Q&A with Simon Hunt with Modern Insurance Magazine

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Hi Simon! A huge welcome to Modern Insurance Magazine’s Editorial Board! Why don't we start by talking about what you’re up to over at National Windscreens, and how are you responding to the supply chain challenges across the sector?

Hello, and thank you for having me! At National Windscreens, we are focusing on our four pillars: a seamless customer experience, investing in infrastructure, our environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy, and the continuous learning & development of the people across the business. These pillars guide our focus daily and provide a path to keep improving our service across the UK.

When it comes to external factors, supply chains are certainly a challenge for the entire automotive industry. Fortunately for National Windscreens, we have access to a global supply chain which allows us to switch between suppliers, giving us more flexibility than ever before.

The challenges of the last few years have served to fortify our supply chains and logistics. We are in an excellent position due to the planning and communication that took place after the Brexit vote. This allowed us to strengthen our supply options and continue to grow our already substantial stockholding across the U.K.

We also increased the number of distribution centres across the UK to give greater local access to a wide range of glass. Alongside our investment in a wider stockholding, we have developed our infrastructure with a focus on route optimisation. These changes have had a positive effect on the efficiency of the business by reducing the distance the glass travels and the time to serve. This means fewer journeys across less distance and brings huge environmental benefits.

I know that long term sustainability is a priority for National Windscreens. Tell me more about these initiatives, and the methods of implementation across the business.

Sustainability is embedded into every part of the business, and I am immensely proud of our achievements. I’m delighted to say that we will be releasing our sustainability report in Q2 of this year. We baselined parts of our business in 2021 and set targets for improvement.

The report will present our drive to meet near-term targets and required actions moving forward. The results are being independently measured and validated and will serve as our tangible commitment to environmental progress. The report will be our opportunity to show progress and baseline the whole business.

I recently appointed Craig Gibson as our ESG manager. Craig has worked with us for twenty years and possesses a phenomenal knowledge of the industry. Our research into alternative fuel is a very exciting part of our ESG plan. We are conducting a hydrogen trial as part of government initiative later this year, which should be fascinating. Innovating is part of our culture, and we are passionate about reducing our environmental impact.

We work closely with our suppliers to understand the overall impact through all stages of the supply chain. We were the first in the industry to compile the impact through Scopes 1-3, and this transparency has helped to inform our partners of the environmental affect throughout our service delivery. A sustainable and resilient supply chain is our end-goal, and we take great pride in our role as a trusted partner by delivering results to our insurance customers.

Nat Win Leic 4

What benefits and challenges have you found in providing coverage across the UK and globally?

Our UK fitting and distribution centre portfolio is strongly positioned due to the investment in our operational and procurement infrastructure. We are now focused on upgrading our existing network to make sure the number of bays and facilities are optimised for latest vehicle technology advancements.

As a founding member of Automotive Glass Experts, we are part of a genuinely global network. The benefits of having such fantastic reach are that we can collaborate with the other members to share best practices in sustainability, purchasing and stockholding. Our long-term relationships with distributors and suppliers give National Windscreens an advantage with access to glass in high demand.

We are leveraging the knowledge of the Cary Group, the major member representative of National Windscreens. For example, we are seeing what lessons can be learned from achieving repair rates of 40% in the Nordic regions. Whilst we are proud of our NPS score, we can certainly learn from the Nordic countries who regularly achieve exceptional scores in the 80s.

The synergies available through our networks bring fantastic opportunities to learn and share our expertise to innovate and provide exceptional service for our insurance partners.

How are you nurturing your relationships and partnerships with insurers to maintain sole supplier status and competitive edge within the industry?

We focus on what matters to our partners. Being as flexible as possible is the secret to our success and we find that providing a personal touch goes a long way. Our team works with insurance partners to deeply understand the customer journey and resolve any issues that could occur ahead of time. It is this constant research by the digital team and communication with the insurers that developed our digital journey into a market-leading one.

Winning ‘Outstanding Customer Journey’ at the recent Insurance CX awards was one example of the success of in-depth customer feedback programmes has into development of the policyholder experience. The use of artificial intelligence in the booking process and showing individual vehicle images for glass damage selection were key parts of the digital development.

Everything is designed to make the process simpler for policyholders. By providing detailed and accurate information initially, we can ensure the decisions on glass type selection and damage assessment are right first time. Providing technician tracking and online booking management are also important factors in ensuring the policyholder has the best possible online experience.

Windscreen technician

Tell me more about consumer duty and your emphasis on being a customer-first business. How do these principles add value to your service offering?

Everything we do is based on generating a first-class customer experience. We achieve this by consistently providing an efficient and personable service. The customer must come first and the experience with our technicians or our contact centre.

The NPS scores are testament to our customer-first principles. The omnichannel approach gives policyholders the type of communication that suits them, a seamless journey no matter which channel they chose to use to contact us, or indeed switch between as their journey progresses.

Trustpilot offers a great opportunity for direct feedback from our customers. On average we respond within two hours to over 99% of reviews. On the rare occasion where our service has not met expectations, our customer relations team will contact the customer to establish the situation and address any issues. Trustpilot brings insights that enable us to pinpoint any gaps in our service, which gives us the chance to address the issues through training, process improvement or changes to our infrastructure.

Listening to our customers is critical to maintaining and improving our services. We have aligned all aspects of the business to be integrated into our customer feedback loop. This has proven to be a fantastic investment and we are now reaping the benefits. The bottom line is that we build relationships with partners based on creating quality, sustainable solutions that bring a strategic benefit and cost-effective solution for our partners and policyholders.

You can read the original article in Modern Insurance Magazine here.