Inside the company that helps Irish SMEs save thousands on reception

Kendlebell | AIBF
Pictured above is Tom Shanahan, Owner of two-time Business All-Star Accredited company, Kendlebell.

Kendlebell is a market-leading Irish based personal phone answering and virtual reception service with a rapidly expanding customer base.

Since its foundation in 2006, the company has grown to more than forty staff who service a thousand customers from four offices around the country.

We caught up with founder and CEO Tom Shanahan who let us look under the hood of his brilliant company and shared with us his formula for growth and success.

Hi Tom, tell us about Kendlebell – how do you help your clients and customers?

If you’re a small business and can’t afford to hire a receptionist, we will take your calls and messages and we’ll get them to you by email or text.

We also offer a virtual receptionist service where we take your calls and patch them directly through to your phone instead of sending you a message.

The beauty of our service is that your caller will never know that you have outsourced your reception.

We also operate a full diary management service alongside our core offerings that has become very popular with businesses that have online diaries.

Do you have any outbound services?

We have become specialists in doing telephone surveys.

Our clients are typically research companies as well as other large organisations that use Kendlebell as a cost-effective partner on projects.

The other services we provide are telemarketing support, business address services as well as a database cleansing service where we update all the information on our customers’ databases which allows them to run their businesses much more efficiently. We also act as a reseller for In2tel which means that we can provide our customers with Irish and UK telephone numbers.

What do you put your success down to?

We have been successful because our core services meet the challenging needs of our customers – especially with a hybrid work model

We facilitate businesses who want to save money on their necessary but labour intensive call answering functions so that they can focus funds on growing their business through marketing and sales.

Our service is much cheaper than hiring in staff, and our service runs all year round so businesses aren’t burdened with finding holiday cover for receptionists, (we provide that service too).

In summary, we operate a very cost-effective service, and we maintain a very high level of customer care.

When you combine all these elements it makes for a good formula for attracting and retaining customers.

What kind of businesses do you help?

Our market is small to medium-sized businesses typically with an owner and up to 20 employees that are growing and busy.

They want an efficient, effective service at a cost-effective price.

Pictured above is Tom Shanahan, Owner of two-time Business All-Star Accredited company, Kendlebell.

What sets you apart from the competition?

We pride ourselves on providing a highly personalised service.

When you’re hiring us, you’re not hiring a call centre. It’s personal!

We describe our agents as Personal Assistants because that’s what they are – our customers get to know them very well and they work alongside each other very symbiotically.

Our customers value that personalised service and I believe that is a major reason why we have been so successful.

What are the biggest challenges are you facing as you continue to grow?

We’ve been through a couple of recessions, and we have come through last year’s Covid trauma quite successfully having managed to retain our customer base.

We’re actually growing at a faster rate than ever before Covid, and that has led to a need for more staff – finding them has become our biggest challenge.

We are not unique in that challenge, and I think staffing is the biggest challenge that Irish businesses are collectively facing today.

You’ve achieved huge growth in recent years, what advice would you give to entrepreneurs looking to emulate your success?

First of all, you’ve got to get your core offering right and establish whether or not your service is required.

Then you’ve got to know what your target market is, and research is key here in finding out whether your service offerings are attractive to certain types of industry and certain types of business.

It’s important to remember that this won’t happen for you straight away and a lot of it is trial and error at the beginning.

We get a lot of our business through our website so we have invested a lot of time and money into getting our SEO dialled in as well as our Google AdWords – I would encourage my fellow entrepreneurs to do the important groundwork because it brings results.

You are a twice Accredited Business All-Star Company, how has this helped your business?

The All-Star has added to our credibility in the market and the fact that we have been accredited for two years in a row is a huge achievement.

It’s a wonderful recognition of the hard work that Kendlebell staff put into the business, and it lets our customers know that we are true market leaders and that we operate a service that they can trust.

That has been invaluable.

To learn more about Kendlebell, visit their All-Star showcase page here.