Interview with Joanna Swash, Group CEO at Moneypenny

Moneypenny is the leading and most trusted partner to large and small businesses providing call answering, live chat and digital communication channels. We work with a huge variety of companies from sole traders to multinationals and from large financial organisations, real estate, and legal firms for example to tradesmen, hairdressers, dentists and healthcare.

With offices in the UK and US, we operate as an extension of our customers, allowing them to do what they do best and leaving us to do what we do best. That means establishing meaningful relationships from the outset which means that we understand that every business is unique, whatever their size or the size of their contract with us, and each of our customers has a unique set of needs and requirements. Ultimately, we feel that their business is our business; we are their second home.

Our brilliant people are superpowered by leading edge tech solutions to deliver seamless customer engagement outcome.
Bosch Car Service Network appoints Moneypenny for customer interaction |  Digital Marketing

How did the idea for the company come about?

Moneypenny came about after one of our founders, Ed Reeves had a bad experience losing a huge new business contract because his fax machine (remember them?) ran out of paper whilst he was on holiday. That was the moment when he felt that there was a better way that businesses could be run. He set about selling the concept to his sister, Rachel Clacher, and Moneypenny was founded in 2000.

With successful careers behind them both, they spent time learning from that experience and the lessons learned and built Moneypenny on the principle of extraordinary people and market-leading technology, seamlessly working together to provide a valued resource to our clients. Their vision was to create a company where they themselves would want to work.

From the very start, culture has been at the heart of everything we do, and we have spent a lot of time on creating the right culture of trust, from hiring the right people to giving them the opportunity to shine. Our customers trust us to handle their calls and chats brilliantly and we trust our teams to deliver this. And this, in turn leads to extraordinary things – whether that is listening to our clients’ ever-changing needs and working together to realize solutions to light-bulb moments which lead to introducing new tech for our systems.

Our purpose is to add value to businesses big and small, by providing the perfect blend of people and technology-based communications solutions. We passionately believe in supercharging people and businesses to be the best that they can be.


What advice would you give to other aspiring entrepreneurs?

Surround yourself with brilliant people.

Great people are everything. Delegate the tasks that you can’t do well  (or don’t enjoy) to people who are fantastic in their respective fields. It’s the oldest lesson in the book, but the first one that people get wrong.  It Is amazing the impact that hiring the right – or wrong – person will have on your company. As an entrepreneur you can create the most inspiring company in the world but if your team doesn’t share those values that ethos will soon disappear.

Talent spotting is a skill in its own right and is something that every entrepreneur should seek to develop. Hire people who share the same values. Instead of focusing solely on aptitude, look at attitude, people who have a can-do glass half-full approach and who will match your culture. Ask what attributes are important to you and to your business.

Then, once you have the right person empower them to be the best that they can be. Give them freedom. Trust them. If you empower people to be able to make mistakes, be brave and put aside anything that holds them back you are creating the perfect environment for them to come up with powerful ideas that could change the way you do business better. People naturally want to be empowered so give them the environment to prove it to you. It is about responsibility, trust, listening, purpose and self-improvement and it can create a more connected culture.

Surrounding yourself with brilliant people will be the key to your success.
 Communicate clearly.

Many of the best businesses fail due to poor messaging and delivery so it is crucial to get this right. Can you sum your business up in a few seconds? Can you succinctly explain its purpose? Your business needs to be describable in one short, but sweet, sentence. This really is a must before you go any further. That’s not to say you should write off an entire idea if you can’t achieve it on your first attempt – think about whether there’s another way you can describe what you want to do? Nine times out of 10 there is.

This goes for your people and customers too. The art of communication is one of those topics that tops the thought piece top ten but it, and its component parts are crucial. Think of the definition. Communication is giving, receiving or exchanging ideas, information, signals or messages to enable individuals or groups to seek information, give information or to express emotions.

So, listening is just as important, if not more so, than speaking. This applies to your people but also to your customers. Ask yourself, how can you provide the valued resource to assist them?

This makes them one of your greatest assets, so treasure them and use them regularly.  It’s amazing what you can learn when you listen.
Challenge the norm.

When (and this is inevitable) you’re told that you can’t do something, challenge it. And then challenge it again. You can’t innovate without breaking a mould or two. Don’t accept no for an answer and you’ll invariably find that the word ‘can’t’ leads to an opportunity. Each objection that you overcome is a giant leap forward; and it’s those leaps that will define your business. There’s a reason that in the face of the current global crisis, those with the entrepreneurial spirit are flourishing whilst the rest of the business world remains somewhat stunned. Don’t be constrained by what you have always done. Get creative. Sometimes rule books were made for ripping up.
Work in conjunction with technology.

People will always be your biggest asset, but technology can help them become even better at what they do, giving you that all important business advantage. The global pandemic has forced organisations to adopt new technologies, enhancing efficiency and user experience and this will only be enhanced further as future innovations are introduced. Don’t fight it but don’t fear it either.

See these advances as complementary to your brilliant people, supercharging them to be the best that they can be for themselves and for your business.

What can we hope to see from Moneypenny in the future?

Our people and our tech are at the heart of what we do, and we are always innovating and responding to business and client needs and one thing that we are really focusing on at the moment is Artificial Intelligence.

This year has seen huge progress in the field, and it will impact how we communicate in the future. Our Chief Technology Officer, Pete Hanlon, and his team of experts, had already identified this as a key focus for us and our industry, and they are working in partnership to embrace the opportunities it will bring.

Communication will always be a business-critical tool in order for businesses to thrive, but how we will communicate in the future is evolving. The current global pandemic has supercharged changes that were already in motion, and we must all implement and embrace new technologies in order to ensure our human connections. In doing so we are further bridging the gap between how we communicate and what a computer understands. We are actively leveraging, monitoring and testing new language processing models to analyze, summarize and advance our live chat and digital switchboard offerings and using AI and cutting edge tech to help our PA’s be even faster and provide an awesome service for our clients

We are also tracking progress in speech detection and will be further embracing these advances, making the interaction between automation and human processes seamless.

We strongly believe that tech superpowers our people and focus on places whereby the caller and customer experience is enhanced through technology and not reduced. Our aim is to make the hand-off between automation journeys and human seamless whilst empowering our PA’s and receptionists to do a better job for our customers by having more information at their fingers tips.