This article has been written by Commerical Director, Dan Chesney as S&G Response celebrate their 10th year in Business. The article focuses on synergies, solutions provision and customer centricity. As anyone who knows S&G Response or has met with us over the last few years will know that these are three topics that we have specifically defined and integrated into our service solutions.
We built the business on pillars of values and a culture that we treasure as one of our most precious assets. These key attributes, coupled with our beliefs of delivering tangible solutions above and beyond the normal commoditised services offered to the customer (who is placed front and centre of every decision made), and is one of the key drivers for the transformational growth over the last ten years.
This has given us real clarity to the journey which has been undertaken and the changes in all of the environments in which we operate, the customer base and their needs, and the tools and vehicles available to deliver a service which can be transformational to any partner. There have been many changes within the business over the last 10 years and many highs, but as the business continues to evolve and transform it’s obvious that the future will be shaped through synergistic relationships with partners where we deliver real and genuine value by being a part of their own core strategy and not simply a service provider.
Looking back over the last 10 years, the claims journey experienced was delivered in a way that would be almost alien to some of our claims handlers in the office today. Previously, postal communications and telephony would have been the staple delivery methods throughout any claim, nowadays, FNOL solutions supported through artificial intelligence and electronic triage start a process of rectification delivered through a digital journey of apps, system integrations and instant fulfilment.
In any business, a happy customer is important; in a market where price is sensitive, the product is perceived as commoditised and is purchased out of necessity rather than desire – a happy customer is truly priceless. We have developed and built all of our customer facing solutions to be focused on what really matters to the customer in that moment, and through empathy and understanding of their needs, deliver a service which exceeds their expectations and is communicated though the most appropriate channels at intervals which they choose.
If a customer wants to be communicated throughout their claim by text message, then they will never receive a phone call from us; but if they would prefer to speak with us then they will receive a call from their personal claims handler to keep them updated. And if the preferred method of communication is via an app, then we have enough data to ensure that they know exactly the current position of their claim 24 hours a day.
The customer profile has fundamentally shifted over the last 10 years, their needs and desires are completely different and their expectations of service delivery too are now vast and immensely varied. This expectation and desire is then interpreted by our partners to whom we support and deliver repair and mobility solutions to and it’s at this point where the synergistic approach of delivering a cohesive service excels. 10 years ago outsourcing parts of a business to a third party was to achieve a tangible need and very little else. In 2019, outsourcing is core aspect of many organisations as all parties can specialise in delivering the very best total service experience to the customer, but it is now the way in which this is delivered which has changed the description of an outsourced partner.
In 2009 when S&G Response was established, employees joined the team in order to achieve a common goal. Highly valued as individuals, the teams were recruited to help deliver resolution to a claim in the quickest and most convenient way possible. However, as natural attrition and a diversified team grew, the business was winning new work that required further specialisms and a wider skills base in order to deliver what the customer needed.
Fast forwarding to today, the business is now supported by a strong set of apprentices who adapt to the culture and the ethos of the business and then given the opportunity to grow and develop under the stewardship of a team of leaders who truly care for them as individuals. We have integrated online learning platforms to enable anyone in the business to deepen and broaden their skills set and understanding of the business and the importance of customer centricity and have undertaken a wide range of external qualifications to support individuals with more specific development needs. We have supported external partners such as Autoraise in order to support our network of suppliers whom themselves have immediate needs for skills.
As a true partner, we have stepped closer to our customers to help them to deliver and realise their own goals, aims and objectives; delivering a wider range of services that are not only core to their customer provision but essentially complimentary.
For example, in 2014 we partnered with FixAuto UK to deploy customers into their repair network, receiving mainly paper based instructions and relying heavily on the telephone to get updates and share progress. Whilst successful, delivering a specific solution limited the capabilities of the combined businesses to create a much stronger proposition and competence.
5 years later we are now fully integrated and deploying thousands of repair jobs a month into a vast network utilising electronic triage to mobile repair, fixed site bodyshop or salvage coupled with automated repair and hire management; excelling in customer service and service provision by taking the heavy lifting out of our Principals – ultimately helping the customer to get back to their pre accident position in the most efficient and convenient manner as possible.
This approach to strategic partnering and focusing solely on the customer journey was achieved by both partners committing to challenging the industry norm, and to create a greater proposition which not only differentiated the services delivered but excelled. Our teams work hard together to understand both the operational and commercial requirements of the principal customer, creating solutions which reduce the period of time a customer will be without their vehicle and in mobility.
The next 10 years…
Who knows really what the next 10 years will have in store? We have built our business to be agile because we recognise that one size does only not fit all but it can really annoy a lot of customers if they are forced into a process that doesn’t suit their needs.
We have spent ten years building the foundations of S&G Response to make it resilient to any challenges it may face and scalable to adapt to any opportunity presented as we know that the innovation of commoditised services creates tangible value to all stakeholders and differentiates the customer experience. Investments in every area of the business from IT to HR, leadership development to software development and the delivery of empathy and emotional intelligence ensure that we have built a solid foundation to be both nimble and able to deliver on customers’ expectations.
The next ten years will see a number of significant environmental factors affecting the insurance and motor market, from the impact of the forthcoming Civil Liability Act to the potential shortage of genuine motor vehicle parts. The customer will become increasingly empowered and knowledgeable, vehicles will become more costly to repair and the need for skills to deliver a professional claims solution will continue to evolve to the new generation. We already recognise a potential skills shortage in the future for vehicle repairers and the capacity issues which we are facing – regardless of the improvements in technology and driver aids, accidents will happen, it’s how the customer is treated and their experience of their claims journey which will denote if they remain