GQ Fu is a co-founder of LTVplus and a #cxnerd who is on a mission to rid the world of bad customer experiences. He builds outsourced customer experience teams for e-commerce brands in any time zone and language.
An entrepreneur with over 5 years of experience, he drives businesses through Customer Success. With a background that stems from music, copywriting, technology, and customer success, he enjoys taking on problems with creative (and simple) solutions.
His passion is helping businesses grow by connecting job opportunities with driven people from all over the world.
In This Conversation We Discuss:
- [1:17] GQ’s background before LTVplus
- [2:20] A large number of people in the tech industry have music backgrounds
- [4:06] Why is customer support important for store owners?
- [6:18] The reason why consultants solve problems faster: more frequent problems
- [8:46] Businesses outsource processes for them to focus on their growth
- [9:48] Shopify’s really healthy Partner ecosystem
- [10:31] Is there a metric to determine if live chat is needed for a business?
- [13:57] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest
- [14:45] Top 3 tools to track interactions
- [16:43] How does improving the customer experience increase conversion rates and reduce chargebacks?
- [18:49] 3 different scenarios for the viability of chat for ecommerce
- [20:14] Using live chat as a feedback tool to boost the conversion rate
- [22:15] Start exploring the omnichannel approach to customer support
- GQ’s LinkedIn Page linkedin.com/in/gq-fu
- LTVplus’s website: ltvplus.com/
- Use code HONECOMLTV2020 to get a 25% discount for the first 3 months of LTVplus!
If you’re enjoying the show, we’d love it if you left Honest Ecommerce a review on Apple Podcasts. It makes a huge impact on the success of the podcast, and we love reading every one of your reviews!
Just having an omnichannel approach, I think, is a very huge win that a lot of brands can really start figuring out. And most helpdesks right now support that anyway so I think that's a pretty good win there.
Welcome to Honest Ecommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners.
I'm your host Chase Clymer, and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.
If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.
Alright everyone, welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. I am your host Chase Clymer, and today I bring to the show, GQ.
That's a lot of words and we're going to talk about what that means and why it's going to help your store and why you should have something like that embedded in your brand. But before we get into that, GQ, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me, Chase. Glad to be here.
Absolutely. So what were you doing before LTVplus?
Oh gosh. So I started out doing a little bit of music production, actually. So I wasn't in tech. [I] wasn't in Ecom at all. [I was] completely not anywhere close to it. [I] did a bit of music production, got inspired to join the tech industry, and got my first job in tech as a customer success manager.
And that's what led me down the whole customer success/customer experience direction. I worked in a tech company for about 1 or 2 plus years, working with a few startups.
And we were really down to just share this remote outsourcing experience with people.
Because I think what people are typically used to is when they work with an outsourcing company, a lot of it is coming from a physical office setup, but we really believed in the remote direction.
And so we decided to start this 2+ years ago, and we've been going at it since, just running LTVplus and just getting out there.
Absolutely. It's so wild. How many people in this industry come from a music background? It's cool how music, and creativity, and tech, are all intertwined.
Myself, I was in a band forever and that's how I learned a lot of this was that I wasn't paying the bills.
Well yeah. (laughs) I guess you could put it that way. So what we did in Singapore, yeah... I think one of the biggest things that we had to do back there is that you'll be playing a lot of cover gigs, just to make ends meet and that's the case.
And then during your free time we were doing like music production, writing songs, writing for pop stars and so on and so forth. But yeah, it does get a bit harsh. What do you play for an instrument?
I played bass in the band but I started on [the] guitar.
Nice. Well, I'm the opposite. So, I started off with bass and then switched over guitar and keyboards over time. So, nice. Who do you like to listen to for bass?
Oh. You know what, I'm not a huge instrument snob when it comes to it, but like the first one that's going to come to mind is Geddy Lee. Rush is amazing.
Oh wow. Okay. Okay. Okay. I feel you. I feel you. (laughs)
And funny enough, because I'm currently based in Kiev and he came by... He's really killing it at sales. And he came by to Kiev for a performance and he had a lot of fans there.
