The proof of the edutech pudding is in the serving

Published by Chris Ogilvie-Taylor, CEO of Marsden Grant on 10 February 2014


There’s a new programme currently on British television in which a successful restaurateur mentors the owners of start-up restaurants helping them to avoid the many pit falls of a new restaurant business. The repeated mantra of the guru mentor is that “diners may accept a poor quality food experience if they receive excellent service but they will never accept good quality food with bad service.” In other words, in restaurants, service is key and is the make or break of a restaurant business. It’s not all about the food.

With over 50 new restaurants opening their doors for the first time every month in London, the intense competition between kitchens has raised the bar for the quality of the cuisine so the only way to stand apart from competitors, make a name and sustain the business’s growth is with excellence in customer service provision. Food for thought for most restaurateurs, if you’ll pardon the intentional pun!

This got me thinking about our market of edutech and how this golden rule for restaurants might apply to us as edutech providers. Walking around the UK’s edutech BETT show a couple of weeks ago even I was bewildered by the multiplicity of IWBs and classroom displays on offer. How can a buyer on behalf of a school or college hope to make the right purchase decision on product comparison? A seemingly impossible task.

In our market, it’s similarly not just about product features and specifications but about the way that providers respond from the get-go; the first contact. From that first point of contact a buyer makes with an edutech company will be revealed the level of service that the buyer, if he becomes a customer, will hope to receive post-purchase. For example, having made contact was quality information promised and duly sent. Was it informative and did it add value to the enquiry? Was it standard or customised to the individual enquiry? Did it work with easy to read product info or did it leave the enquirer to do the work by simply providing assorted website links? Were prices offered at the outset or did you have to chase for them? (some providers can be mysteriously secretive about their prices. Something I’ve never understood). After the first contact, did the provider follow through with an experienced executive who could discuss your needs and offer further advice? In short, were you made to feel special, appreciated and that your business was wanted? Because, if not, service levels post-purchase won’t be changing for the better anytime soon!

The parallels between restaurants and edutech providers are clear. Diners and tech buyers both have a multitude of options and choices so, to differentiate, service becomes the key factor. At Marsden Grant we operate a managed code of service response, handle all enquiries at a senior executive level and add value all along the enquiry chain, and beyond throughout the life of the commercial relationship. After all, we know that the proof of the pudding is in the serving, not just the eating!


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Food for thought....for buyers