What to Consider When Buying Website Chat Software

Website chat software can powerfully convert website visitors into qualified leads. However, it can seem disorganized, chaotic, and unhelpful with the wrong tool. Learn what to consider when buying it for your business.

In today’s world, business begins online. Between 70-80% of consumers research a business online before engaging with them. A staggering 97% of consumers turn to online search to find a local business or service. And nearly 90% of all search engine
traffic goes through Google, with the first three listings of a Google search getting 60% of the clicks.

With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that businesses spend hundreds of thousands of dollars driving customers to their websites. And rightly so. The bad news? Businesses across the world are failing to turn their hard-earned website visitors into leads.

While industry averages vary, the average bounce rate for a website is 45- 65%. This means that on any given day, half of the visitors to your website leave without interacting; without watching a video, clicking through to another page, or even clicking a ‘read more’ button. And it only takes about 0.05 seconds for users to make this decision. Add to this the fact that the average landing page conversion rate across industries is 2.35%, and a real problem begins to take shape.

For businesses everywhere, failing to convert website visitors into leads creates chaos and blackholes for resources. Your marketing team scrambles to perform A/B tests, optimize your site, and mine through analytics to discover what’s causing visitors to jump ship. Your employees burn out as they engage any number of channels to source leads in an attempt to compensate for the leads you’re losing online. And you continue to pour money into your website lose. The result?

  1. You’re missing out on potential revenue.
  2. You’re losing potential customers.
  3. You’re pouring money down the drain.

checking SMS on mobile phone

3 ways you’re likely trying (and failing) to solve the problem.

1. ‘Contact Us’ page.

Some businesses attempt to convert visitors by emphasizing their contact information. However, most ‘contact us’ pages rely solely on email and phone calls—the outliers of customers’ preferred communication channels. Approximately 83% of businesses claim email as their number one messaging platform and 75% still use phone calls. In actuality, 90% of consumers prefer to engage with a business through texting or another messaging app. While you shouldn’t abandon contact us forms altogether, they shouldn’t be the only way to gather leads on your website.

2. Site optimization and experimentation.

As we mentioned, many teams go into a frenzy of A/B testing, landing site experimentation (in terms of design, content style, CTA, etc.), and research in an attempt to solve their website conversion problem. However, these efforts still fail to actively engage the customer and effectively convert them when they land on site.

3. Doing nothing.

Some businesses (mistakenly) believe that their website conversion issues will sort themselves out. Don’t let this be you. By doing nothing, you risk losing more leads to your competitors, fewer reviews being added to maintain your online reputation, and continuing to decrease your potential revenue.

customer service at work at desk

You need a website chat solution.

To effectively convert website visitors into leads, you need a website chat solution.

Website chat:

Actively engages (and delights) leads.

Website chat leads to a 40% increase in conversion rate. Approximately 41% of customers expect to see a chat option when they land on your website (for mobile, this number is as high as 50%). A staggering 42% of customers prefer chat options compared to just 23% for email and 16% for social media or forums. And in a recent survey, 63% of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers website chat.

Increases revenue.

Website chat leads to a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour. Approximately 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they offer chat support. In a recent analysis, Forrester noted a 10% increase in average order value when reviewing sales from customers who engaged in a chat before making a purchase compared to those who did not use chat.

Increases efficiency.

For many employees, as much as 14% of every day can be spent forwarding emails, taking phone calls, or duplicating info. Website chat cuts this inefficient time. It also vets leads for your employees, as ICMI found that website visitors that engage with your company via chat are worth 4.5 times more than visitors that don’t.

How to find the right website chat for your business.

Website chat is the solution to turning browsers into buyers. But there are many chats out there. And not all are created equal.

Approximately 75% of customers would rather clean their house than interact with an ineffective chatbot online. And 1 in 5 customers are willing to stop using a product or service for slow response times via online chat. The choice you make is an important one–so you should know what you’re looking for.

Why Podium Webchat is your best option.

Most live chats send your customers to chat with a bot or third party and are mainly used for customer service. How is Podium Webchat different? It isn’t a live chat. It’s a text messaging solution that helps you effectively capture and manage leads efficiently.

Built on text

While other live chat solutions like LiveChat, Intercom, and Drift keeps customers tied to their desktops, Podium Webchat reaches customers where they’re at through text and can move from online to offline and back again, offering the highest convenience for customers.

