Interviews

Manchester Expo gets a Café Culture

One of the highlights of this summer’s Childcare Expo in Manchester was the launch of the Morton Michel Business Café. Situated squarely in the middle of the front row, the Café was an ideal place to discuss the burning issues affecting nurseries and pre-school groups. And, as Morton Michel marketing manager Rebecca Henwood explains, after nine years sponsoring Childcare Expo, the insurance provider felt it was time to bring something new and fresh to one of the key dates in the early-years calendar.

“We really wanted to be able to show our policyholders and prospective clients that we can offer more than just insurance,” she explained on day two of the packed Expo. “Often people don’t realise that we offer free HR assistance, free legal support… literally everything they need is included in the insurance package.”

Policyholders and potential policyholders could pop by and chat to any number of experts, in an informal setting, while taking advantage of a free cup of coffee - ably manned by the Morton Michel staff - and a biscuit or cupcake. The reaction was enthusiastic to say the least.

“It’s nice to be able to sit down and talk to people face-to-face,” Henwood admits. “We have had the free coffee, the cakes and biscuits so it’s been great to be able to sit down over a coffee and chat about everything. It’s not a sales pitch, it’s just being able to sit down over an informal chat and educating people about what we have to offer.”

On hand over the weekend were two Morton Michel insurance experts, two people from Morton Michel’s new owners, the PIB Group, discussing employment benefits (staff benefits from private health cover to pensions), a representative from ARAG, Morton Michel’s legal services, and additionally a HR consultant talking about employment law.

Indeed, that last expert - Natalie Ellis - gave a presentation on staff retention. Well attended, it gave a glimpse of what people can expect from future Business Cafés at forthcoming Childcare Expos.

“We know now for the next Childcare Expo that these presentations will be popular,” says Henwood. “We’re definitely going to schedule more in for Coventry in September. Another highlight was the wall of post-it note questions. People were invited to write down their questions so Morton Michel’s team of experts could answer them. It was such a success that a follow-up campaign will take place through Morton Michel’s social media channels.

“We’re looking to create some fact sheets too,” says Moore. “There have been some new questions asked and new topics raised that we need to go away and think about. We’ll be looking to answer those properly because it’s clear there are new issues out there that people are talking about. It’s been great because we’ve been learning too.”

Moore is looking forward to being sent to Coventry already. “We know now how it works,” she says, “and how we can adapt it for future Expos, and that includes looking to have more speakers on the stands. We’re certainly going to develop the area over the forthcoming shows.”

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