Offering a chat for business on your website is crucial in today’s modern era. Customers expect to communicate with your company quickly, and they want multiple options for doing so. They expect communication over email, phone, and live chat at a minimum. Most also prefer to talk over text and reach you via social media.

But how do you choose which website chat software to use? Before you can do that, you need a better understanding of website chat.

What is website chat?

Website chat is simply another way of referring to a live chat for a website. With website chat software, you can interact with your customers via your website. This is real-time support as opposed to mobile messaging with a delayed response. The fact that it is instant support is crucial.

On most websites, the live chat button appears in the lower right corner of the page. This is where each website visitor expects to see it. You can use live chat in many ways, including for general customer support. Use it to answer questions about your products or services or handle client issues.

You can also use your website chat to gather leads and contact information or to encourage clients to complete surveys.

Website chat for business in recent years

To help you understand why you should incorporate chat on website pages, consider some of the recent trends.

Recent statistics about website chat

The following statistics on live chat and website chat should encourage you to start looking into live chat software:

  • Chat growth in some industries has increased 150 percent.
  • Live chat is the leading method of digital contact for online clients. 46 percent prefer live chat. By comparison, 29 percent prefer email and 16 percent prefer social media.
  • 38 percent of customers have a higher chance of buying from your company if you offer support via live chat.
  • 51 percent of customers are more likely to become repeat customers if you offer support via webchat.

51% of customers will come back if you use webcat

  • 63 percent of customers are more likely to revisit a website if it has a live chat.
  • You get 4.5 times more value from a website visitor who engages with your business over live chat.

quote about website visitors

  • The average order value increases by 10 percent for customers who interact with webchat before buying.
  • 79 percent of businesses that started using webchat saw boosts to customer loyalty, revenue, and sales.
  • Live chat can improve marketing awareness by 29 percent. It can also improve early-stage sales development by 32 percent and post-sales customer support by 39 percent.
  • 32.9 percent of those between ages 35 to 54 have used live chat support. 22.3 percent of those over 55 years old have too.

The trend of chatbots – And why you want to skip it

Traditionally, website chat was staffed by real people, but now many websites use a chatbot. These are computer programs that can perform basic functions. They are most helpful in providing simple, automated answers. For example, they can tell customers your store hours when they enter a keyword like “hours.”

Using a chatbot can be efficient, but it can also hurt the customer experience. It also adds a cost and comes with some serious limitations. As such, many website chats will involve chatbots but not all will. Most companies will find having human customer support agents a better option. This is especially true when combined with live chat features like canned responses. Simply put, you get a positive live chat experience when you have real live chat agents instead of bots.

Webchat vs. live chat

Technically speaking, there is no significant difference between live chat and webchat. The two terms are typically used interchangeably.

The most important caveat is probably that webchat occurs on your website, while live chat can also be via other platforms. For example, it can technically refer to chatting in real-time over Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or another platform. By contrast, webchat has to start on your web page.

The word “start” is essential here. The best webchat platforms acknowledge that not everyone wants to talk via your web page. This simply isn’t mobile-friendly, and it won’t use a familiar interface for your clients. That is why Podium offers the ability to move your conversation from your webchat to texting. This lets customers use their preferred communication method. It also makes your webchat much easier to use from a mobile phone.

What to look for in a web or live chat software

Once you decide to start using live chat or webchat, you must choose your live chat software. There are dozens of solutions available, but not all are created equally. As you select the live chat platform to use, keep the following considerations in mind. They should help you choose the best live chat software.

Remember that while you can easily find a free live chat solution, it will only give you a basic live chat. You are unlikely to get any of these extra features from free chat software.


One of the first things to think about is what a website visitor will see when interacting with you via webchat. Ideally, they should see something that represents your company. That is why you want to look for live chat software that lets you incorporate at least some branding or customization.

Branding improves your company’s appearance of professionalism. It also helps with marketing by reinforcing your brand image. It also ensures there is a seamless customer experience, as the webchat’s appearance will complement or match that of your website as a whole. It is a simple yet handy live chat tool.

Don’t look for chatbots

It may be tempting to look for live chat software that includes chatbots or the ability to support them in the future. However, this is not necessary.

Remember that using chatbots will hurt the customer experience. You can get many of their benefits regarding efficiency and quick responses from other features, such as canned responses. Additionally, chatbots are prone to misunderstandings. Unless you pay for a high-quality one, website visitors will have to use very specific phrasing for them to work. This can make them frustrating to use.

Canned responses

As mentioned, canned responses let you get some of the advantages of chatbots without using bots. What are canned responses? You can automatically use these short, prewritten texts in certain situations. For example, they can include answers to FAQs like your hours or location. Or they may greet a customer by name if this is not their first visit to your website.

Proactive chat and smart triggers

Proactive chat and smart triggers work hand in hand. Smart triggers are situations that cause the proactive chat to launch. For example, the smart trigger could be if the user spends a certain amount of time on your website. The proactive chat, in this case, could be a message asking if they need help finding anything. The proactive chat will appear in the chat window of the live chat widget.

Transcripts and history

All of the best live chat software will include transcripts or a chat history of some sort. This is crucial for many reasons.

Perhaps the most crucial reason to have your chat history is so you can deal with customer claims about poor experiences or misrepresentations of products. If a customer claims you said or did something in a webchat that you did not, the transcript will prove them wrong.

Remember that the best programs not only have transcripts but they are well-organized and have unlimited chat history. Think of this as another way to manage conversations and customer communication.

Conversation management

Depending on the size of your company, you may want live chat software that features some type of conversation management. It is also called chat routing. This is when the chat asks visitors to choose a category then routes them to the right person or department. This can streamline the customer experience significantly. It will also save your team time, as they will not have to deal with unfamiliar tasks or transferring chats.

That being said, not all companies need this type of live chat feature. It will depend on your company’s size and products or services.

Third-party integrations

Your company likely already uses various software and technology, such as mobile apps. Make sure that your live chat will integrate with any of these programs that you use. For example, you want your webchat to integrate with your CRM to sync your customer data. This way, all your customer interactions are connected.

This is also the time to ensure that your chosen chat platform integrates with whatever website builder or e-commerce platform you use. Whether you use Squarespace, GoDaddy, WordPress, Shopify, or another platform, ensure your chosen chat software works with it.

Another useful integration for your live chat solution is Google Analytics. This will give you valuable insights via live chat session data. You can use it to better train your customer service teams.

Bonus feature: Talking over text

Some of the best live chat software will have additional features that set them apart from the crowd. One of these rare features is the ability to move the webchat to text. As mentioned earlier, this is important as it makes the chat more mobile-friendly and maximizes the customer experience. While you don’t technically need this feature, it will make a significant difference, making it one of the live chat tools worth looking for.


Incorporating a live chat widget on your website will help you easily provide customer service and gather leads. This will help you boost your sales and improve customer loyalty. Look for platforms with the features you need, and you should be on your way to improved customer satisfaction.

Isaiah Rendorio
Isaiah Rendorio Product Marketing Manager, Campaigns

Isaiah Rendorio is the Product Marketing Manager for Podium Campaigns—helping local businesses tap into the power of SMS marketing to strengthen customer relationships, increase customer lifetime value, and drive more revenue.

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