Customers phoning a company hate listening to a recorded message instead of an actual person. Christopher James founded The Message Pad in 1994 to develop software and offer telephone answering services to companies whose switchboards were overloaded or unattended. These range from one-man businesses to multinationals such as Total Fina and Michelin. Sales have grown 67% a year from £1.5m in 1999 to £4.1m in 2001, helped partly by the acquisition of a rival, Message Plus, for £1.9m in February 2001.
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