ITS4ME DELIGHTED TO FIND THAT IT'S FOR CUSTOMERS AND STAFF
When it comes to the road to success, Norwich-based online insurance company its4me knows exactly where it is going.
Since the acquisition of its4me by the Swinton Group, there has been rapid growth and more jobs over the last year which is proof of the pudding. And the company is still recruiting while many other businesses face stagnation – or worse.
Being one of the online brands of Swinton Internet Division (SID) has brought many advantages and widened the opportunities for the team. Swinton brings with it a network of 470 branches that generate business for the company.
Ashley Wilson, who became Head of Swinton Internet Division a year ago, is thrilled by the progress ever since. He even led a layout redesign in the three-storey Norwich centre at Rosary Road to create space to cope with the extra growth.
But it is a change of approach which has prompted that newfound development. The webbased its4me is now benefiting from the complementary advantages of a branch network and telephone links. It has boosted its4me’s reputation nationally.
In fact staff at SID in Norwich are now contacted by a quarter of online customers by phone and this has helped generate thousands of new motor insurance policies each month. “Previously, we offered purely an internet interaction with customers,” said Ashley. “Now there is also a strong link through telephone calls. We phone clients who contact us by email and we also found that many customers appreciate that additional support. It has led to growth in the last few months and means that all our work can be subject to quality reviews through recorded phone calls.”
The growth has been good news for employees as well. This has led to new inbound and outbound Call Centre roles and expansion continues with further recruitment plans for the remainder of the year.
Ashley is a great enthusiast of staff incentives. “They bring results,” he said. “We’re sending ten of our top performers to Barcelona soon – but not just that, we’ve prepared for it with a session of Spanish cuisine cooked on the roof of our Norwich building!”
There is an extensive training system for staff and the company has seen the benefit of successful follow-up courtesy calls.
Employees have enjoyed the closer contact they now have with customers, a factor which helps attract the extra staff they are still looking to recruit.
“The biggest challenge is finding the right staff for the right times. Our busiest time tends to be in the evening and we are using part-time staff, many of them likely to be students or mums returning to work,” said Ashley.
It’s an approach that is working.
“It’s the first job I’ve had which is fun and friendly and really fulfilling because you are chatting directly with customers,” said student and employee, Stephen Fiendly. “It’s a chance to develop communication skills, learn about the industry, use your initiative and to be in daily contact with the outside world.”
Swinton now looks after all the its4me facilities from its Manchester HQ but the closeness of the link is highlighted by the fact that the section is led by Jackie Ordish, previously Norwich based and a former director at Norwich Union.