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As a result of the UK Government’s 2030 net-zero target along with people’s commitment to a cleaner environment, sales of high voltage vehicles, Hybrid (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) are increasing at an incredible rate.

2021 will see no less than 28 new BEV models alone.

Electric vehicle sales within the Fleet market are growing rapidly with over 1-in-4 ordered vehicles being pure electric (BEV). Benefit in kind (BIK) taxes are dramatically reduced and charging port anxiety is becoming a thing of the past due to the growth of nationwide charge points.

Retail sales are also growing as manufacturers are producing more affordable vehicles.

Here at National Accident Repair Group, we are committed to ensuring that our network of repairers can provide our clients with UK cover for these specialist vehicles. National already have 183 locations with either IMI, City & Guilds level 3, or Manufacturer qualifications for high voltage vehicle repairs, providing our clients with full UK postcode cover. To fulfil our EV commitment, National work with Thatcham Research to offer our network a comprehensive training program to make all staff ‘high voltage aware’.

Dean Lander, head of repair services at Thatcham Research comments:

“We recognise the immense challenges facing repair networks with the growth of electric vehicles and are working closely with the industry to develop guidance, awareness and training on how to manage and repair EVs. It is great to see this commitment by National to develop a repair network with trained and qualified technicians that will ensure both the safety of technicians, and safe and effective repairs.”

Malcolm Banner, National’s MD commented:

“National has an ongoing commitment to our clients to provide a comprehensive service level ensuring all customers receive a first-class service. National along with Thatcham will offer our network a comprehensive training program ensuring that all staff are high voltage aware. National’s Intelligent Deployment System (IDS) has the ability to identify and deploy these vehicles to the appropriate repair site.”

Within 2021, National are ready to lead the way in the electric vehicle repairs, making a significant investment into this area of repair expertise.

National Accident Repair Group (NARG) are pleased to announce that Paul Wrigglesworth has joined the company as Operations Director. Previously Paul held senior management positions with two of the UK’s largest accident repair groups.

Malcolm Banner, MD, commented:

“We’re delighted that Paul has re-joined the team, his knowledge, experience and expertise will be a great asset to the operating board of NARG.”

Paul added:

“I am really looking forward to working with Malcolm and the team at National. Having worked in Bodyshop management and the operational sides of the industry for many years now, I know that the National network includes the best accident repair businesses across the UK, delivering an excellent service. My aim is to develop the business further by forging close working relationships with all parties, to enhance service levels for our customers, and to achieve a reputation as the class leading repair network in the UK.”

 Claims Excellence Award 2020

“Receiving the news that we have been selected as finalists for the 2020 Insurance Claims Excellence Award is an incredible achievement. We’re looking forward to celebrating our recent nominations for technology and further sharing our new system features throughout the rest of 2020. We are constantly driving for the ultimate digital experience.

National’s team looks forward to seeing everyone at the awards in the near future. We hope everyone stays safe and we’re pleased our technology is keeping our clients’ operations running smoothly.”

Malcolm Banner, National Accident Repair Group

This week in December 2009, National Accident Repair Group was launched. As we reach this important milestone in our corporate history, now is a better time than any to reflect on how far we have come.

Born of an idea to bring an innovative and highly customer focussed approach to UK wide accident repair, the company was registered in 2009 and joined shortly after by now Managing Director Malcolm Banner in 2010.

From the origins of ten regional repair groups joining forces to tender nationally, we have adapted to change, and expanded steadily and effectively over the years, meeting our ongoing aspirations along the way. With operations lead from our high-tech Doncaster offices and marketing communications based in Northampton, we have grown organically to be able to evolve and widen our service offerings, with yet more room to flourish.

Developing our award-winning software, delivering drastically improved customer and client journeys, and uniquely providing the flexibility of self-serve, regional repair deployment has elevated our business. These improvements and bringing together over 450 bodyshops and repair centres across the UK to work with National, have given us some of our proudest moments to date.