I was like, "Dude. Wow! You have a fan base here!" He's like "Yeah!" [I'm like] "Wow! So, by day you're a salesperson/sales professional and expert. And then at night, you're killing it in music. So it's like... I completely agree with what you say.
Yeah. The best of both worlds, right?
Best of both worlds. Best of both worlds. Yeah.
Alright, cool. So let's get into it here. So LTVplus, you guys offer customer support. Let's kind of just take it back from there and not even just [on] your business.
But why is this important to store owners? What is going to be some of the problems that they're probably experiencing before they realize this is something that they need to find a solution for?
Sure. So essentially, when you want to build up the entire customer experience, it starts... One aspect of it is customer support.
And so you want to be able to get back to people on time, you want to be able to help people make the right purchases, and if they have any issues with their shipping your orders and maybe just picking out the product, you want to be able to respond to that and help them.
Now, one of the biggest things I think that we see here is that before people outsource it, they usually figure out "Okay, how do they want to build all these process[es]?"
And then when they suddenly start to see a lot of volumes coming through, --maybe it's like an influencer campaign that kicked off and just gets 50,000 people just overnight or something like that or it could be that they see this gradual increase-- and they're not able to keep up with finding the right people.
They just want to focus more on the growth of the company, they want to focus more on building the brand, and they want to focus more on improving the customer experience as a whole.
And that's when they started to think about, "Okay. Is there a partner that I could possibly work with to help me take care of the..."
Not necessarily the legwork, but also figuring out how to hire people, how to train people and just have that as a fully functioning department on its own, so that they're just able to feed information feed, feed product updates, and just letting people know "Okay, these are the new processes and the new promos that we're running."
That the teams can just run automatically on their own without having to do the heavy lifting to build out the entire process.
And yeah. I think another part of it also is that when people start to consider an outsourcing partner, it's also drawing upon the expertise or the experience of the outsourcing partner based on working with multiple Shopify brands, for example, or working with different Ecommerce brands, and just bringing the best practices together to help the company out.
That's something that dawned on me yesterday: When you're a consultant or you're on the app side of things, you're experiencing problems and unique use-cases and solving things so much faster than a brand will because you're experiencing it at such a higher volume. We’re usually working with about 12 people at a time...
...so we're learning about this industry --we're learning about weird idiosyncrasies of Shopify-- we're learning all that stuff 12 times faster than your average person. Now on your end, you're probably working with dozens of brands, so you're learning what is working in your industry within customer experience teams a dozen times faster than just someone trying to tackle this on their own.
That is definitely true. In fact, what's really interesting is that a lot of the best practices that we share with different clients is like a "Hey, we did this before. Let's share that [knowledge] with you." But also at the same time, it's something that we could discover yesterday.
So for example, some of the best ways that we've been working with tagging and helpdesk --
Gorgias, for example-- we figured out certain rules that we could set up and then we say, "Hey, for other clients that are on Gorgias, we could test this similar setup as well."
And I think one thing that's also interesting is that it's not even just about the best practices itself, but I'm drawing upon the fact that with a shared resource within the outsourcing partners' operations, for example, within the company, you're able to get a full-fledged training department.
You're able to get people that [are] basically working processes and you're just plugging into that system and therefore, you as a business [and] as a brand benefit from the whole setup.
Yeah. It goes without saying [with] just the opportunity costs there, the fact that if you're trying to tackle something like this yourself, --and this could be even just outside of customer experience.
Any big undertaking that you're going to take as a business.-- it pays to actually use someone that knows what they're doing when trying to build that out and implement it.
While it's more expensive upfront, the opportunity costs of you twiddling your thumbs and paying the hard way, --which is by failing or making mistakes and doing things 3 times before you do it right-- that opportunity cost, you got to take that into consideration when you're weighing your options on trying to tackle the next big project within your business.
That is so true. That is so true. In fact, what's really interesting when we were at the EEcom Expo in London last year, some of the trends that we noticed were that quite a number of customers, and you probably see this yourself as well [on] Electric Eye.
