Results: How a Home Builder Saw an 800% Increase in Online Chat Prospects

Southern Homes has been building homes for 30 years now. But none of those years were like 2020. For individuals and businesses alike, a global event was about to change the way we all live our lives.

In the face of uncertain market forces at the earliest stages of the coronavirus pandemic, Southern Homes sought to make a change that ultimately yielded a 2,055% increase in leads!

Proactivity at a time of uncertainty

March of 2020 brought the earliest hints of change for homebuilders. As new COVID-19 cases rose per day from dozens to hundreds there was an initial corresponding decline in business. With so much uncertainty, it was difficult for anyone to commit to home-buying decisions.

typing on a keyboard

Where purchasing a new home might have once been a top priority, the pandemic began to reduce this priority to a second thought. Very few businesses were immune to the dramatic shift in purchasing decisions that was about to get much more complicated. The world began to pivot to more online-centric behavior.

In response to this, Southern Homes began to transition to a completely digital process. While they already had a chat feature on their website, they considered upgrading this feature to handle what would soon become an overwhelming response.

Looking for a solution

“We always look at these online, all of our sources,” Ashley Link, Director of Marketing for Southern Homes, explained. “To see where there might be an opportunity for improvement, and we really thought for a while our online chat service could be better.”

What, specifically, was the issue with the chat tool they had? It was staffed by a single person. You can have your best employee take your chats, but inevitably he or she will have to leave the post. It’s not possible for a single person to work 24/7.

“If she had to take a phone call, or answer an email, or eat lunch or sleep at night, that service was unavailable.” Link said. “So basically that chat service was only available at specific times and limited times during the workday.”

Southern Homes ultimately landed on ApexChat as their new live chat provider. What stood out as the differentiator? It was Blazeo’s live chat agents. The authenticity that human agents could offer in chats with prospects was too valuable to pass up. Coupled with the 24/7 availability, it was the perfect solution for Southern Homes. 

The Blazeo (formerly ApexChat) difference apparent immediately

It didn’t take long for the difference Blazeo (formerly ApexChat) made to become apparent. From Q1 to Q2 of 2020, Southern Homes enjoyed a significant increase in leads as website visitors used the chat tool to engage the business and send their information. 

show the increase that live chat can bring

“From Q1 to Q2 when we launched Blazeo (formerly ApexChat) we saw an overall 2,055%% increase in our leads, and an 800% increase in online prospects, solely from our online chat source.” Link explained, “and now approximately 20% of our leads are now coming from our online chat source.”

That boost in overall leads was thanks to a significant improvement in chat performance. Quarter-over-quarter Southern Homes enjoyed a 450% increase in contracts closed. The efficiency and close rate on potential sales was also aided by Blazeo’s capability to schedule appointments directly from an online chat conversation. Through these efforts, Southern Homes was able to show more homes virtually, as well as schedule more one-on-one appointments to discuss home purchases while remaining socially distanced. 

Southern Homes relies on their live chat, in addition to their website and signage such as billboards, in order to generate leads. After Blazeo (formerly ApexChat) was added to the mix, online chat became the business’ top channel for lead generation. Link thinks the difference is in Blazeo’s 24/7 availability.

In Blazeo (formerly ApexChat), Southern Homes found a valuable partner.

“By far having a team that is available 24/7 to meaningfully engage our potential buyers on their time frame has made a tremendous impact.” She noted. “It’s a huge advantage because it’s obvious with a 2,055% increase in our online chat leads when we launched this service that people are shopping at times when we weren’t available to serve them.”

With Blazeo (formerly ApexChat) “the proof is in the pudding”

“When we look for partners in everything that we do,” Link said, “we are looking for a group that can be an extension of our team because you really build relationships with these people.”


Southern Homes found the exact sort of partners they were looking for in Blazeo (formerly ApexChat). From the simple implementation to the ongoing service, it’s a partnership that works. 

“Since launching, we have a regular meeting with Blazeo (formerly ApexChat) and they continue to be here for us.” Link explained. “They continue to help us tweak, they continue to stay invested and engaged to get us the best results possible. And because of that I really feel like they are an extension of our team.”

Ultimately, between the excellent relationships between the Southern Homes and Blazeo (formerly ApexChat) teams and the substantial increase in leads, the investment in a chat upgrade has paid off for the homebuilding business. Southern Homes enjoys a positive return on investment in the new live chat service. As Link noted, “it pays for itself.”

“If I were consulting and giving recommendations to one of my friends who is a business owner,” she added, “I would tell them that the proof is in the pudding with Blazeo (formerly ApexChat).”