In this week’s episode, we speak with Beth Bogan, who is the owner of Ace Chat from Colorado. She believes in creating relationships that positively affect someone’s day through live chat. Since 2011, Beth and her team strive to create a positive environment that represents their clients warmly and professionally and treats their visitors with kindness and compassion. She talks about how her life is like growing up and born in New Jersey and how her family likes to travel a lot, so she gets to see different places – all 50 states. We asked her about her career journey and how Beth started doing various jobs, especially on Customer Service, before she began to Ace Chat. She pegged on bringing a culture of kindness and compassion in a workplace, which she thinks is not usually around these days, that’s why she came up with the idea of starting Ace Chat. She also gave tips and advice on business owners, especially those who are just starting up.
Beth’s website: https://www.acechatservice.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Okay, welcome back to the podcast. My guest today is Beth Bogan Beth is the owner of ACE chat. She believes in creating relationships that positively affect someone’s day through live chat with ace chat your site visitors will have general questions answered and obtain confidential, empathetic service right from your website just as they would in your office since 2011. Beth and her amazing team strive to create a positive environment that extends beyond their office representing their clients warmly and professionally in treating site visitors with kindness and compassion in her free time as she can be found loving on her family planning their next adventure curled up with a good book and a hot cup of tea and always outside whenever possible. A true Coloradan right there. Oh, Beth, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Beth Bogan 1:05
Thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here. Well,
Katie Brinkley 1:08
let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about where you grew up and what your life was like growing up.
Beth Bogan 1:13
So I’m actually the youngest of seven, seven. Yes. And there’s quite a split between my closest sibling and I but we are all born and raised in New Jersey. And so to be honest, as much as I’ve lived in Colorado for a lot of years now, but New Jersey is still very much home for me. But growing up in a big family really kind of gave you the the idea that not everything is about you and things have to be shared. And I actually really love that we had a lot of adventures as kids, we grew up camping, my parents were big travel fan. So we had privileges and opportunities to go many places and see many different things. And I have I learned from a very young age that travel is the only thing that you can spend money on for yourself that makes you richer.
Katie Brinkley 1:55
Yeah. And it’s so true. Because I grew up I’m an only child, so complete opposite of you. But I’m an only child. My parents were both flight attendants. So I grew up traveling as well. And it is it’s so true, the more you can see of our country and our world. It is so enriching.
Beth Bogan 2:12
Oh, I totally agree. So I love traveling. I’m so ready for some of this COVID madness to be gone. So we can adventure and see and do on a different level. Again, although I’ve been pleased to say we’ve been keeping it local this summer and seeing what Colorado has to offer. And that’s not a bad thing either.
Katie Brinkley 2:30
Exactly. Well, let’s talk about Colorado a little bit. You are from New Jersey, what brought you out to Colorado,
Beth Bogan 2:36
some kind of life family changes. And it was just kind of at a crossroad where the direction wasn’t really clear. And it was just my mom and I at the time and she said you know, she has family out here and she goes What about moving to Colorado and I just let’s do it. And just like that we packed up and moved out here and I transferred in as a sophomore to Colorado State University and loved my time in Fort Collins had a wonderful time still have friendships made there and go rams. So I have to throw that in there. It’s been really Colorado’s a beautiful state. I’ve had the privilege of seeing all 50 states now. It is a huge accomplishment. It was a bucket list item of mine. And I love the variants and the difference in all the states but no one does blue skies like Colorado. I maintain.
Katie Brinkley 3:20
Yeah. And it’s my husband’s also a CSU alumni. And that is such a fun town and fun college town, Fort Collins I went to Fort Lewis in Durango. So complete opposite ends of the state. But I’ve always enjoyed going up to Fort Collins and checking out you know, the campus life and some of the main street and like Old Town area. So it’s a great place to go to school, for sure. Take us through. Yeah, take us through your career journey. Tell us where you started out and some of the different professional stops that brought you to starting up this live chat.
Beth Bogan 3:53
Well, I guess I can say the one kind of consistent string amongst all of the jobs that I’ve had has been customer service on some level in some way. I started off my first job out of college professional job was working for a law firm downtown and I really respected the people that I worked with, but it just wasn’t the right fit for me. I didn’t it was a square peg in a round hole. And they are really wonderful people with excellent ethics, which is I suppose what you don’t usually hear about attorneys but these guys were top notch and I really it was sadly them but it just wasn’t right. So then I spent a few years kind of doing various things working in retail management, always it’s been leading a team on some sort of customer service level. I did a stint in a few years in Alaska where different grocery chain and really my real love is just working with a team of people who are like minded and that is how I am so fortunate with my current job with these chat. My team is second to none. I can’t say enough about them without them. This is nothing. They are really the backbone of what we do. It’s great but really just providing excellence and kindness, which is something that is not always available in mass quantities and this, I would say current culture and something that we would like to see change. And so kind of leading the way with that.