Your clients are more inclined to hand off a majority of the parts of the Ecom business, in terms of operations, in terms of marketing, and they just want to focus on growing the brand itself versus having to "I have to manage customer experience, I have to manage shipping, manage marketing..."
They might be more geared towards maybe even marketing or sales, for example, but even building up the site, for example, they'd be happy to outsource that, so that they can just focus on what matters to them.
Now. Absolutely. And I think that's the only way that you're going to grow. You need to grow your team. I feel like there's probably a lot of brands out there that are...
They found product-market fit, and they're super lean, and they're just starting to realize that they've hit this ceiling where it's like "We can't really grow anymore without getting people to help."
That is correct. That is correct. We definitely see the same thing. And what's really amazing though, if we take Shopify as the start, a lot of Partners are in this space, they're just helping out brands on the market. And everyone is just...
It's such a healthy ecosystem that if you as a brand today, you're not sure where to go next to help you grow your business, you can literally literally chat with one Partner who then [can] say, "Hey, we [can] take care of this for you, but we know someone else would be good to help you with this other aspect of your business in the space."
And it's just a really healthy system that's been built. Brands can easily thrive as a result, once they're ready to start outsourcing or start delegating other aspects of the business to other people and sharing that, I guess, sharing that part of their business with other agencies.
Absolutely. So let's circle back to the topic at hand, though. So live chat experiences in customer service. So before we get into that, is there a metric --say maybe gross orders or sales volume-- where this makes sense to start to have other people in a place other than the business owner?
That's a great question. So (laughs) unfortunately, the answer is not as straightforward as I'd like, but that's a really good point that you brought up.
For example, the amount of volume. So let's put this into context in terms of conversations, since we're talking about live chat or email.
Now, when you as a brand start off, you probably get X number of visitors to your site, and you probably get X number of conversations that happen once you run your helpdesk, where it starts to make sense.
It really depends on, first of all, your product and the experience that customers are having. For brands that are, " Hey, this is like pretty much touch and go."
We've seen some brands where they work a lot with landing pages and a very minimal number of pages are products on their site where it's like, maybe one or two products that they're focusing on, they just sell it at high volume.
And where conversations start to kick in or when they should consider probably outsourcing that is when they're maybe hitting around, I don't know, maybe 2000 conversations or so, or 3000 conversations, because they can no longer take care of that and they and they want to free themselves up from doing the day to day and to focus on strategy and more on the brand.
That's where I'd say that would be a good part to start outsourcing. A good point to start outsourcing. And another part of it is also it really depends on your web traffic. The number of unique visitors coming to your site.
Now typically, we could say "Hey, 50,000 to 100,000 people as a start to every month, it's not a bad start." But if you've never run live chat before, you wouldn't really know exactly how many people are going to start hitting you up.
So we recommend brands to start by maybe having a very passive live chat where you just have the chat bubble there and just see you how many people actually come through while maintaining your own in-house team.
And then the next step would then be to see "Okay, cool. Let's start hitting people up." Where you start doing more proactive types of live chat where you could activate conversations when people come to decide within 30 seconds, you could activate chat on high intent pages [such as the] checkout [page] where maybe, for example, your bounce rate at checkout is like one minute.
But then you could have a chat bubble kicking around [at] 50 seconds or so just to make sure that people have everything that they need.
And so when you start to test all these different aspects of proactive chat and live chat out, that's when you get a really good feel for how many conversations that will come through.
And then you can figure out, "Okay, how much of that can I do in-house? How much of that do I want to outsource, so that a company can look after that for me?"
So it's really a mixture of the conversations that you're already getting, how many unique visitors there you're actually getting at this stage?
And yeah, and if you've never explored a communication channel before like live chat, you probably want to test it out and figure out "Okay, does it make sense if it's going to be giving you a lot of conversations?" Or is it just going to be like, "Oh, it's going to be relatively quiet. I can still manage."
Oh, yeah, that's a great answer.
Let's be honest today. All of your customers are going to have questions.
What are you doing to manage all those questions? Do you have a help desk for your business?
One of our sponsors of today's episode is Gorgias. Gorgias is the number onerated helpdesk for Ecommerce. It integrates seamlessly with Shopify. We have installed it in a bunch of stores. It's also used by brands like MVMT and Rothy's.
