Ranking the Best and Worst Software, According to Customers

Steve Benjamins   •   Published Apr 26 2017

Buying software can be a harrowing experience.

For any given need you may have, there are likely dozens of software companies offering competing products. When you’re spending your hard-earned money on something, you want the very best. But often, it can be difficult to ascertain which software are the best out there: all too frequently, software reviews are subject to user-submitted reviews—a system which is commonly subject to paid, fake testimonials.

At Wise Buyer, we create software buying guides that are based on conversations with more than 5,000 real-life users. To score consumer satisfaction, we have a simple but effective methodology: we ask real life users whether they recommend the software product or not. So far, we’ve compiled guides on 6 types of software: landing page builders, form builders, portfolio builders, live chat, email marketing, and ecommerce.

In each sector, how do various software stack up against one another? Which receive the best and worst customer satisfaction ratings? And what are the best and worst overall?

First, let’s average out the overall customer satisfaction rates of each type of software to get an idea of how they compare. The figures below represent the percentage of users who we talked to that recommended the product. For each overall category below, we talked to between 450 and 1,450 total users.

Looking at this data, it’s clear that some categories seem to enjoy higher average customer ratings than others.

Overall, the average satisfaction rating across the board is 85%. Live chat software (90%) is a healthy 5% above this, followed by email marketing software (89%), and form builders (88%). Portfolio builders (83%), landing page builders (82%), and ecommerce software (79%) all fall below the average.

With these averages in mind, let’s break down each of these categories and took a closer look at the companies we reviewed in each one, beginning with landing page builders.

Landing page builders are software that allow a user to create a webpage—particularly, one that is promotion-specific, or represents a business.

Overall, the nine landing page builders we reviewed averaged an 82% customer satisfaction rate. Five products fell above that figure, and four below. Thrive Landing Pages came out on top, with a 93% satisfaction rate, followed by OptimizePress and Instapage. Wishpond, at 65%, came in last.

Form builders—software that assist in the creation of online forms of any kind (lead generation, payments, etc.)—fared slightly better overall, with an average satisfaction rating of 88%.

Next, let’s turn to portfolio builders, software used by photographers, visual designers, artists, and models to create online portfolios of work. This arena had a few more competing products.

There was a bit more variance in ratings here than in previous categories.

Format topped the list with a 95% rating, followed by 22Slides (92%), AllYou (90%), and SmugMug (90%). Nearly 30 percentage points behind—and more than 10 points off the average—Zenfolio (70%) and Viewbook (69%) did not fair as well.

Live chat software, used mainly to build real-time customer service communications, also had quite a wide range.

In this category, four products—Intercom, Tawk.to, MyLiveChat, and My Chat—scored an impressive 98% satisfaction rating. Nine other products scored the average (90%) or higher, while 10 fell below that mark.

Email marketing software (used to create mailing lists) turned out an equal number of high performers: 9 at or above the 89% average.

Interestingly, four companies—Mailerlite (97%), ConvertKit (96%), Constant Contact (96%), and Robly (94%)— outpaced the industry favorite, Mailchimp (93%).

Lastly, ecommerce software (used for commercial transactions on the Internet) featured a clear winner in Shopify (98%)—a whopping four percent above the competition.

The familiar faces of Squarespace (94%) and GoDaddy (83%) fell above the average (79%), while UberCart (78%), Wix Commerce (77%), and Weebly Commerce (76%) fell below it.

Across all categories, which individual software companies are consumer favorites? The list below is color-coded by software type so you can see which categories tend to rank higher or lower.

It seems software programs that deal with direct communication (live chat, email marketing) perform the best, while software more on the service back-end (ecommerce) go over slightly less well.

We created these rankings to add clarity to the software buying process. So any time you find yourself in the market for a new product, we hope these numbers help!

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Hear when we publish new guides

Our next guide, The Guide to Live Chat Software, will be published January 2016.