Katie Brinkley 5:14
Well, and again, let’s let’s talk a little bit more about ace chat. How did you get a chat started?
Beth Bogan 5:21
So I was working for a company and they went out of business. But long story short, it just my sister was also working for them. And when they folded, she and I are complete and polar opposites, I’m much more likely to do take a risk, and she’s much more cautious and think through things. And on this, we completely flip flopped, I was like, No way. And she was like, Oh, we’re doing this. And really, of the two of us, I’m the Bossy or one. And she is so much nicer. But she told me, we’re doing this and I listened. I said, Okay, let’s do it. So we kind of picked up the ball and ran with that. And our first client was a cosmetic dentist in downtown Denver, he is still with us. And that was a lot of years ago. And we’ve been privileged to work for him for as many years as we have, we’re actually coming up on our in in a few days, our nine year anniversary. So proud to say that, but it just kind of started as a necessity to Alright, we have a gap here. Let’s fill it how can we how can we do this in a way that is respectable and honorable and also provides opportunities for our team, you know, is lots of stay at home moms who work for us there are people looking to fill in the gap. And they still want to attend games in the evening for their kids, but they still need to be available as moms. And so this kind of provides opportunities for them as well.
Katie Brinkley 6:34
That’s awesome. And it doesn’t surprise me at all, when you said we’re polar opposites. And you said that you are more likely to take risks from hearing you and your mom just decided to pick up and move out to Colorado, you know, for on a whim. So let’s talk about being a business owner. If someone is listening right now, who is an aspiring or a new business owner? What is the single biggest piece of advice that you’d want to give him or her as their journey starts?
Beth Bogan 6:57
Oh, that is a good question. thinking carefully about that, I would say give yourself the grace to make mistakes. Because I think we are as a general rule, and certainly speaking Absolutely. For myself, I’m my own worst critic, there is nothing that anyone can say to me that is harsher than what I’ve already said to myself. And I think giving yourself the grace to make mistakes, because you will make them and I think also to follow up with that is to reach out to as many people as you know, who are also business owners and say, Who do you know, that can help me with whatever. And I think you’ll find that other business owners want to help you because whether or not they’re on their own journey of success, or they’ve already made, you know, their first 22 billion, whatever it is, I think people generally want to help. And I remember speaking in front of a group of people for the first time and hearing my brother’s voice in my ear saying you know what? Nobody because I don’t like public speaking at all. He said nobody in the audience wants to see you fail. Everyone wants to see you succeed. And I think giving yourself the grace to allow yourself to make mistakes is not necessarily considered a failure. It’s just a made a mistake. I can learn from this and I can grow from this. How can we tweak this to be better next time? I think there will be my biggest thing. We’re all human. Right? Amen.
Katie Brinkley 8:14
If you could go back and do anything differently in your journey to where you are right now? What, if anything, would you change?
Beth Bogan 8:21
So that’s a tricky question. And the reason I say that is because I always say I’ve made a ton of mistakes in my life, oh my gosh, wouldn’t have time in a year’s worth of podcasts to cover all the mistakes that I’ve made. But I will say being where you are getting to, you know, be Who are you where it gets you to where you are. So without making the mistakes that I’ve made, it wouldn’t be where I am, and I’m loving the place where I am with the team that I have. It’s just amazing. But I would say really reach out to people around you because had I known it just starting off with a logo even I made we made a mistake with the first logo and when you rebrand something, it’s a big fat pain in the backside and it’s expensive. So reaching out to people saying How should I do that? Who’s a good person to help me with XYZ so that you limit your financial mistakes and learning opportunities from those who have gone before you I think is massive.
Katie Brinkley 9:11
You brought up choosing the wrong logo and then having to go through the whole rebrand design process. What do you think that some of the biggest mistake business owners make are when they’re trying to grow and sustain a successful businesses?