Fast forward to now and National is so much more than accident repair. We are a dedicated services and solutions provider with some of the industries’ leading blue- chip insurance clients partnering with us. Having expanded into HGV, LCV and electric/hybrid in line with demand, the work doesn’t stop here. We firmly believe the key to giving our clients and their subsequent customers the best experience is innovation and progress, ahead of market need, and this is something we will always strive to deliver on.

The industry has a whole is changing, the future is technology and highly eco-conscious and so with this we adapt. We plan to grow; in size, knowledge, experience and expertise and if the last 10 years are anything to go by, the next decade looks set to be a very exciting one indeed.

See Managing Director, Malcolm Banner’s interview on 10 years in business in the Winter 2019 edition of Auto Body Professional (ABP) publication out next week.

The electric car debate is ramping up, with a number of announcements made recently around the number owned, electric vs. petrol/diesel, maintenance, and how our infrastructures can adapt to a boost in take up of vehicles.

Groupe PSA are the most recent to pledge that their Peugeot Expert, Citroen Dispatch and Vauxhall Vivaro will be available in all-electric variants from 2020. Having already made all new models launched in 2019 all-electric and or plug-in hybrids, they have made significant steps to becoming all electric and have set a relatively short time frame of 2025, within which to have all passenger cars and LCV’s electrified by 2025.

So, what does this all mean for the accident repair industry?

We are already in a competitive market and work tirelessly to keep pushing progress and development, from improving the customer experience to software and technology, continually bettering the process. With the vast array of brand and age range of cars on the roads, and as more auto brands follow suit of PSA, repair centres need to be ready for anything that comes through the door. National know this and have quickly boosted the knowledge and experience of their network, with over 300 repair centres fully equipped with electric and hybrid capabilities. With strict minimum standards in place for technicians, repairers that offer this service must have level 2 electric vehicle and ATA qualifications to be able to work on these vehicles.

By doing this, National are able to extend electric and hybrid repair services out to their insurer clients too, further expanding their reach, and with the unique position of being able to deploy a job to any postcode and repair centre across the UK, customer experience is kept positive, cycle times are kept down and overall disruption is reduced; regardless of the type of engine involved.

October 31st saw the return of the annual Business Car Awards, hosted at the Hilton Tower Bridge in London.

Judged by panels made up of experts from the fleet industry, including car manufacturers, fleet managers and fleet suppliers, the awards are a key fixture in the automotive industry awards calendar, and we are very proud to have been highly commended for the Innovation Award for our weDeploy technology.

weDeploy is a cloud-based software solution used by fleet operators to instantly deploy a damaged vehicle into the National repair network. From First-Notification-of-Loss (FNOL), a completed deployment can be made in less than 2 minutes by the client. Furthermore, once a deployment has been confirmed, the weDeploy system will send the right claim information to the chosen repairer often based on location. The application is fully customisable by the client, from branding the screens, to integrating weDeploy into any other software application the client has.

The application harnesses the power of the ‘Intelligent Deployment System’ (IDS) module within National’s system, with real- time information on each of its 400+ BS 10125 accredited repairers across the UK. This is perfect for when National control the deployment and repair of the vehicle.
Our system successfully deploys vehicle repairs to any given network in an automated and efficient way, digitalising the deployment journey and saving manual call-centre tasks.

As one of the five categories awarded in the Techies classification, the Innovation Award recognises advances in innovation from apps to vehicles, and with award-winning software at the heart of what National do, being honoured for representing this is an accolade we will always strive for.

With 2020 on the horizon, National are looking forward to launching new software, and the drive to make accident repair easier, safer and more accessible will continue to take centre stage in our operations; to be the repairer of choice.

We look forward to the Business Car Awards 2020, watch this space!

National are pleased to announce the award of a Tier B Plus contract with Direct Line Group (DLG).

National will be supporting the 20 DLG Auto Services centres across the UK. This appointment follows the renewal of a Tier B contract earlier this year with National.

