If you’re still calling customers from your personal phone and jotting down appointments in a paper planner, it’s time to take your business to the next level with a platform designed to streamline all your communications into one central place.
Weave and Podium are two of the most popular communication solutions for small businesses, and while they’re often mentioned in the same breath, there are some key differences when it comes to the specific ways they seek to streamline customer interactions.
What Are Weave and Podium?
Weave bills itself as an all-in-one communication platform that saves time and money by simplifying communication. It targets medical businesses in particular (dental offices, medical spas, eye doctors, etc.) but is used in other industries as well. Weave’s focus on medical businesses is the driving force behind many of its feature developments, including its VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) phone service.
Meanwhile, Podium helps local businesses expand through growth, communication, and payment tools. It is used by clients in a wide variety of industries, from financial services to automotive, and this broader focus is reflected in its feature set as well.
Weave vs. Podium Feature Breakdown
Weave and Podium do have a high degree of feature overlap, but there are some functions that only one or the other platform offers. Furthermore, each platform deploys each feature differently, so just because they offer the same function on paper doesn’t mean they’re actually identical in practice.
Probably the biggest difference between the platforms is the fact that Weave includes VoIP phone lines (offered through Yealink), whereas Podium does not. This inclusion of VoIP phone lines is in keeping with Weave’s focus on medical businesses, which conduct much of their business over the phone, from scheduling appointments to following up on test results. The dedicated business line form Weave offers call recording, tracking, and forwarding; visual voicemail; a mobile app to take calls on the go; and other helpful features for small businesses.
Since Podium does not offer a phone line product, users will likely need to find another provider to set up a business phone line for them, which involves extra hassle and expense. Some owners opt to use their existing home or personal line instead, but this can result in privacy issues and also make it hard to keep personal and business matters separate. Thus, Podium is a better fit for businesses that don’t need phone lines or that already have a business line set up through another platform.
Both Weave and Podium offer an online chat feature; though, this might not be obvious as you skim through the list of features. That’s because Weave calls the function Web Assistant and Podium calls it Webchat. Despite the different names, the functionality of these products is supposed to be comparable to one another.
Weave’s chat feature is more limited and specifically geared around appointment scheduling. This is in keeping with the main purpose of the Weave product suite, which caters to medical businesses that rely almost entirely on appointments. If your business’s use of online messages is pretty narrow and mostly revolves around appointment scheduling, then Weave might be enough for your needs.
On the other hand, Podium’s web chat feature is more robust and can be used to handle a variety of interactions. Business owners can also set up the system to pull in chats from social media and other outside platforms, so everything is centralized in one place, which is a huge boon for small businesses that conduct most of their business via online messages across multiple platforms. If you are looking for a more full-featured online chat function, Podium wins out in this category.
Getting positive reviews on Google and social media platforms are critical for business growth, especially for small businesses that rely on local foot traffic to thrive, which is why both platforms include features to help encourage customers to leave a review. Indeed, both Weave and Podium offer the ability to automatically text customers a reminder to leave a review.
However, Podium also goes above and beyond with a very robust review dashboard that centralizes everything, and it gets better user ratings for its review function when compared to Weave, where this function can feel more like an afterthought than a core product of the platform. If getting positive online reviews is super important for the success of your business, Podium is your best bet.
Both of these platforms focus mostly on text messaging marketing, but Weave does offer a limited email marketing product, whereas Podium does not. However, this may not be a dealbreaker for potential customers since many businesses already have a separate email marketing platform in place.
In fact, Weave’s email marketing function is not as robust as that of many stand-alone email marketing products that are currently available, so even businesses that choose Weave over Podium might still find themselves looking for a separate email marketing solution.
Choosing Between Weave and Podium
While they do have some overlap, Weave and Podium offer distinct sets of features, and each one will be a better fit for a different kind of customer.
Weave is better for businesses that rely on phone calls and appointment scheduling, such as medical offices, hair salons, and other service-focused businesses. Weave is also a good fit for businesses looking for a solution that also includes a limited email marketing function.
Meanwhile, Podium’s focus is on reducing phone calls through text-based communication, such as web chat and messages. While it does not offer a phone product or an email marketing function, Podium is very good at what it does offer, and its user review function receives especially high marks, making it an excellent choice for businesses that are looking for that.
Not sure if either Weave or Podium is right for you? Our unbiased TechnologyAdvice experts can help you find the perfect software solution for your business needs, whether you need a communication platform or a different software product. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and get started on finding the right software for your company.