The Ultimate Guide to Website chat for Lead Generation

You may have noticed that more and more businesses are using webchat. The reason for this is simple: it works.

In this guide, you’ll learn how you can use webchat to convert your website visitors into customers and grow your business.

Website Chat For Lead Generation

Bringing new customers into the business is crucial for the sustenance and growth of any business. There are several tools that businesses can use to generate leads and increase sales. Most businesses use a combination of different marketing initiatives like events, promotions, advertising, digital campaign, etc to get more qualified leads that could then be converted into customers. Some of these might bear results while others may not. However, one thing that is common to all these activities is they can be expensive and even then, there’s no guarantee that these leads will actually turn into customers.

So how can you get qualified leads without really having to spend a lot of money or effort? The answer is webchat. Webchat is an easy-to-implement tool that can become a nonstop source of prospects who are genuinely interested.

So, what is Website chat or Webchat?

You’ve probably seen a chat icon on websites that you’ve visited in the past. . The chat icon allows you to reach out to the business and get answers in real-time. In short, Website chat or Webchat is the chat functionality embedded on a website that allows a prospective customer to easily get the information he or she is seeking from the business. You’ll often see it on the bottom right of your screen.

Let's say you want to buy a baby car seat. You go to a website and find one that is just what you wanted except the car seat in the image is turquoise and you want it in purple. Now you spot a chat icon at the bottom of the page and before you know it, you have already clicked on it and typed in your question. The proactive business confirms its availability and in the next couple of minutes, your baby is the proud owner of a lovely purple car seat! That is the power of website chat - It turns website visitors into happy customers:

Website Chat Quantity And Quality

Will Webchat work for my business?

Webchat Work For My Business

How can website chat help me grow my business?

To understand how Webchat can help you grow your business, let's look at this example from Smith Auto Dealership.

Website Chat Help

Lance was looking for a car and came to the dealership’s website. He is what we can call a ‘prospect’ who visited the business's website. At this point, he was simply looking around and was not really engaged with the business.

Once he sent in a query via website chat and the sales agent responded, Lance, moved from a passive to an active engagement stage and became a ‘qualified lead’. An engaged qualified lead has a higher probability of becoming a customer.

Here are some key attributes that make website chat attractive to a website visitor:

Different types of website chat

If you've gotten this far, you must be serious about website chat. Awesome!

Now let’s dig deeper and talk about some options that you may encounter when you are in the market for a chat solution for your website.

Live Chat

This is the most often used website chat solution that you may come across. Live chat is a messaging application that resides on a website that can be used by site visitors to contact employees or agents for any type of assistance. Its interface is similar to an instant messenger window.

Live Chat
  • Instant gratification

    The back and forth exchange of messages between the visitor and the business on one screen makes it easy to have a meaningful conversation and possibly a resolution to his/her query.

  • Multi-country support

    A visitor from another country can also easily communicate with your business, opening doors for business expansion outside your country.

  • Great desktop experience

    The visitor can multi-task and work while chatting with the business from the desktop.

Cons for Live Chat:
  • Synchronous

    A live chat conversation is synchronous so both the visitor as well as the agent at the businesses’ end need to be actively available to reply to each other.

  • Session-based

    The visitor needs to be on the device that he/she started the conversation on. If the chat is closed or if the visitor switches devices (eg: Desktop to mobile) the entire conversation thread will be lost.

  • Mobile experience

    Some live chat functions may not work properly on mobile platforms. Increasing number of customers rely on smartphones rather than desktop computers these days so this may cause problems.

  • Time zone issues

    If you have a live chat on your website, the visitor is likely to expect 24/7 support. This is obviously not possible and may cause some inconvenience if the messaging is not managed properly.


Chatbots are Artificial Intelligence-designed conversations meant to simplify human interaction with computers. When a visitor comes to the website and starts a conversation via chat, the computer responds to the questions based on the inputs that are provided to it at the time of setup. Think of this as Live Chat, except with a computer instead of a human at the business’s end.

  • Extreme Multitasking

    Live Chat with Chatbot can manage conversations with several visitors at one time.

  • Lower cost

    Once the conversation logic is defined for the chatbot, no human intervention is required. This means you do not have to hire a lot of people to manage the incoming chats.