What it does is it takes all of your customer insights and information, brings it into one amazing dashboard so you can solve their problem as quickly as possible. If you want to give Gorgias a try, visit gorgias.link/honest to get your second month free.
So when you're moving towards these live chat features, there are some that are standalone, there are some that are looped in with more robust ticketing systems.
What are some of the more popular solutions that you see for just communicating and tracking these interactions with customers? What are the more popular ones in the space?
When you mean interactions, do you mean across all channels or primarily chat?
Ooh. That's a great question.
Well, the reason I'm asking here is because I want to differentiate here between the tool that is being used to communicate with customers, and then the team that is using the tool to communicate with customers.
Because there are two different things we're talking about here.
Okay. Okay. So in terms of tools, well, the popular ones that we see right now, especially in the Shopify space is Gorgias.
You're able to actually track the interactions, you're able to track which agent is doing what, and of course, the nifty functions like leaving internal notes and tracking the revenue that's pegged to your tickets or your chat conversations is also really useful.
Because you want to know... I think a lot more brands are very interested in this right now: It's how much revenue are you generating from your contact center.
Because we believe the contact centers can be profit centers. It's just a matter of how you keep track of that and what kind of initiatives you run. So Gorgias is one example.
Live Chat or Live Chat Inc is also another example. Zendesk can also do that. But you would probably require a little bit of working a little bit with Google Analytics to pull out more information. But those are the top 3 ones that we see right now. I could go on forever.
There's a full list of apps that people could work with, like Customr. There's also what else is there? Re:amaze for example. Yeah. There's a whole bunch. I'd be happy to share more, but oh god, it's just really a full list out there.
So that's amazing. Cool. So once you get a tool in place, and then you're starting to get a team in place, what are... Some of the things that this is going to do are going to increase conversion rate, it's going to reduce chargebacks... How is it doing this?
So, for example, when you start off with a specific tool and manpower, the 2 things you want to balance today is how much of it can you automate and how much of it can you use human agents to step in and improve the overall experience?
Because I think one of the popular debates is: Can chatbots replace human agents? The answer, probably at this stage, is not quite a lot but they can do a fair bit that's pretty useful to help increase the quality of the experiences that you can provide.
So let's say for example if you're running a chat for your store and you're thinking about how can you increase conversion rates with your store? Well, with your live chat... Let's just say you use a tool where you have live chat, you could be running proactive chat conversations or chat messages, which I mentioned earlier.
The other aspects of that are also automating that, depending on whether or not your chat tool has a maybe an AI, like a chatbot element or an automation element. So on some things, it can be done with, for example, Gorgias.
If someone were to ask you something like, "Hey, where's my order?" Gorgias will just pull all that information for you straight away and send that to your customer and your agent does not even have to step in.
And that saves you a lot of time. And so your agent, your team of agents can now then focus on perhaps more complex inquiries where people are just frustrated and they want to complain about something.
Or they perhaps want to get a refund and just an automated message will obviously not (laughs) do any brand any good at that stage. And that's where your agent can step in and just find out what the issues are and address those concerns immediately.
I'm sold on live chat. I think it's an amazing tool, but I hope that it's going to impact somebody listening to the show.
Yeah. Yeah. For sure. For sure. And to be clear, it's not a magic bullet, but definitely we have seen quite a bit of an improvement overall with live chat.
So like what I mentioned before, if you're on the fence of figuring out whether or not live chat is something for you, you can always just test it out.
Just put it up there, do it the passive way where you just have to bubble, and then have those conversations and see how much it impacts conversion rates in a good way or a bad way. Because we have seen 3 different scenarios.
One is literally not having chat there at all is actually better than having chat, either a chat bubble or even being proactive. It's just the nature of the demographics that come to your site.
But we see more towards for example, where just having the bubble, they're building a sense of trust, showing people or customers when they come to your site that they're able to easily reach you, that helps to ease them along to make a purchase versus not seeing any real-time support available.
