Emphasis on keeping in touch

News: Outsourcing

October 09, 2013

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In a business arena as dynamic – and as tech-dependent – as the customer contact space, organisations that don’t have their metaphorical fingers on the pulse and that aren’t able to evolve with their clients’ customers are doomed.

Outsource magazine talks to today’s leading providers to see how they’re keep on top of their games – here,we feature the comments of our very own Joanna Swash, Commercial Director at Moneypenny. View the full article here.

Where does the impetus come from for the greater utilisation of new technology: within your own organisation, from the client, or a real mixture of both?

Genuinely, a bit of both. The launch of our latest product, Penelope, was based on the realisation that there are more than 3.6 million micro businesses in the UK potentially struggling to stay in control of their calls. We knew from our own research that large numbers of small businesses, for example sole traders, needed support but felt they couldn’t afford a good quality receptionist or answering service.

85% of business callers know the names of the people they wanted to speak to so Penelope uses voice recognition to listen to the caller request, matches it against the employees available, and directs the call to the correct person with some covert human back up which the callers are unaware of.

Our clients are increasingly using the technology available to them via the Moneypenny app that helps them keep track of their calls and update their Receptionist on the move as well as the reporting tool ‘Moneypenny Online’, both of which were introduced to add value and improve the overall level of customer service we deliver.

One of the practical issues, particularly with our larger clients is the importing of often large and multi-site employee lists into our system. Our ability to import these CSV files developed from the early days when we would type them in manually and we have also now generated bespoke technology that performs the tasks our clients’ telephony equipment doesn’t to allow them to divert more easily, so we are always evolving. We have to.

How do you build a strong team ethic within your own organisation to counter the challenge of attrition?

In an industry where a 35 per cent staff attrition rate per year is considered the norm we consistently experience less than two per cent annual loss with staff usually only leaving for natural reasons such as a career or life change or physically moving away.  As our PAs work in small teams we foster a strong sense of responsibility, decision-making and ownership. We also communicate well amongst ourselves and have regular company meetings.

We realise the job can be repetitive and demanding so when we can we have lots of fun together too. We believe in a strong culture of reward and recognition – for example, colourful flowers can be seen strewn around our offices. This isn’t just for decorative purposes: each flower has a nominal value of £10, given as a token of appreciation to teams for various achievements or just the nice little things they do.

Teams collect them then cash them in to fund a team-based activity – perhaps a spa treatment, a night out, whatever they fancy. In a similar vein ‘Mojo’ certificates and monetary rewards are presented to individuals or teams for going over and above, which all adds to the feeling of teamwork. The culture we create within our own business is critical for the service we deliver and for the third year in 2013, we have been proud to be recognised in The Sunday Times ‘Top 100 Companies to Work For’.

We are fortunate to have the luxury of being able to handpick our PAs as we receive over 1,000 unsolicited approaches every year and never advertise. We actively encourage our staff to recommend good people to us and as a result we have many familial relationships which maintains the feel of the organisation from the early days when we were established by a brother and sister.