We've rounded up a list of the best CRMs specifically for contractors and home improvement businesses—complete with products, features, and pricing.
Hatch vs Podium: A Deep Dive
Effective communication is the crux of growth for any company today. But you also need to be able to scale the very messaging strategies that are driving that growth—otherwise your success will not be sustained. This is why communication platforms are so popular.
Hatch and Podium are two such communication platforms. While both help businesses to grow, they do so in very different ways. This post aims to break down these differences to help you decide which platform is best for your business.
Table of contents
- The final verdict
- Basic overview
- Audience targeting
- Lead engagement
- What can Podium do that Hatch cant?
A note before we begin
The goal of this post is not to convince you that Hatch is better than Podium. It’s to illustrate the differences in the products—their use cases, features, benefits, and value propositions.
But as this is a Hatch piece of content, we’re focusing on the features and benefits that are most important to our target audience, so you will inevitably find partiality toward Hatch. However, we do our best to cover Podium’s benefits in parallel throughout the post, as well as a section at the end that points out what Podium offers that Hatch does not.
Hatch vs Podium: The final verdict
Let's start with the overall conclusion.
- Podium is best for: Local businesses looking to grow their reputation, facilitate more customer interactions, and increase leads, website traffic, and retention.
- Hatch is best for: Home service business or call centers looking to grow their revenue, improve the quality of their customer interactions, and increase close rates and overall ROI.
Now let’s dig into the specifics of how these two platforms compare.
Hatch vs Podium: Basic overviews
Both Hatch and Podium are communication platforms, but with different origins and different end results. Below is a chart that sums up many of the key points in this post.
Podium basic overview
Podium started out as a dedicated review platform and then evolved into a messaging platform. It’s used to market promotions, collect reviews and feedback, and process payments over text, email, and phone.
Podium is primarily focused on quantity: Increasing customer interactions which improves retention; as well as increasing reviews which increases website traffic and lead generation. As their website says, “More leads, more money.”
It’s best for local businesses that want to scale their reputation and retention strategies efficiently.
Hatch basic overview
Hatch has always been a dedicated messaging platform. It’s used to engage new leads, follow up with prospects, market promotions, and collect reviews and feedback over text, email, and phone.
Hatch is primarily focused on quality: Improving response rates which improves, set, close, and retention rates, which improves revenue. As our website says, “Improve your response rates, grow your revenue.”
It’s best for home service businesses and call centers that want to increase ROI on existing lead volume and scale revenue.
Hatch vs Podium: Texting
Texting is the way to communicate today. Consumers still use email and phone, and the conversation may continue on one of those channels, but text is what gets that initial response that starts the conversation.
Both Hatch and Podium offer two-way texting—both automated as well as on-demand—and both of which you can manage from one central inbox. However, the automation capabilities and use cases are different.
The targets for Podium texts are primarily existing customers and text subscribers. Podium does have lead communication capabilities, but not in an automated way, which we’ll cover later.
You can send automated texts to your contacts using Podium, but you are limited to predefined automations, which are:
- Contact form welcome
- Opt-in thank you
- Payment reminder
- Payment expiration
- Payment review
- Review received
- Thank you
You can create workflows, but only based on Podium data. So if you want to set something up based on conditions outside of Podium (such as a contact property in your CRM), you’ll need a third-party software like Zapier.
With Podium, you can schedule a message to repeat, but you cannot create a sequence of messages (text, email, and voicemail) that fire off over a set number of days. This is important as it takes an average of eight touches to get a response.
Podium does offer two-way texting, and you can have real-time conversations with leads and customers. However, most of the text conversations facilitated by Podium seem to be more of a short, one-off transactional nature where the contact is asked to take a finite action (write a review, make a payment, answer a survey).
Podium is geared for bulk sends and subscriber-style communication. Image source
With Podium, you can view all communication from all channels (text, email, social media messaging) in one thread, with the ability to categorize conversations into different inboxes (billing, feedback, inquiries, etc.).
While Podium’s text targets are primarily leads and customers, Hatch’s advanced messaging and targeting capabilities allow it to be a tool for communication with leads, prospects, and existing customers—of any pipeline status.
You cannot automate payment collection over text with Hatch as you can with Podium. However, you can do everything else Podium does (appointment reminders and follow-ups, review and feedback requests, and coupon/promotion distribution), plus more: This includes automated lead outreach and automated sales follow-up.
Why this is important
In the competitive home services industry, if you don’t want revenue slipping through the cracks, instant lead outreach and diligent follow-up are essential, but impossible to achieve with every contact—that is, without automation. Which is why we see this as the biggest advantage Hatch has over Podium for businesses in this industry.
While with Podium you can only set a message to re-send on a particular schedule, with Hatch you can automate a sequence of multi channel messages. What this means is, you can create a series of texts (and emails and voicemails) to fire as soon as a new lead comes in or once a prospect or customer meets a certain set of rules you define. The outreach will continue until the lead responds, and when they do, you’ll get a notification so you can jump in and engage.
This is especially important as it can take as many as 8 touches to get a lead to respond.