Beth Bogan 9:25
Thank you don’t realize number one, everyone has a story. And knowing your story, and being able to tell your story are important. And that is something we struggled with in the very beginning for sure. Um, to be honest, it’s probably something that I still struggle with now, because I’m really easy to put a crown on your head and hey, let’s celebrate and throw a parade but no giving myself the celebratory things that you know, we’re engine right. I’m not so good. I would say that. But I think knowing that you’re going to be your brand as who you are and knowing that you need to be in love with your brand and your logo and if you’re not in love with it, wait till you are because it’s everything likes who you are?
Katie Brinkley 10:01
Absolutely, it really does. Let’s talk a little bit about your brand. And how are you currently finding and engaging with your ideal clients and customers these days? What type of marketing Have you found works best for you?
Beth Bogan 10:16
Well, we don’t do a whole lot of marketing on a, you know, sort of Google SEO, AdWords normal, what you think of as marketing, because I’m up against software companies. So for me to be able to overcome that market isn’t the right thing. For me, it’s getting in front of the people that are good potential clients, for me. And also, I think my biggest marketing when it’s simply word of mouth referrals, if you do a good job, and you provide a consistent customer, not only products, but consistently excellent customer service, and you’re just honest about your business in general, word spreads. And people want to do business, all things being equal with people they know, like, and trust there, just being that knowable, likable person who you can trust has been everything to us. And that is really, the majority of our marketing is simply word of mouth referral.
Katie Brinkley 11:04
And I think that too, you know, you said, you’re up against giant software companies and what you guys offer as a live chat, a lot of people might think that that’s what they’re getting when they sign up with some of these larger companies. But really, what they’re signing up for is a bot. Messenger bot, talk to us a little bit about how having a real person on the other side of a computer screen answering and listening and talking to potential clients or current clients makes a big difference, as opposed to a messenger bot.
Beth Bogan 11:31
I tell people all the time, when you call somebody, would you rather speak to a person? Or would you rather get a phone tree? Because for me, that’s an easy answer, I’m going to speak to somebody. And so what we do is actually engage with for on behalf of our clients that we don’t act as just a third party, simply check the name, check the box, off you go, we really work as an extension of a team. And nobody wants, nobody wants a phone tree. Nobody wants a bot where it’s click here, click here, people are chatting, because in this day and age, and the big huge world that we live in, people want to be treated like they’re they matter and that they’re valuable. So we provide a service where we can ensure that site visitors are treated as people like they matter. Like they’re significant.
Katie Brinkley 12:15
And I think that too, when you have a real person on the other end of a, like you said, if you’re answering the phone, you can talk to a real person, you get your questions a lot answered, leads happen sales happen the same way when you have a live chat real person there to answer questions, as opposed to just a bot saying, what are your hours? Okay, click here. Talk to us a little bit about how a live representative can help you close those deals through the internet in ways that a messenger bot can’t or just a regular contact form can’t?
Beth Bogan 12:46
Well, I would say really, the difference is like kindness that already is making somebody feel that their value and insignificant, we chat with a lot of dental practices. And dental phobia is a thing, also. And if you even just think about in your own past, if you’ve ever had a bad dental experience, raise your hands and it pretty much everybody can check that box. And so I just think people are dental work is something that’s very personal. And so they want to make sure that when they go to a site, it’s not just a check here, check there somebody is actually answering their questions, because people who feel valued and like they matter are much more likely to convert and that’s across the board with anything. Yeah, like you’ve been treated kindly.
Katie Brinkley 13:25
Yeah, exactly. And I think that, like you said to it’s one of those things where if you have something that’s on a personal scale, if you’re able to follow up with a real question, or a real type of answer, people will realize that it is a person on the other end of the computer talking with you and that you can have this open conversation. And it’s not just like you said, a phone tree, this is your next option A or B yes or no.
Beth Bogan 13:50
And I think it’s interesting because I’ve been doing this since 2011 With these chat. And then I mean, chat is much more popular now. But then it was still kind of new. And even though it’s been around for a while not everybody was using it and far I was asked far less in 2011 Are you a bot than I am now and I think people are just frustrated by it. So I always my standard answer is no indeed I am very human. My family would tell you they prefer when I don’t sing out loud and I drink you know, tablespoon of creamer in my coffee every day but people are suspicious of it. So it’s been interesting to see the trend to change over the years. One passion
Katie Brinkley 14:25
that so many business owners and entrepreneurs have is to build a business around your lifestyle and it looks like you have done that for yourself and as chat employees like you said you have a lot of stay at home moms that work for you so that they can still work and pick their kids up from school. How has a chat and your your philosophy of having that type of flexibility played out in your story and approach to running your business. So
Beth Bogan 14:51
I heard you know Mary Gall was success magnified if you don’t have to introduce it to her. She’s amazing. She’s here in Denver. I love her and she said something To me several years ago, that was just I call them two by four moments when somebody takes a two by four, and cracks you over the head with this piece of advice. And she said, You know, it’s not about the work life balance that people always say, balance this balance that she goes, it’s really more of a blend. Because some days you work harder, some days, you play harder, and you figure out how to blend it into your life. And you kind of throw out the idea of balancing things, it takes some of the pressure off of making sure everything’s so equal, you just when you blend it, it just releases the pressure in a different way than I never expected it would. So that was a transitional mindset for me that I think has been massive, even from day one to day now just kind of letting go and relieving myself of unrealistic expectations to balance everything perfectly, because you can’t nobody can no blending things much more realistic.