David Mills, Head of Motor Vehicle Fulfilment, said:

“We’re very pleased to continue working with National Accident Repair Group for vehicle repairs. We all share the same ethos of offering our customers excellent service, quality in repair and fast repair cycle times.

The Tier B Plus network is new to DLG and key to our Auto Services Centres achieving even lower cycle times”

Malcolm Banner, Managing Director at National, added:

 
 
 

“We’re delighted that National have been selected to support DLG with their desire to minimise cycle times. The National network model, with multiple sites in urban areas and automated repair progression management is fundamental in providing minimal key to key repair times, particularly at times of work surge.”

National, one of the leading accident repair networks in the UK has expanded its relationship with LV= General Insurance (LV= GI).

For some time, National has been the sole supplier to LV= GI for HGV and Motorhome repairs. Building on this success, LV= GI has now chosen National to be one of its providers of car repair solutions and commencing with conducting on all repairs in Northern Ireland.

Chris Ryder, Commercial Director for National, said:

“LV= GI has for some time been a key client partner for us in the HGV and Motorhome repair sector. Through robust performance this has provided us a solid foundation and we are delighted that LV= wish to expand our relationship to car repair. We will continue our obsession to deliver value within the repair cycle and customer service excellence to LV= into the future.”

Michal Golding, LV= GI Network Manager, said:

“We are pleased to extend our relationship with the National Accident Repair Group and allow our customers to benefit from their high levels of service in Northern Ireland. Our values and shared ambitions are fully aligned, and their performance driven network fits our focus for delivering the very best in service for our customers.”

National is one of the largest networks in the UK with in excess of 415 repair locations and 500 manufacturers approvals covering car, LCV, HGV and specialist vehicle repairs.

In the digital age, the customer is king. Customers have never been better informed and better able to take advantage of the wide range of choice that is open to them.

In order to maintain their competitive edge, businesses of all shapes and sizes in a wide range of industries must understand the importance of a customer-centric approach. The alternative, the business-first ideology, has rendered many a well-meaning enterprises irrelevant and obsolete.

The impact of “The Amazon Effect”

Convenience is at the heart of most customer service interactions today. This phenomenon is known as “The Amazon Effect”. New digital technologies have put the customer in the driving seat and resultantly, the pressure is on for businesses to provide a seamless and customer-friendly journey that makes consumers happy to come back for more. The motor claims industry is no exception. Why shouldn’t customers expect the same convenience and user friendliness from their motor insurance claims process that they expect from their shopping and other online customer experiences?

In an age where consumers have become accustomed to having everything they want, from the name of a song that they can’t get out of their heads to a new sofa at the touch of a button, there’s no reason why they should have to endure lengthy and confusing digital motor claims.

The demand for seamless digital experiences will only increase

If you think that providing a seamless digital claims experience for customers is the sole responsibility of a handful of forward-thinking service providers, think again. Digital convenience is no longer seen as a novelty by consumers, it’s a necessity. In the age where customers are working longer hours and commuting further to get to work than their parents did, it’s incumbent upon businesses to bring them the same convenience that they get when ordering fast food or purchasing an album.

With the cost of UK car insurance claims hitting over £7bn in 2017, the demand for more convenient services is high and will only increase as time goes on.

Making quick and easy claims ‘on-the-go’

It’s not just about creating a quicker and easier claims process for digitally aware customers, it’s also about ensuring that they can complete the process on their mobile devices. Let’s not forget that since 2016 (250 years ago in technology years) mobile use surpassed desktop use as the most common way in which people access the Internet.

This has led to an immediacy in consumer behavior. For today’s customers, there is no time but the present. As such, providers need to offer quick and easy ways to initiate a motor insurance claim on the go.

Mobile claims handling is on the rise across the industry both at home and abroad. Insurance providers recognise the importance of collaborating with mobile app developers in order to create intuitive User Experience (UX) optimised mobile platforms. This allows their customers to initiate a claims process from anywhere at any time through their trusty smartphone.