  • 24/7 availability

    Chatbots is a machine, which means that it can be available 24/7 unlike human agents.

  • Multiple uses

    Chatbot can be as versatile as you want. They can handle sales, support or even ecommerce interactions once they have been configured properly.

Cons for Chatbot:
  • Limited responses

    Most chatbots are configured to answer the most frequently asked questions. There might be several situations where the chatbot may not know the answer to a new type of question.

  • Visitors could be frustrated

    With limited number of answers and no ability to improvise puts chatbots at a disadvantage and can easily frustrate visitors with their answers.

  • Complex Chatbots cost more

    The more complex the conversation, greater is the time and resources required to set up a chatbot to meaningfully answer visitor questions. This may increase the cost of Chatbot substantially

  • Not for everyone

    Despite today’s technology-dependent environment, human agents are still preferred to chatbots. 50% of people still prefer to chat with a human than with a computer. Preferences aside, chatbots may not be an investment worth making if the business just gets 20-30 chats in a day.


This unique website chat offers the best of all worlds. When a visitor starts a conversation on the website, it starts off like a live chat where he/she provides contact details and submits a question. The interface informs the visitor that the rest of the conversation will now take place via mobile text. The business responds to the query via text and the visitor no longer needs to be strapped to the computer to carry on the conversation.

Webchat Topnotch
  • Uses Text Messaging Text messaging is ranked as the number one channel that consumers want to use to engage with businesses. Needless to say it is an apt medium to continue the conversation started on the website.

  • On-the-go

    Neither the visitor nor the business needs to be strapped to their desktops. They can conveniently continue the conversation on-the-go.

  • Asynchronous

    The back and forth messaging between the visitor and the business can be continuous but it does not have to be. If at any point one of the parties does not respond, they can pick up the communication thread and continue with the conversation.

  • Complete record

    SInce the conversation between the visitor and the business continues via text messaging, it is easy for the business to refer to anything in the conversation even in the future.

  • Convenient on mobile device

    Since the visitor does not have to actively have a conversation on the website, it's far easier than trying to have this conversation via Live Chat.

Cons for Webchat:
  • Mobile number essential

    Since the communication primarily happens over text, it is important for the visitor to share his/her mobile number. A working mobile number (no landline) needs to be provided at the time of submitting a query.

Webchat vs. Live Chat - which is better?

Both Live Chat and webchat have their advantages. Visitor profile, businesses’ industry and backend infrastructure that the business can afford can help make the decision of which one would be better suited for the business. Here are some key differences that could help you.

  • Are you a small or medium sized business?

    If yes - chances are that you do not have several people at your disposal to manage a live chat. Remember, Live chat really needs to be live. If the agent steps away to grab a cup of coffee and the chat ends, there is no way to restart it unless the visitor chats back again. Webchat on the other hand allows you the flexibility to restart the conversation anytime you want.

  • Do your customers like to text?

    There are at least 50 billion text messages that are sent everyday. With the explosive growth of smartphones, texting has become a norm and is not restricted to millennials alone. If your target customers like to text, Webchat is definitely for you.

Webchat vs. Chatbot - which is more effective?

Chatbot is like Live Chat on steroids. It offers all the flexibility and around-the-clock availability but lacks the human spontaneity. Since it requires a complex setup to even get started, it may be better suited for enterprise businesses that get several hundreds of chat queries per day. Even if Chatbot is not the complete solution for such a company, it should help to address the easier questions and route the complicated ones to humans to manage.

If you are a small or mid-sized business, and perhaps get no more than a few dozen queries per day, Chatbot may be an excessive effort and expense to justify.

In this scenario, Webchat would definitely be a better option than chatbots. Besides, Webchat still has the advantage of convenience and affordability over Live Chat as we mentioned above.

Webchat vs. Forms - which gets better results?

Your website is no longer just your product catalogue. Today it is used amongst other things - to get access to promising leads who could be converted into customers. Adding lead generation forms to the pages on the website that gets most traffic has been a successful marketing tactic that still works well!

Typically, the lead generation form requests the visitor for his/her information in exchange for something tangible that they could get almost instantly. This tangible freebie can be anything from a white paper to an eBook or even a template or guide that the visitor could start using immediately. The contact information collected via this process typically goes into the company’s CRM and then routed to sales reps to reach out. The sales rep usually reaches out to the visitor after a delay and not instantly.