Katie Brinkley 15:50
And that takes me right into my next question of what the best piece of advice you ever received is that’s so important to have, like you said, the the work life blend. I mean, that’s why I started my own company was I have two small kids and I wanted to be able to be there for them when they were going to school, pick them up from school. And it’s amazing how when you have that type of blend it makes going to work enjoyable, and you want to be there you want to be successful. You want to get work done so that you can go home and have fun. Yes. So before we finish up, is there anything that I didn’t ask you about during today’s discussion that you think is important to share?
Beth Bogan 16:28
I think I was very fearful to start this because while I was willing to take a risk on other things in my life, this was something that I was very sketchy on. And I just wasn’t if my sister hadn’t approached me, I would have never done it. And I think it’s okay to risk something. I mean, you don’t you don’t bet the farm and lose your house over everything. You need to make sure that there’s protections in place, but I think it’s okay to take chances because chances put you in different places that you never in a million years thought you would be I 2011 use of you, you’re going to be a guest on Katie’s podcast. I know, that’s crazy talk. So just, you know, having opportunities and meeting people and the journey that I’ve taken and the opportunities that I’ve had, and the interactions with the people that I’ve met along the way have been absolutely worth every risk taken. And I just think it’s, you know, it’s a privilege, especially here, you know, in this day and age, when we have so many things going wrong in our country, we have to celebrate the cool things that we have, especially as women the opportunities that we have. And I love that aspect of the opportunity here.
Katie Brinkley 17:29
One more question here. I wanted to know, what do you see the future of live chat and messenger bots being like you said, in 2011, people weren’t asking, Are you a bot like they are now what do you kind of see evolving with the live chat and options?
Beth Bogan 17:46
I think it’s gonna be similar to websites back in the beginning, not everybody had websites, and then everybody did have websites. And now if your business doesn’t have a website, you’re kind of not a legitimate business, I really think it’s the same thing, you got to have an email, you got to have a phone, you got to have a website, I think pretty soon chat is going to be that way, whether or not you do it with a bot or you do it personally, or you hire a third party to do it for you. At some point, everybody is going to want to be able to chat because it is definitely growing in preferred communication forums. And the response time is better across the board than email. So you’re much more likely to get a quick response from a chat than an email. And that’s regardless of the industry.
Katie Brinkley 18:24
Absolutely. And I think that that’s a great point. Because I know for me, I’ll go through a chat or a bot system as opposed to having to pick up the phone because I can do the live chat or the messenger bot are the questions while I’m multitasking and doing something else. Whereas if I pick up the phone, it’s a lot harder to do that multitasking and still be working on something and going back and forth. So I definitely agree with what you’re saying with the live chat being kind of what the norm is going to be.
Beth Bogan 18:55
Now we’ve been kind of conditioned and trained to do many things at once know what good, bad or otherwise, that’s how we are. And so I really think that’s only going to keep continuing to grow.
Katie Brinkley 19:05
Well that this has been such a great conversation, where can we find out more about you and your business online,
Beth Bogan 19:11
they are welcome to go to our website, it’s ace chat, service.com, ac, E, CH a T service calm. And from there, we’ve got our phone, you can chat with us online. And you can also email us we have all the ways to connect. So we’d be happy to speak with anybody who’s interested in learning more about their options.
Katie Brinkley 19:30
Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for coming on the show today.
Beth Bogan 19:33
Katie Brinkley 19:35
And if you’re ready to take your social media to the next level for your small business, head over to my website and check out my free video training the three biggest mistakes small businesses make with social media and how to avoid them. Discover how to make your social media marketing stand out from the crowd online. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com or connect with me on LinkedIn just look for Katie Brinkley let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights