Interview with Joe Bush from The Chat Shop

Having already interviewed Denys Zhadanov from Readdle, I (Josh) am lucky enough to ‘chat’ (sorry for the terrible, terrible pun) with another young entrepreneur and marketer.  Joe Bush is a founder of The Chat Shop, an agency working to optimize online behavior, offering consulting, implementation and managed services, with a focus on the live chat space. Clients include Mercedes-Benz, Wasteland-Ski and The British Film Institute. If you ever browse a website and have an opportunity to chat with an online assistant, this is what The Chat Shop facilitates.   Here is what we talked about:

Josh:  What are the key benefits to your clients of using The Chat Shop’s services?

Joe:  The first step when we work with a new client is to get to understand their current business and their future plans from both an internal perspective and a customer viewpoint. We utilize a range of tools and methodologies (many of which are proprietary to The Chat Shop) to do this, with the findings being fed into our strategy. As a result of this, each client is different but the benefits they receive tend to fit into one or more of the following categories:

1.      Conversion Optimization
2.      Customer Service
3.      Basket Abandonment
4.      Average Order Value
5.      Lead Generation / Lead Qualification
6.      Customer Experience
7.      Insight

Across our clients, the average increase in conversion/lead generation through chat is 20% – delivering a favorable return on investment. Interestingly, when we first started the business we underestimated the level of insight and understanding generated through chat – this is actively fed back to clients. Analytics and data can tell you what is happening but chat allows you to understand why.

Figure 1 An example of our live chat on a mobile device

Josh: Business-to-business marketing often involves quite traditional, non-digital marketing tactics, while tech start-ups are almost exclusively using internet marketing to promote their businesses.  As The Chat Shop is both offering a business service and is a tech start-up, what do your promotional activities currently look like?

Joe: We’ve used in the past, a wide range of channels to market the business: content marketing, whitepapers, infographics, social media, email, search engine optimization, partnerships, networking events, exhibitions… etc. Gaining a client is a long process, and is often about being there at the right time. I am very keen on meeting prospects face to face, and so exhibitions and events are perfect. This will always be backed up by a strong digital presence.

Josh: Wow!  That’s a huge amount of different promotions you are doing.  There is an old adage in marketing that goes ‘Half of my marketing budget is wasted, but I don’t know which’.  Do you agree with this?

Joe: Definitely!  It is very difficult to identify touch points when you are doing multi-channel marketing.  You can identify the last touch point that sends a client towards us – such as a blog post for example – but never the whole path of touch points.  Sometimes we gain new clients from just good search engine optimization, other times it is a much longer process for them to move from awareness to action.

Chat Shop

Josh: There are some people that believe monitoring consumer activity on websites is violation of privacy and is unethical, what are your views on this?

Joe: We would never ever want to be intrusive.  This is why the structure of our chat software has been designed from the ground-up to fit seamlessly with our client’s websites: it is easily minimized and our chat agents are trained to only initiate conversations at just the right moments.  We are also fully compliant with all the necessary regulations, including the Data Protection Act and ISO 9001.

Josh: Lastly, is there anything else you would like to add?

Joe: Don’t forget to consider what happens to your visitors when they arrive on your site. A huge amount of resource goes into driving traffic to your site, with on-site behavior almost left to chance. As frustrating as it may sound… a website is rarely performing it’s 100% best. Preferences and customer behavior changes over time and will also differ from person to person. Never underestimate the value in knowing the “why” behind the “what”.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch either through the comments or:

@chatshopjoe

uk.linkedin.com/in/joebush/

© Josh Blatchford, author of Manifested Marketing 06/11/2013

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