Carpenters Group Celebrate 25th Anniversary
09 August 2019
What has enabled the business to reach this milestone and have continued success?
Many factors have brought us to where we are today and our 25th anniversary, but on reflection, I’d probably focus on two that have been very important. The first has been to always focus on providing a quality personal service. That has been and remains at the core of the company’s ethos. The second has been to constantly reinvest in the business. Donna was determined that we should invest in IT from a very early stage and that has paid off dramatically. She was keen from the outset that we should write and develop our own system and train our staff on how to use it. This has enabled us to invest in a quality system that has enabled us to deliver a bespoke, flexible and innovative service. Investment does not just mean IT, however. Good staff are vital to the success of any organisation and we have a superb team behind us, some who have been with us for nearly the whole 25 years. Donna and I are different in many ways and that has undoubtedly contributed to our success, but we are completely aligned when it comes to our ethos, values and the importance of our reputation. We’ve always had a long-term plan based on sustainable growth and diversification and built the business for growth, scale and to accommodate innovation. We fully recognise though that past success is no guarantee for the future. We’re far from complacent and are always striving to achieve and do more.
John Carpenter, Chairman
What role has your business strategy had in getting you to this point?
Arriving at Carpenters some 22 years ago having spent some time in some big London firms, I saw how things could be improved and how they could go wrong. It was clear to me just how important IT was, not just by buying it off-the-shelf but by really investing in our systems and training staff how to use it properly. I suppose I always had big plans to grow the business, extend the range of services and do things just a bit differently. I said to John from the outset that I was not prepared to compromise on our ethos, quality and customer services just to make more money. It had to be a long-term plan, not a short-term opportunity to make a quick buck at the cost of our reputation. I shall always be grateful that John has fully supported me, and we remain firmly of the same view on our basic principles.
Having left school early and studied law part-time as an adult, I’ve also been keen to give staff a chance to progress to the best of their abilities, through both the business and gaining qualifications whilst working for us. We introduced flexible working very early in the business and this has massively contributed to the 50/50 gender balance at all levels in the business. There is always more to be done to encourage diversity in all areas, but I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved so far. We could not have achieved all that we have without our brilliant staff and gifted Executive Team.
Donna Scully, Director
What have been some of the biggest changes and/or opportunities in the industry that you have witnessed while at Carpenters Group?
The industry as a whole has had to learn to adapt to the ever-increasing rate of change in technology. New tech provides new threat vectors for cybercriminals. There has been a quantum shift in the approach to protection, monitoring and response. You cannot get away with taking your eye off the ball; you need a constant focus and deliver layers of protection in addition to educating staff to what good and bad looks like. We have to have a holistic approach to pretty much everything we do these days, giving consideration to every aspect of the introduction of new solutions across local and cloud services.
Customer demographics are changing. Millennials have a different way of viewing the world, they communicate in different ways. This puts pressure on businesses to deliver to that always-connected generation. The use of social media as a way of communicating is on the rise and is constantly evolving. A move away from traditional telephone communications is coming and telephone systems need to be fully software enabled to allow for this shift and to ensure that the way customers can communicate can be catered for, from Instant Messaging to Twitter and beyond.
Karen Campbell, Chief Information Officer
Would you say your approach to business has altered or adapted during your time at Carpenters Group?
I am in my 19th year at Carpenters. Over that period, the size of the business has changed, but the nature of the business has not. John made it clear from the outset that our absolute priority, in everything we do and in every service that we provide, is quality of service. Our management team share that focus. We have appointed from within and recruited externally (often from insurers) a strong and diverse team that appreciates the importance of delivering the highest level of customer experience.
The fundamentals of the business are unchanged. We maintain an ongoing dialogue with our insurer and broker clients to ensure that we fully understand their needs, and those of their customers, and then work with our partners to ensure those needs are met. This approach has underpinned the growth and success of the business, both in the legal and insurance sectors, and will be maintained as we face the latest set of industry reforms.
Alan Hayes, Chief Legal Officer
What are Carpenters Group’s plans for the rest of 2019 and beyond?
Carpenters Group has always been an agile and adaptive business, working in partnership with its insurer clients to deliver excellent customer service to their policyholders. It is our intention to continue to do this with expansion in the offerings of our suite of TPA services in not only the motor market but entering the home insurance market too, exciting times!
As a business, we have always adapted to the changes faced and come out stronger. This is due to the combination of a diverse, able team supported by our own technology platform and continued investment. The combination of the right people with the right tools allows us to consistently grow and develop as a business and we intend to continue to do so. We have the benefit of scale that provides us with the ability to deliver on our promise.
With challenge, comes opportunity. At Carpenters, we drive our strategy by taking these opportunities, listening to and working collaboratively with our insurer clients, keeping the needs of their policyholder’s priority in our minds. Removing friction for all in the process can only increase efficiency and customer satisfaction; this has to be of benefit to all. The modern consumer expects omni channel service, 2019 and beyond will see us expand this across all of our service lines.
Donna Richards, CEO