Forms do allow you to capture contact information but since the sales process does not start right away you may lose the visitors attention by the time you actually reach him/her.

With Webchat, on the other hand, the visitor submits the information along with the query and gets an instant response and the sales process can start right then when the visitor is still engaged. Therefore Webchat may be better suited in case you are interested in a quicker conversion.

Tips and tricks to make Website chat successful

Enabling Website chat on your website is a great business decision but there are several ways in which it can go wrong. Here are some tips on how you can create an impeccable first impression on your website visitors via website chat.

  • Find a good spot for it on your website

    Placement is everything! If your chat widget is not visible, your visitor could miss it altogether. Placing it right at the bottom of the page where it stands out could be a good place for it. (Pro Tip: If you are a BirdEye customer, your Webchat icon even comes with a message blurb that makes it hard to miss, yet makes it look as a part of your website)

Webchat Tips And Tricks

  • Customize everything

    Your website chat widget has to be a reflection of your business. Make sure your website chat widget conforms to your brand and personalize the messaging. (Pro Tip: As a BirdEye customer, you can customize everything. You can even add avatars of the people behind the chat to further humanize the experience.)

  • Set the right expectations

    Make sure your website site visitors knows how and when you will respond to them. They obviously do not expect you to be online 24/7 (unless of course you have chatbots helping you)

  • Acknowledge their interest even if you are not online

    When a visitor submits a query even during offline hours, it is reassuring for him/her to know that the query has reached you. An automated message can easily help with this.

  • Make the chat come alive

    Use emojis and pictures to liven up the visitors experience. People love them!

  • Just a 'goodbye' is not enough

    Make sure you end the chat only when the customer is ready. You can use chat creatively by asking for feedback on the chat experience and may be even request for a review. (Pro Tip: BirdEye allows you to capture post chat feedback via customer experience scores and reviews on third party sites conveniently)

What is BirdEye Webchat and how does it work?

BirdEye Webchat is an award-winning, easy-to-implement and manage website chat tool that helps you convert your website visitors into customers, conveniently. Once BirdEye's fully-customizable Webchat widget is installed on your business website, you can respond to your website visitors via BirdEye messenger through your mobile phone or desktop.

Capture Leads

When your website visitor sends you a chat message, his/her contact information is instantly stored in the database. You can use this information to communicate with the contact even in the future.

Stay Connected

Respond to your website visitors and customers in real-time anywhere, anytime, even when you are not in front of your desktop.

Easy to implement

BirdEye Webchat is very easy to install on your website. Simply copy the script from your BirdEye dashboard and paste it on your website. Monitoring and managing all incoming chats is also very convenient. Whether you have one office or multiple, you can monitor chats coming in an easy to manage dashboard.

Go mobile

As a BirdEye subscriber, you also have access to the BirdEye mobile app. By downloading this app on your smartphone, you will get instantly alerted of any incoming messages via push notifications wherever you are. You can respond to the incoming messages via your smartphone or your dashboard and all the communication between you and your prospect will be stored in your account for future reference.

With several awards under its belt, BirdEye Webchat is clearly a market leader in Website chat and it is not difficult to guess why.

Is BirdEye’s Webchat widget easy to install?

BirdEye believes in keeping things simple. Just like everything on the platform, the process of installing the widget on your website is very easy. All you have to do is navigate to the setup section within the BirdEye dashboard and copy and paste the code to your website.

Birdeye Webchat Widget

That’s all there is to it! You also have the option to completely customize the look and feel of the Webchat widget and ensure that it blends well with the overall theme of your website.

Does BirdEye Webchat really help you increase sales?

Pretty Handy Guys got 12 new customers in one month, just from BirdEye Webchat. The ability to respond to each website visitor and answer questions any time of the day, wherever they are with BirdEye Mobile app was a total game changer. Do you want to increase sales from your website visitors?

“BirdEye is the best decision we've made in our handyman business! Having the BirdEye WebChat on our website paid for itself 4X in the VERY SAME MONTH.”

Rick Patterson

Rick Patterson
Owner of Pretty Handy Guys


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