Is quality a selling point?

Paul Timms, Group Managing Director, The MCSA Group, comments on The Apprentice series final.


When watching the apprentice final – yes one of my guilty pleasures! – I couldn’t help but pick up on a few points.

Here in the final week were 2 very good candidates, Bianca and Mark, who had succeeded through a series of business challenges, set by Lord Sugar over the preceding 10 weeks, preparing to deliver their business plans to convince him to invest £250k in their idea.

Lord Sugar made the following comments, 1 for each candidate that resonated with me for the similarity they had with the challenges we have here at The MCSA Group.

For Bianca – wanting to sell luxury tights into the premium market for £22 a pair – Lord Sugar commented that trying to sell any product on quality was akin to making a rod for your own back.  Now – for a company like The MCSA Group who, over the years have, consistently sold on quality, this made me sit-up.  Surely Quality is the very essence of what we do to support our customers and it is this target which holds us to account.  The concept of quality has been with us since the organisation began, part of our DNA, sewn into the fabric of the organisation from ‘Store man to Chairman’.  There is no doubt it is a tough task, but one that many Brands have taken on.  Volkswagen, through the medium of mountain climbing with a frayed rope, confirms the inherent dangers in saving a few pounds on key items of equipment, and that cutting corners can cost individuals very dearly.

I looked a little deeper to find the origin of “Making a Rod for your own back”, it comes from the bible: Proverbs 10:13 – Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.

I would like to think that we have judged this well as our business continues to grow and even in this fast changing market, with many companies putting their IT equipment into datacentres, we are still investing to ensure customers who want their equipment to be looked after, continue to receive great service and that The MCSA Group will always be on hand to deliver it.

Which brings me to the second comment Lord Sugar had – which this time was for Mark, the eventual winner, he is to launch a new company that helps small and medium sized businesses to help customers to find them on the internet, and it was (something like) “can you afford to give the customers the personal service you want” – to which Mark replied “Yes, absolutely”, his comments were later verified by some of Lord Sugars experienced business advisers.

I am so glad Mark stuck to his guns – as it was the personal service and personable account management that were his USPs, these are the same values that have seen The MCSA Group maintain its position in the market place, a ‘go to’ service and support Brand, who the customer can talk to and get advice from on a range of business critical IT services.  This personal approach to account management is really fundamental to the way we go to market; our approach is to look after our customers, ensuring that they look to us as the trusted provider of their IT services.  As their IT support company we are able share our expertise and experience to ensure a personal and focused account management service -delivering benefits to our customers and their long term business success.  Our focus is to develop long term relationships, as these always deliver dividend for both customer and supplier.

So whilst I wait for the next series I will be making sure that our Quality and Personal Service are as up to scratch as ever…