A successful North Tyneside-based managed web chat service is talking up its growth plans after winning a five-figure investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported By The European Regional Development Fund.
Chat Heroes helps clients across a wide range of sectors convert website traffic into useful business leads by providing a proactive chat system managed by a team of experts based at its Wallsend Town Hall offices.
The four year-old firm worked with regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers to bring in the £50,000 investment, which provides the growth capital required for it to compete for more contracts with bigger businesses.
A team of ten agents currently manages Chat Heroes’ services and this number is expected to grow as the business expands.
Gosforth-based RMT Accountants & Business Advisors has supported the Chat Heroes management team with the development of their growth plan.
Chat Heroes works with businesses right across the UK, with most of its clients coming to it through direct recommendation.
Its team compiles detailed information from visitors to clients’ websites, answering and managing queries wherever possible and then sending data on for follow-up and fulfilment
As well as now instigating a general new business drive, it is especially looking to further increase its presence in the professional services and motoring sectors.
Paul Lawton, founder and commercial director at Chat Heroes, says: “It’s a real responsibility when a client effectively trusts you with their brand and reputation, and living up to this responsibility by providing the very highest standards of customer service has been central to our success so far.
“Our staff are trained to deal with a wide range of customer situations, and the return on investment we provide for clients through the conversion rate of enquiries into new business is extremely strong.
“Understanding of how web chat services work and the business benefits they can bring is growing among the quality SME community, and our aim is to continue to capitalise on this by accelerating the pace at which we scale up.
“NEL came highly recommended and we were very impressed by the team. Their focus on the North East was important to us and their decision to invest is a real benchmark of the quality of our business model.
“RMT was the first professional services firm to adopt our services themselves and their support and advocacy of the work we do continues to be very important.”
Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £50,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.
It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.
Jane Siddle, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “Chat Heroes has established a strong reputation in a growing market and their ambition to make an even bigger mark is very impressive.”
Matthew Flinders, head of marketing and business development at RMT Accountants, says: “The Chat Heroes team delivers a tailored service that can make a big difference to the ways in which companies can grow, and it has helped us turn more of the general website queries we receive into specific opportunities.”
The overarching North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.
NEL is also responsible for investing the £18m North East Growth Capital Fund, which offers unsecured investments of up to £500,000 to established businesses looking to realise their growth potential.
For more information about NEL’s investment criteria, visit www.nel.co.uk or contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.