This is intended not just to facilitate customer convenience but to empower customers and give them a feeling of ownership over their claim, keeping them well informed with regular updates at every key stage of their claim.

National are facing the future with a sense of readiness
Technology is never a stagnant pool. It’s a roiling and turbulent sea upon which even the most forward thinking and tech savvy enterprises can often struggle to stay afloat. As such, while it is essential to leverage mobile technology to facilitate user friendly and seamless digital motor claims, it’s also vital that providers keep an eye on the future.

How does National Accident Repair Group help vehicle claims?

Businesses are already experimenting with ways to leverage virtual and augmented reality software (collectively referred to as Extended Reality or XR) in order to create more immersive customer interactions. Indeed, 84% of insurance executives are of the mind that XR experiences will create a new foundation for the way in which enterprises interact and communicate with customers across the industry.

Whatever technological changes are wrought in our industry, the onus is on delivering a seamless experience that puts claimants in the driving seat, keeping them informed throughout every stage of the claims process.

At National, automatic deployment systems are available to bolt-on to the digital claim journey. An ‘approved claim’ for vehicle repair can be deployed by the claimant within 4 simple steps using a computer or mobile phone.

National’s technology department are here to help insurance and fleet customers by implementing a full digital claim. Talk to National about their existing systems and how they can be used to create a full claims journey, from web to deployment.

If you have a business-first approach instead of a customer-centric approach to your operations, this could be your biggest failing. The truth is that engaging with customers is no longer so much about the product you offer as the experience that comes with it. National Accident Repair Group understand this and have embraced it. Here’s why…

8 out of 10 customers report that the experience a business offers them is at least as important as their products. In fact, Google searches for the phrase “customer experience” have gone up by almost 300% in the past 10 years.

In order to retain a competitive edge as we surge towards the 2020s, businesses have grown to realise that their ability to create a customer-centric experience is vital in helping them to maintain a competitive edge.

How customer-centric is the experience you offer?

In an age where digitally savvy customers are better informed than ever about how much choice they have, keeping their loyalty takes much more than service with a smile. It’s more important than ever to create a customer experience that makes them feel special, valued and like a human being rather than a number. 84% of consumers say that if you make them feel valued as a person you have the key to winning their loyalty.

And loyalty isn’t the only thing that you can win. A great customer experience is worth paying for. In fact, 74% of B2B clients and 63% of consumers state that they will be happy to pay more if they know that they’ll get a great customer experience. Furthermore, over 60% of customers say that they will share a bad customer experience with others.

This should demonstrate just how important it is to get the customer experience just right.

That’s all well and good… but what does a customer-centric experience look like?

So, what does a customer-centric experience look like in real terms? Well, a key part of it is customisation and personalisation. Personalisation isn’t about putting a customer’s name on a generic experience. It’s about putting them in the driving seat. It’s using a CRM tool to track and build upon their prior experience with your brand. It’s using a loyalty scheme that gives them more of what they want, rather than giving them what’s easy for you to give.

It’s about recognising their needs intuitively and responding to them appropriately rather than using a “one-size fits all” script. If possible, it involves pre-empting their needs in order to go above and beyond. As you can imagine, this is vital in providing support for those who have been involved in motor accidents and something that is very important to National.

At National, we build trust and value

Ultimately, creating customer experiences that build value into your business is about building trust. It’s about establishing yourself as the safest possible pair of hands for your customers’ needs.

In the age of high-profile data breaches, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have a secure infrastructure in place to give customers the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their data is safe with you. This also means being completely transparent about how that data is used and stored.

The great news is that there are numerous ways in which you can make your user experience more customer-centric. That’s why National works tirelessly to ensure that they offer the kind of customer-centric experience that generates value for their customers every day. National have built a team, systems and repair network with that at the forefront.

National’s vision for our customers is to provide:

At National, our customers come first. Speak to us to find out more on our approach to our work, about our repair services and the technology we use.