Chatting online has served up success for a North Tyneside business which is set to expand after securing new contracts.

Wallsend’s Chat Heroes has set its sights on becoming the UK’s market-leading outsourced Live Web Chat delivery service to the property and lettings industry, having seen a 157% rise in turnover in the last year amid growing demand for direct communication with customers.

Based in Wallsend Town Hall, Chat Heroes has grown from six to nine staff members in 12 months, with plans to increase to 18 by the end of the year to meet the demands of several new UK-wide contracts.

The technology combined with customer service orientated skills, led by entrepreneur Paul Lawton, has grown quickly since launching in March 2015, to work with a range of clients looking to outsourced live chat services and connect in real time with online customers.

Current clients include Jan Forster Estate Agents, Elopa and Thirteen Group along with the North East England Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Lawton said: “Chat Heroes is really going from strength to strength as our services continue to be recognised up and down the UK as an important part of the online marketing and communication tools demanded by customers.

“The key benefits are lead generation intertwined with exceptional customer service.

“Our SME clients soon accept us as an extended part of their own team; especially when their business is shut. We see interest from a range of businesses and organisations who are looking for ways to engage with visitors to a website on a one-to-one basis but don’t necessarily have the traffic or internal resources to man Live Chat operations 85 hours a week.

“More than 50% of live chat conversations for our sales and letting clients in the property industry are turned into active leads and we are always looking at further ways to increase this going forward.”

Chat Heroes was founded by Mr Lawton in response to the growth in Live Chat operations on websites aiming to meet the needs of customers who want to engage with a brand or organisation on a more immediate level.

He said: “Not everyone likes the idea of speaking direct and over the phone to businesses. This could be for several reasons; fear of being kept on hold or direct selling or even just wanting to ask a simple question relating to a product in terms of availability or price.

“Live Chat is the perfect first-step communication for customers visiting a website and our trained team offer immediate information to keep a customer interested and engaged. “A lead is with the business owner in less than 100 seconds on any device.

“One of the biggest problems facing traditional agents is the rise of the online-only estate agents and we offer a multi-faceted tool to add to the marketing and communication mix of high-street agents and assist greatly in the digital fightback.

“It is almost expected of businesses now to offer a Live Chat option but we completely understand the demands this places on resources. Our initial specialism in the property industry has grown to cover many different areas and we are now looking to expand further with new teams of six members each to support recent new contract wins.

“It’s certainly a very exciting time for the business as we seek to increase our nationwide customer base and welcome new employees to help us engage with brands and clients.”