TELEPHONE answering specialist Moneypenny is celebrating three years of handling `night-time’ calls, the majority legal, from the other side of the world.
In 2012, the company took the unusual decision to open an office in New Zealand to meet the increasing demand at the time for a 24/7 telephone answering service – driven by the needs of the legal sector.
Moneypenny Receptionists fly 13,000 miles to follow the sun, answering overnight calls, bright and breezy during daytime hours in Takapuna, Auckland, on a rotating six month secondment basis.
As two more receptionists prepare to make the journey, Bernadette Bennett, Legal Commercial Manager at Moneypenny explains how it all started: “Some of our law firm clients had been asking us for a while to take calls for them around the clock, particularly those operating internationally. We had considered keeping our UK office open through the night but were concerned about the effect night working could have on the health and wellbeing of our staff. We also needed to be confident that the quality of our call handling would be maintained, whatever the time of day or night, and felt night shifts presented too much of a risk.
“When we first began discussing the subject, only four people expressed an interest in working nights, but when our co-founder Rachel Clacher came up with the idea to flip time zones, having spent time in Australia in 2010, suddenly we had 40 volunteers!”
From a start base of just a handful of 24/7clients in autumn 2012, Moneypenny has seen numbers rise every month since. During 2013 the company made international headlines when news channels picked up on the unusual story, attracting the attention of Britain’s High Commissioner to New Zealand who made an official visit to the Takapuna office.
A quarter of the company’s legal clients now use the service, with the sector accounting for around 60% of all `overnight’ calls. Of these, 72% are taken between 6pm and 9pm, 14% 9pm to midnight, 4% midnight to 4am and 10% between 4am and 8am.
Bernadette continues: “To date, 12 UK employees have worked out in New Zealand. It’s a great opportunity and for our clients and their callers, the service is seamless, as when we flick the switch over at 8pm, the systems and technology work just as they do in the UK.”
Legal receptionist and team manager, Christine Lawn, who has worked at Moneypenny for nine years, is heading over to New Zealand next month. She is looking forward to the experience: “I can’t wait,” she says. “I want to make the most of every spare second especially as we work four days on, four days off so we can travel. I have a ridiculously long `to do’ list. Cathedral Cove and the Waitakere Ranges are just a few of the places I plan to visit, along with Australia and Fiji.”
Next on Moneypenny’s own `to do’ list in New Zealand is looking for a larger office as client numbers and call volumes continue to rise.