by Cesare Rocchi

Picking a chat widget

by Cesare Rocchi

It’s a fact that a channel like real-time chat helps conversions. So I wanted to put a little widget on the home page of Podrover. Much like the the blog generator and the CSS framework the hunt was … wandering in a jungle. I am more and more convinced that a search on Google is not enough anymore. Sure, you dig out a list of potential candidates but how do you choose?

I am lucky to be part of the Micropreneur Academy. I asked there and I got a lot of interesting replies that included personal experiences. That’s exactly what I was looking for, personal experiences of people running a business like I am doing. I got a bunch of candidates (this list is not even close to be exhaustive):

My goal was to have something very discrete on the home page, with the possibility to reply via a web app or an iOS app. Another key feature was the possibility to schedule when to be online and available to chat.

I checked out Intercom. I really like their widget but the tool does too much for what I need: user tracking, auto-responses, etc. And you know I like to keep things very simple :)

Olark doesn’t seem to have an iPhone app. For me it’s important.

Zopim has an iPhone app, but you need to be on the advanced plan to use it. It was a good candidate but honestly I didn’t want something to test. I was looking for a set-and-forget tool.

Tidio was the best candidate. The pricing was crystal clear and it had an app. I’d have set with it if I didn’t find Tawk.

Tawk is free, and I am suspicious about that. I tend to prefer tools that I pay for. I got in touch (obviously via their widget) and they were very very responsive. The widget looks clean and very customizable. The admin UI is spartan, to say the least, but it gets the job done. So are the iPhone and Mac app. There is even a scheduler, but with a drawback. If you are not logged in the web console (or the Mac app) you are offline, regardless of the hours you have scheduled. Not very ideal for me. Every morning I need to remember to open the Mac app, every evening I need to quit it. If the computer goes to sleep I appear offline. And I don’t know how to manage this when I am traveling. But it looks good on the customer side, works on any browser and even on mobile. So I’ll keep it for a while and see how it goes.

If you have some suggestion get in touch on Twitter.