Hatch also offers campaign, sequence, and message templates that you can customize, based on industry best practices. This goes back to Hatch being designed to improve communication quality and response rates.
In addition, Hatch allows you to create rules so that contacts will be automatically enrolled (or removed from) lists and campaigns as they meet specific criteria. So unlike Podium, you don’t have to recreate lists or re-run campaigns in batches. They’re just always running. This is the difference between continuous automation and one-off automation.
While Podium conversations are primarily transactional, Hatch conversations are primarily conversational. Hatch is designed to increase response rates so you can engage in the conversations needed to book appointments, re-engage leads or customers, close deals, and upsell.
However, you can also do the more transactional-style texting like requesting reviews and sharing promotions and coupons.
Like Podium, you can view all communication from all channels in one thread, in one shared inbox (called workspaces). Also similar to Podium, you can create different workspaces according to your objectives. One advantage Podium has over Hatch is that you can also view social media messages in that thread.
One advantage Hatch has over Podium is that each thread is contained in contact cards that you can drag and drop onto a visual pipeline-style board.
Why is this important?
This ensures that no leads or opportunities fall through the cracks. It also allows sales managers to oversee conversations and use it for training and coaching.
Hatch vs Podium: Audience targeting
The key to higher revenue is more sales, the key to more sales is better conversations, the key to better conversations is better messages, and the key to better messages is personalization. Personalization in sales and customer engagement isn’t just addressing someone by their first name anymore; it’s about tailoring the timing, tone, and other details of your messages to the individual you’re trying to reach. This means you need to be able to target granularly while also at scale.
Both Podium and Hatch enable you to target specific audiences, but the work required to do it differs.
Podium audience targeting
You can target specific audiences with Podium, but compared to Hatch, the capabilities are limited. You can target contacts based on behavior with previous Podium campaigns, like reviews, payments, or opt-in methods; basic contact info like location; basic milestones like project complete; or based on tags you manually assigned contacts.
For custom or advanced targeting, however, you would need to create that list based on filters in your CRM, download it to a CSV, then upload the CSV to Podium. Users point out that Podium makes this process as easy as possible with templated CSVs. Regardless, it’s manual work, you need to know exactly what criteria you want to target, and since your contacts are always changing, you need to frequently re-upload lists and re-run campaigns. Learn more about Podium custom audience targeting here.
Hatch audience targeting
With Hatch, our Audience Builder fully integrates with your CRM, lead sources, and Hatch campaign data so you can build and save audiences virtually any way you want—any lead source, any property, and any value—no CSV needed.
You can also layer your targeting to get super granular. If you want to target leads that came in through Angi, who were quoted in the last 30 days for gutter installations only and who live in a particular region, you can. If you want to target existing customers who haven't engaged in a year, you can.
Plus, with drop down lists and a search function, you don’t have to know exactly which criteria or value you want to target—the Audience Builder can help you figure that out.
Even better, Hatch will automatically enroll and remove contacts from audiences and campaigns as per the criteria, so you don’t have to update lists or relaunch campaigns.
With the Hatch Audience Builder you can target any combination of highly specific criteria.
Why is this important?
Oftentimes, businesses don’t have full visibility into all of the information in their database that they can use to their advantage. This is just another way Hatch helps you improve ROI by getting more out of your existing tools and existing contact database.
And this speaks to our goal of increasing response rates through better quality conversations. You can generate all the leads in the world, but if you reach out too slowly, with ineffective messaging and meager follow-up, you aren’t going to get responses and you’re just throwing those leads away.
Fast, personalized outreach that gets followed up on, for every opportunity, is only made possible through automation.
Hatch vs Podium: Integrations
Integrations are a key consideration when vetting software. Otherwise, any time that you save with the new software will be eaten up cobbling together workflows, reconciling data, and switching back and forth between platforms. It’s also crucial to understand for each integration how much work is involved behind setup and maintenance, how much data is synced, and what can be done with it.
Both Hatch and Podium offer several integrations, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Podium integrates with 180+ platforms and is unmatched in its Google Business integration. However, for home service-specific integrations, it lists but many of them are just general platforms that can be used by any industry, including home services (Airtable and Mailchimp, for example).
Podium has 21 home service-specific integrations:
- ESC (Electronic Service Control)
- Housecall Pro
- Improveit 360
- Key 7 Software
- Service fusion
- ServSuite by ServicePro
In addition, integrations appear to be a pain point among Podium users. “Integration” does not necessitate that it is easy to set up or that it syncs automatically, frequently, or fully. In fact, none of Podium’s integrations are available through a dashboard or marketplace, but must be requested and then require a customer service rep to manually set it up. The result is often finicky, unreliable, and hard to troubleshoot.
In addition, Podium’s integrations are limited compared to Hatch. With the Podium-ServiceTitan integration, for example, the information exchanged between platforms is limited, so you can automate texts based on a finite set of conditions—project completions and appointment dates, for example.
