News : Hodges Admits Caution in Manchester Call Centre Migration
Aug 28, 2014 -- Towergate chief executive Mark Hodges has admitted the broker is leaving some SME and personal lines business with local offices, rather than migrating accounts to its new Manchester call centre.
The office, which opens today, is handling select personal lines business and advised SME accounts with premiums of less than £5000.
Towergate first announced the creation of the Manchester hub in April, and has since embarked on pilots with its customers.
Hodges told Post that although the broker had received no negative feedback, it is nonetheless retaining some business locally, though he declined to specify exact proportions.
"We have had people going into every [Towergate] office, sitting down with the teams to work out which clients could be better served in this centre and better served locally," Hodges said.
"We have done that at over 100 offices at a very granular level, going client by client. I can't give you exact percentages, but we have erred on the side of caution.
"Wherever we felt that to move a client was not the right thing to do, or wherever the local offices felt that, we have left them."
Hodges added that some clients have already seen their account handling migrated to the new Manchester centre.
"I would like to think over time as this works, the regional offices will see the benefit and will want to transfer the business up here," he added.
For now there are no plans to extend the remit of the new call centre to include larger SME business or other accounts, Hodges said, with the broker focused on completing the build out of the operation.
"What we are focused on is finishing the job," he said.
When it first announced the new hub, Towergate said that 750 local branch roles would be affected by the changes.
Hodges said the broker is continuing to communicate "as quickly and as openly as we can" with affected staff, but added that a handful of staff had also relocated to Manchester.
"We have moved business from Stockport, which is not that far away physically, to Manchester, and I'm delighted to say that some of those staff have moved with it. From memory, I think it's about half a dozen," he said.
The Towergate boss added that 127 staff will be based in the new Manchester office from today, with a target of up to 400 set for the turn of the year.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Towergate Insurance was founded in 1997 and is Europe's largest independently owned insurance intermediary.
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