  • Consumers agree that texting makes working with a local business more convenient
  • Consumers are almost twice as likely (1.8x) to prefer texting over any other communication method
  • Over 40% of consumers say they are more interested in texting with a business n0w than they were prior to COVID-19
  • Over 40% of consumers say they are “likely” or “very likely” to switch to a different business because they offer text messaging to communicate

Qualifies leads

Your chat tool shouldn’t just generate more leads. You don’t want more leads–you want more qualified leads who will close. Chats like Gubagoo, Intercom, and LiveChat have to fish for contact information instead of collecting it upfront, which not only lowers lead quality but causes frustration for the customer who just wants their question answered. Webchat vets your leads by collecting information upfront, significantly increasing the quality of leads who contact your business. This means you close more often–and quicker, too.

Webchat is:

  • Less intrusive and more straightforward
  • Higher value to your customers (because they’re willing to give up their contact information, they invest more from the beginning)
  • Context-rich (because the conversation doesn’t end after the initial interaction)

Easy to manage

While other live chats have a steep learning curve and are difficult to set up, Webchat is super easy to implement and use. It is intuitive for customers and highly navigable. And it’s even easier to manage, as it consolidates all your inbound leads from all channels into one inbox. By relying on text, Webchat makes it much easier to multitask while having business conversations than managing other forms of communication and eliminates the need for dedicated staff.

Normally, businesses should respond to chat messages as quickly as possible. But because texting is asynchronous, you have a little more flexibility and your chat doesn’t have a time limit (like when it’s confined to a browser). You can respond when it’s convenient for you.

“The first [live chat we tried] was terrible. We turned it off immediately because we couldn’t even really manage it. And the second one was clunky. Conversations that are coming in from Webchat are incredible. We’re increasing the speed of communication, and that converts leads.”

– Tony Yraguen, RPM Alamo

Gathers data

Webchat’s platform also provides insightful data that can help you make pivotal improvements. You can easily see which online lead sources (Facebook, Webchat, and Google Click-to-Message) are resulting in purchases. And you can see where the customer was on the website when they had a question (including their entire website viewing history and what page they messaged you from). Most live chats can’t do this. 

  • Google Analytics. Track Webchat performance through our Google Analytics integration
  • Multi-Location Transfers. Easily transfer conversations from one business location to another
  • Daily Digest Emails. Track Webchat performance with a daily report of new inbound leads
  • Leaderboard. See and compare each employee’s response times and conversations managed
  • Customer Journey Reporting. Track which pages the customer visited before sending a message

Increase speed

Because Webchat works through text, it offers live communication to your customers–so they get results more quickly, and you do too.

Connects customers to real people

As we said, most live chats, like Drift, have your customers chatting with a bot. Or, a third party who typically collects their information and passes them off to you (Gubagoo). The pros? Customers can usually get engagement 24/7. The cons? Third party call centers are not you, so they don’t always know what they’re talking about. And, your customers run into the chatbot middleman problem.

  • Many customers complain that major live chats have poor lead routing (Drift)
  • Going through a managed chat operator is inconvenient (Gubagoo)
  • It takes longer to get real answers and make a purchase

Webchat connects your customers to you immediately and routes them to the specific team that will be most likely able to help them. This has obvious benefits, for your customers and for you as it:

  • Connects customers to someone who actually knows how to answer their questions
  • Significantly shortens your sales cycle
  • Greatly improves your customer experience by increasing convenience and speed

Because your customers are talking to a real person, conversations on Webchat avoid the automated feel and master conversationalism. Webchat is also highly customizable. You can personalize your bubble icon, page location, prompt message, avatar, and more.


Many live chat solutions rely heavily on automations. Webchat encourages businesses to use this tool when it’s best for customers and themselves. Automations should help, not inhibit, a smooth customer experience.

  • You can use AI to answer FAQ’s with personalizable, customizable messages. After the first question is answered, our system triggers an employee to respond, saving you and your employees time.
  • You can use automations for interactive engagement, as our AI can recognize and respond to answers that are more than single numbers, letters, or words.
  • You can customize and personalize out-of-office autoresponders that let customers know your business will follow up when you’re open.

Real Results

Most importantly, Podium Webchat delivers real results.

  • Webchat has an 8% conversion rate (leads to review invites)
  • Businesses using Podium see an 11x increase in inbound leads by adding Webchat
  • Over 2 million leads have been collected through Webchat

Press Send with Podium

With Podium Webchat, your multi-location business will convert more website traffic, more efficiently.

  • Save time–manage all communication channels and separate systems through one inbox.
  • Delight customers–connect with customers where they’re at, and keep them coming back.
  • Outshine competitors–leverage increased convenience and conversational feel to win against the competition.
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