The chances are most people have spoken to a Moneypenny PA without even realizing it, as the company manages more than 20 million calls, chats, text messages, and emails for more than 21,000 clients annually. The company was founded in the year 2000 by brother and sister Ed Reeves and Rachel Clacher and has grown rapidly to employ more than 1000 people with a turnover of $62million. Joanna Swash was recruited as Moneypenny’s first sales person 15 years ago and has been a driving force behind that growth, and today she is the group CEO.
Joanna has been a key part of the leadership team and most recently has led the exciting advances in Moneypenny’s tech and AI services. She has also driven the company’s commercial entry into the US market which is growing rapidly. The Moneypenny family includes Voice Nation and Ninja Number, based in Georgia, Atlanta, and it has offices in Charleston, South Carolina and a head office in the UK.
Having dealt personally with thousands of larger businesses who have moved to Moneypenny’s outsourced communications support, Joanna has a unique ‘no-nonsense’ business style and is passionate about ensuring businesses ‘stick to what they are really good at’.
Joanna has a wealth of experience working with companies of all shapes and sizes and from wide-ranging sectors, from large corporates to SMEs including plumbers, hairdressers and law firms, with her primary goal of delivering excellent client experience and business efficiency.
The business problem that led to the creation of Moneypenny was a disastrous experience with a telephone answering company used while founder Ed Reeves was away windsurfing. The receptionist there told one of his clients that she couldn’t put paper in the fax machine as she was ‘only the answering service’! As a result he lost that client. That was the moment when he really felt that there was a better way that businesses could be run: offering small business a dedicated PA and receptionist who is briefed by the business to answer calls exactly as if based in the office. So, Moneypenny was born with just a $10k investment and is still the only US and UK answering service offering a dedicated receptionist as standard.
Joanna has been central to the development of Moneypenny’s customized suite of inbound call, live chat, digital switchboard and customer contact services that help businesses earn new customers and retain current clients. A prime example of Moneypenny’s value to its clients is seen in the service provided for international law firm Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, to capture calls around the clock. With clients based internationally and across different states in the US calling at different times, the company was finding it increasingly difficult to answer every call and their clients disliked leaving voicemails. Moneypenny therefore provide overflow call support, delivering the same exceptional service as the company’s house team. The law firm now benefits from Moneypenny’s 24-hour provision.
Until the recent Covid-19 crisis Moneypenny was firmly in ‘thrive’ mode, but like many companies it was forced into ‘survive’ mode and had to be creative, innovative and adaptable and Joanna led the charge. She says, ‘We traded through the 2008 downturn well and sustained growth through keeping a glass half full approach. During lockdown we’ve found that people are more open to new ideas, new ways of working and accepting change, so our aim has been to seize the opportunity and profit from it. We hadn’t considered that the whole Moneypenny business was capable of being run on a daily basis from various remote locations across the country, but it has, and now more than 1000 employees work from home and no one who calls would know.’
Joanna established a Fast Recovery team when lockdown began, to look at ways to help clients navigate the storm. A variety of initiatives were introduced such as a ‘holiday freeze’ for those small companies struggling, a free digital switchboard to help larger companies who needed to manage high call volumes but had no remote working tech on their corporate switchboard during the rapid transition to home working.
Joanna says, ‘Measures we put in place to manage the trend of dropping call volumes and reduced client dependency had a positive effect on what we offer: Website Live Chat and Digital Switchboard (a speech recognition system that replaces manned switchboards) have both become the fastest growing products for our business.’