The Hatch-ServiceTitan integration, on the other hand, is fully bi-directional, with no importing needed, and allows you to target campaigns based on any of your ServiceTitan data, as well as to view all Hatch campaign activity within ServiceTitan. It also is self-serve setup and syncs every 15 minutes so that your campaigns are tied to contact activity throughout the day.
Hatch has fewer integrations than Podium, with a total of 42, but is unmatched in its home service-specific focus. Of those 42 integrations, 27 of those are home-service specific, and 20 of those are also strategic partners. They are also available in our marketplace and self-serve.
Hatch industry-specific integrations (*indicates partnership as well as integration)
- 33 Mile Radius*
- Builder Funnel*
- Caddie Services*
- Contractor Appointments*
- EverConnect Direct*
- EverConnect Live*
- EverConnect Marketplace*
- Home Appointments*
Hatch also has an additional 20 home service-specific partners with top names in the industry like James Hardie and ServiceNation.
Hatch vs Podium: Lead engagement
Speed to lead is essential in the home service industry. First of all, 78% of consumers go with the business that contacts them first. Second, lead aggregators give out one lead to up to four contractors. Third, contact rates drop by 900% after the first five minutes. Plus, it takes multiple channels and multiple touches to get a response. For contractors with multiple inbound lead sources, reaching out within five minutes and following up until you get a response is impossible without automation.
Both Hatch and Podium allow you to interact with new leads over text, email, voicemail, and phone, but the automation capabilities differ.
Podium lead engagement
Podium’s website says “Never miss a lead from third-party sites like Angi, CraftJack, and Thumbtack and be the first to text them back with automated replies.” However, Podium does not offer a direct integration with any of those lead sources. An automated reply is only possible if the lead goes to your website from those third party sites and requests a text using the website chat-to-text widget. Also, only one reply is automated—not a sequence of messages.
Hatch lead engagement
Hatch, on the other hand, syncs directly not just with your CRM but also your lead sources (Angi, Thumbtack, website forms, etc) so that you can automatically and instantly text new leads as soon as they enter your system. Hatch also have a website chat-to-text widget, but you don’t have to wait for that—you can be reaching out to them before they even get to your website.
Hatch vs Podium: Rehash
With today's multi-channel, very distracted customer journey, sales follow-up is more important than ever. In fact, it takes 5-12 touches for 80% of deals to close.
To our knowledge, Podium does not have any sales follow-up or rehash functionality.
Sales follow-up and rehash is one of Hatch's most popular solutions. With the direct CRM integration, Audience Builder, and Workflows, you can program Hatch to reach out to
- Quoted prospects
- Canceled prospects
- Postponed prospects
- Old or stale leads
- Churned customers
- Dormant customers
...based on time elapsed, last engagement, service quoted, location—any contact property.
You can learn more about how to automate your sales follow-up here.
Hatch vs Podium: Reporting
Any platform can claim to help you succeed, but if there's no way to quantifiably track that success, how can you know if you're getting a return on your investment?
Both Podium and Hatch offer reporting—but it should be no surprise by now that because each platform has a different use case, the reporting functionalities are also very different.
Podium's reporting is tied directly to its use cases: generating leads, earning reviews, and collecting payments. You can customize your date range and also view leads by source (webchat, contact form, Facebook, email, etc.)
- Inbound leads
- Median first response
- Total conversations
- Overall rating
- Average review rating
- Review invites
- Google my business
- Amount processed
- Number of requests
- Time to payment
Hatch reporting is directly tied to its use cases as well: improving speed to lead, response rates, and growing revenue. Metrics include:
- Contacts added
- Contacts launched
- Contacts responded
- Response rate
- Reply time
- Total communications by type
- Total sales
- Top five performing campaigns
- Leader boards
- List of sold contacts
Hatch vs Podium: Features
Since Hatch and Podium have very different use cases, it’s hard to do a side-by-side feature comparison, but here are some of the core functionalities that our audiences look for:
- Both Podium and Hatch offer messaging automation and integration, but Podium does not offer the same advanced level of automation and targeting that Hatch offers.
- With Hatch, you can scale conversation quality and conversion through multi-channel outreach sequences according to any targeting criteria you want, and for contacts in any stage of your funnel.
- With Podium, you can scale conversation volume and actions taken through one-off campaigns and basic targeting for existing customers.
What can Podium do that Hatch cant?
As mentioned above, this article is focused on use cases, features, and benefits that are most important to our target audience, which will by default be better offered through Hatch versus Podium. However, because Podium is geared for different businesses and goals, it of course offers plenty of features and benefits that Hatch does not. These include:
- Automatic URL shortening
- Social media message integration
- Voicemail transcription
- Website browsing history/ website reporting
- Text payments, including text to pay, card on file, buy now pay later, ACH transfer, fraud protection, and international transactions.
- Call to text
- Open listening
- Physical media
- MMS marketing
- Lead routing: topic based and round robin
- AI-powered review response suggestions
- Automated FAQ responses
Interested in Hatch?
If you found these Hatch features to be a good fit for your business goals, you can book a 15-minute demo here. We don't try any gimmicks or charm tactics. We show you how Hatch grows revenue so you can get in and get out.