And then finally, of course, the where you have the more active one where you're proactively reaching out to people and just chatting people up and helping them with their product inquiries, and maybe even recommending proper products to them, then that also can help you drive sales and maybe drive sales more so than just having it passively. So it really depends.
But I would say take it with a pinch of salt, try it out. And once you do, you can find out, which version of live chat will work best for you and on which pages.
Yeah. And then there's a whole separate side to the first time that you're running live chat. In my opinion, it's like a secret conversion rate optimization tool.
Because when you start to see patterns of people asking the same questions before they're purchasing, it means you're not answering that question on your product page or through your marketing.
So once you start seeing those patterns, and you start implementing changes to let the customer be aware of the answers to those questions that they keep having, you're going to see those contacts, those people aren't going to be reaching out the same questions anymore, and it's going to increase your conversion rate.
That is true. That is true. It's like a situation where you may have a lot of conversations for a certain topic and once again, things start to die down.
And then that's where you can improve like you mentioned, like your overall customer experience and even what aspects of the FAQs you could be improving or just kind of improving the messaging on your site or the product just so that people understand what the issues are.
So it's a really good feedback tool to have chat and not even just chat but email support for example. So you're able to figure out "Okay, cool. If people are complaining about not being able to purchase this product in X color or if they're not able to access a certain feature on your side, that's just gonna be some things that you can immediately act on." And these are easy wins that you can just pull out from day-to-day conversations.
And what's really interesting for us is that when you have a conversation via say, Facebook Messenger or email or live chat, each different channel... The kind of conversations you will have on each different channel will be very different.
So, someone who's emailed you about topic A, they may not mention that via chat. They might talk about something else via chat instead because it's just the nature of how you converse with people. So that's something to bear in mind as well.
Absolutely. Hey GQ, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Is there anything that I forgot to ask of you or that you think would be worth sharing with the audience?
I think one thing that will be really interesting is the omnichannel bit. So if you've not already connected your social media platforms --voice or text-- to your helpdesk, you should probably consider that because it really gives your age...
It does 2 things. One, your customers can essentially reach out to you on any platform pretty much very easily and they can get an immediate response.
Because today, your customer experience team is able to respond to people quickly and also obviously with quality.
But the other aspect of that is just giving your agents or your team the context of the conversations that you're getting. So for example, today, if I were to give a phone call to you, and then the next day, I send you a text message but another agent picks up the conversation.
They would know that I would have called before and they could actually listen to the conversation and understand where I, as a customer and coming from.
And I think that's one of the very important things that Ecom brands need to really get started doing. Because sometimes we might find certain clients where they're just having like social media separately, where they have a team that does it, which is great.
But what happens is when the social media team is asleep, and you're running this 24/7support, and you have customers from the other side of the world.
What happens when they go quiet and then they go to bed. So just having an omnichannel approach, I think, is a very huge win that a lot of brands can really start figuring out and most helpdesks right now support that anyway. So I think that's a pretty good win there.
Awesome. Thank you so much. I know that you have... There are two questions I have here. One is how do people get a hold of you if they're interested in learning more from you or learning more about LTVplus?
Oh, great. So they can reach out to me on LinkedIn, just look for GQ and LTVplus and you should be able to find me there. I'm very happy to share more about ways that you can improve customer experience with chat, email, social media, voice, or whichever.
Awesome. And then they are actually going to have an awesome discount code, which will obviously be in the show notes. But I'll say it out loud here.
So it's HONECOMLTV2020. And that's going to be a 25% off discount for the first 3 months if you're actually looking to implement a solution like this, and you want to talk to LTVplus about it.
Yep, that's correct. (laughs) I was like, wondering what was the promo code again? Okay. Yeah. (laughs) I think you read that. Right. Yeah.
And that's why I have the pre-show form. It's because I'm not going to remember it either.
(laughs) Yeah. That is correct. That is so true.
Awesome. GQ, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Thanks for your time. Chase. Thank you so much. Glad to be here.
I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add to our businesses. Links and more information will be available in the show notes as well.
If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, feel free to reach out and learn more at electriceye.io/connect. Also, make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review. Thank you!