the Call and SMS logs.


Multiple Phone Numbers

If I’m marketing to distinctly different markets like Probate and Foreclosures, I like to use different phone numbers so I can more easily keep track of statistics. I also like to have a local area code if I’m targeting different regions.

You can have multiple phone numbers with smrtPhone and call out using these different phone numbers using call Flows. Each number costs $5/mo.

Create CALL and SMS Flows

This tutorial is getting crazy long so I’m just going to mention this feature and give you my thoughts. I’ll create another tutorial on creating simple use cases for these flows later.

NOTE: I find this feature to be EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. You do not need it to simply make phone calls or send texts from Podio, but it is very powerful for handling incoming calls effectively.

The basic idea of call flows is to do things like this…

  • Direct calls to a specific person (or phone number)
  • Direct a call to a voicemail if after business hours
  • Call multiple numbers at the same time
  • Ring different numbers in a chain…if one doesn’t answer call the next
  • Have a message said before dialing through to number
  • Record a call
  • What happens if nobody answers
  • Setup an IVR menu (press 1 to talk to Scott, press 2 to ask about selling, press 3 to ask about buying, etc…)
  • Hang up phone (not sure why you would need this, but it is there)
  • Set caller ID number

There are almost unlimited options and controls here. You can also create flows that have multiple branches. Which means you can have many layers that direct a call to the proper person or entity. This is a must learn feature once you sign up.

Pricing

The cost of smrtPhone like everything else is a monthly fee. I’ll be honest, it’s not cheap by any measure at $50/mo, but it does offer a lot of useful features and nice interface.

It does have very straight forward pricing though, which is always good. I haven’t seen any hidden costs. So basically here is the cost breakdown…

Cost for smrtPhone: $50/mo (includes up to 10 users)
Additional Users: $5/mo
Phone Numbers: $5/mo
SMS: $.01113 / sms
Calls: $0.02 / minute

So if you are a small company with you and a couple other users (partner or Virtual Assistants) I can see this costing you about ~$80 to $90/mo. I’m assuming $10 for SMS and $10 to $20 for calls. For a full fledged phone system that sounds pretty good to me!

Mobile App (in Q2 of 2019 )

There is word of a phone app that will make calling out and receiving phone calls with smrtPhone even easier. I’m not quite sure how it will work or the true benefits, but I’ll be sure to update this section when I get more information.

smrtDialer

This is another service from smrtPhone. I was going to call it a feature, but it’s definitely a different service. I’ve never used it but wanted to mention it for those who’s business model might need something like this.

It looks like it is geared towards larger businesses to help create a mini call center. Here is a list of some of the features…

  • Up to 4-Lines per Agent
  • Unlimited Fully Integrated Call intake Forms
  • Calls Recorded and Logged in Podio
  • Helps you stay FCC Compliant
  • Advanced automation capabilities
  • Automated Voicemail & Call Back Drops
  • Campaign reporting

Pricing is $50/mo for 1x Line Dialer and $90/mo for 4x Line Dialer. I’d love to hear someone’s review of this service, so if you use it let me know what you think.


Final Thoughts

I’ll get this out of the way quickly…I REALLY LIKE smrtPhone! If you have been reading my tutorials in the past, you know I’ve used a combination of Twilio, Zapier and Podio to allow for sending and receiving SMS Text messages through Podio. It worked great, but this is easier and also ads in calling and receiving calls from Podio. What is not to like about that???

So far the service has been problem free and has worked great. I haven’t fully tested out the FLOW system yet, but I will be in the near future.

Just like Globiflow, they have a Podio workspace where you can go to ask questions and search for answers already given to past questions. The owner Jordan Fleming is there all the time helping users out.

They are also actively adding features as they just released a feature called Call Carousel. This will allow incoming calls to be distributed evenly between your employees.

While the Podio integration is the main selling point for me, I think the service can stand on it’s own merits with or without Podio.

smrtPhone
If you are interested in more information about smrtPhone or signing up for a FREE TRIAL, click the button below to go over to their site.

Got to smrtPhone

Useful Links

https://docs.smrtphone.io/
https://smrtPhone.io
https://podio.com/smrtphone/smrtphone-users

Full List of smrtPhone Features

  • Instant Numbers
  • Simple Number Management
  • Team Management
  • Click to Call in Podio
  • Voicemail
  • Internal Transfers
  • Drag and Drop Comprehensive IVR
  • Call tracking in Podio
  • Call Recording
  • Podio Customization
  • Inbound & Outbound Text Messaging
  • Mobile Phone Connection
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Scott Costello

Scott is a part time wholesaler, but full time real estate investing addict! As his family grows and his free time shrinks,He has been slowing building his wholesaling business over the past 7 years in between life events.Drive, dedication and never giving up are his strengths.
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Comments 9

  1. Hey Scott!
    Amazing post about the SMRTphone.
    I was wondering if there’s a way to track the phone numbers/Campaigns. So once a call coming in from a direct mail for example, it will show it in Podio and we can track how many calls/leads we got.
    Thanks a lot!

    1. Post
      Author
  2. Hey man…

    I want to get your Podio APP PAck…how does this compares to other podio based systems out there like beastmode, investor-fuse etc….you can please email me to avoid any kind of public issue with those guys..

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Dave,

      Beastmode is a fully automated Podio workspace that uses Globiflow and probably other 3rd party services. From what I gather they have to manually install each instance for you, but overall it’s a much more in-depth and complete system then my App Pack.

      InvestorFuse is not Podio based anymore. For many of the reasons I didn’t continue with REIFLOW, they chose to completely unhook it from Podio.

      My App Pack is just a Workspace of Podio apps to help people get started in created a custom lead management system. There are no globiflow automations. I do have tons of tutorials to help you create your own Globiflow automations for free. Or you can create your own custom flows.

      For me, Podio is all about customization, so any “done-for-you” Podio system will get in your way more then it will help.

      Hope that helps.

      1. We’ve tried tons of premade systems and they’re good to get ideas for improvement, but the way we do things is so different than most other investors that we find that these premade systems don’t work for us.

        1. Post
          Author
  3. Thanks so much for the tutorials – especially the Call & SMS history setup one. It really helped me to decipher how to set it up! Definitely would have taken me a lot longer to do it without your tutorial.

    Question – like how most Podio-based Real Estate Investors set up their apps I have a Property Overview app & A Seller contact app. The Seller contact app is where SmrtPhone is connected as the Contact App so the recent SMS & Call History logs are in there. We work a lot of deals where there’s dead people – so heir situations where there’s more than a husband/wife we’re tracking down. Each heir gets their own contact app (which I could attach a screenshot of what this looks like).

    Anyway, is there a way to make a top-level communication log in the property overview app that shows all communication going in and out through SmrtPhone (like in the above case) but also which contact it came or went from? – hopefully that makes sense –

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Joe,

      Short answer is probably. However I’m inclined to say you’d have to use Globiflow in some capacity to make it work. A Podio calculation field can not drill down through relationships to get into the communication log.

      I would try creating a GF Flow that is triggered on when a communication is added. You could then get the contact it is assigned to and from there get the property overview. Once that is found you just update the log field with the new message.

      That is what my first attempt might be.

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