The Crunch: Businesses that outsource their customer service are taking a risk that could result in serious consequences. It was precisely such a negative experience that led Ed Reeves and his sister, Rachel Clacher, to develop Moneypenny — a personalized customer service center based in the UK and US. Moneypenny receptionists and personal assistants, who are hired for their great attitudes, handle customer service needs for clients large and small. Each client has a dedicated team of receptionists who can take overflow calls or act as primary contacts for a business. And Moneypenny uses the latest technology to provide a seamless experience, so callers have no reason to believe they’re not speaking to an in-house associate.
Imagine leaving your business in the hands of a call center while you take a well-deserved vacation, only to return to find that you’d lost your largest client as a result. That’s what happened to Ed Reeves, Co-Founder of Moneypenny, and that experience was the catalyst for creating a better customer service solution. He and Rachel Clacher, his sister, created Moneypenny to provide personalized, reliable, high-quality service for companies large and small.
When business owners hire a company to assist with work they can’t do in-house — or to keep customer service operations running while they’re away — it takes a high level of trust. It’s as if business owners were giving that company the keys to the office, believing it will handle customers with the same high-level of care they would themselves.
Businesses need flexible customer solutions to help them serve their clients — and win over new ones — by responding to and handling customer calls quickly and efficiently. Moneypenny has several service levels for clients and gives them the option of sending every call to its call center, or just letting it handle overflow calls when in-house staff is busy.
When a call goes to a person rather than voicemail, it enhances the business’s level of professionalism and customers aren’t given a reason to seek out a competitor. Moneypenny receptionists work in teams of four or five, and can handle calls during high-volume periods, lunch breaks, or when workers are absent so that no calls go unanswered during normal business hours.
Each client has a dedicated team of receptionists who handle calls and know the client’s business as well as in-house associates do. And Moneypenny believes in putting people first; the company provides its teams with clear expectations and then gives them the freedom to work.
“Our receptionists are empowered to take initiative and do the right thing,” said Joanna Swash, Managing Director at Moneypenny.
In addition to the call service, Moneypenny meets client needs by providing specialist teams to handle additional tasks such as updating social media accounts, replying to emails, and taking payments.
Dedicated Receptionists Handle Calls with Care and Confidence
Because Moneypenny puts so much trust in its employees, the company only hires the best of the best.
“We recruit for attitude,” said Joanna. “We received more than 3,000 résumés last year and can be very picky when it comes to choosing new hires.” Moneypenny looks for people who want to come to work every day with a smile on their face and do a brilliant job serving clients.
The company’s training program ensures that all employees have enough knowledge to ‘wow’ the customer, team, callers, and themselves. They learn how to look after customers and work on their behalf. “It’s all about learning how to put yourself in the other people’s shoes and thinking: ‘In this situation what is the appropriate action I should take?’” Joanna said.
Dan Keefe, the owner of Eagle Biosciences, said that staff shortages or handling customer calls during busy times caused headaches for his business, but taking a break from answering the phone would lead to more problems. Moneypenny put his entire company at ease.
“Since using Moneypenny, our customers are less frustrated, and it’s lowered daily stress levels. We are no longer running to answer the phones,” Dan said.
Clients cultivate relationships with dedicated teams. Over time, receptionists get to know clients, employees, and their businesses well. Many clients trust Moneypenny not only to make a great first impression but also to make judgment calls on their behalf. As a result of this high level of trust given to excellent people, receptionists and personal assistants aren’t beholden to scripts; they use their own instincts to take care of callers. They know what they can do, which problems they can solve, and which ones need to be referred back to business owners.
In-House Team Leverages Technology to Improve the Experience
Technology is another common thread between Moneypenny and its clients, as the company looks to make upgrades that align with the digital transformation many industries are seeing.
“We have the best technology so we can offer a better customer experience than our competitors,” Joanna said.
Moneypenny uses technology to keep receptionists and business clients on the same page, bringing up client data as soon as a call comes in. The company also helps clients manage the calls they send to Moneypenny. The company gives clients advanced options and flexibility to use services only when they need them.
For example, internal data shows that clients receive just 1.3% of their calls between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., but during that same time, they get 21% of their total chats.
“As a supplier, we need to be available when and how the consumer wants,” Joanna said. That is why Moneypenny is working to integrate voice recognition, artificial intelligence, and chatbot technology into its live chat services.
Moneypenny developers worked with IBM Watson and Nuance technology to create an automated digital switchboard to enhance customer service and eliminate both delays and inaccuracies. The company has also introduced an app for answering calls on a mobile device in the UK and is planning a US launch. The app allows staff to manage calls on the go, giving them more freedom and flexibility within their businesses.
Employees Help Shape Moneypenny, Leading to Greater Satisfaction
Moneypenny’s goal of having employees walk into work with a smile isn’t hard to achieve with an enormous gorilla statue right outside its headquarters. When people ask why it’s there, Joanna explained, “You just walked in smiling and that’s the whole point!”
When designing its new UK offices, Moneypenny held focus groups to find out what employees wanted most. The company feels it’s essential to create an environment where people want to work every day.
What they ended up with is “a quirky office full of great stuff that makes people smile,” said Joanna. Employees wanted a place to relax and hang out with colleagues so the Dog and Bone — a team-run pub which is open a few nights a week — was created.
Another request that staff had was to have fresh air and to have more windows. The new building was designed to let in natural light during daytime hours. “We want them to do a brilliant job for our clients, so we thought that if we gave them as much as they needed, they’d go and do their job well,” Joanna said.
As a result of the company taking care of its employees, it enjoys a solid reputation in the business community. In 2017 it was ranked as a top-five operation by Best Companies. And it’s not just the business community recognizing the success. In July 2017, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales officially opened the new Moneypenny headquarters in Wrexham, North Wales.
By spending time hiring quality people, training them well, and empowering them to do their best, Moneypenny ensures that all its clients and callers have a great experience with every interaction.