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“Take me to the cauliflower” – a customer service parable

ramsac has a specific approach to customer service and our fundamental focus is on always making IT simple for our customers. “Take me to the cauliflower” has become a phrase that both embodies what we do, and also allows anyone to challenge another colleague if they think they could be doing more. In this video Robert May, managing director at ramsac explains the concept of “Take me to the cauliflower” at the canalys channel forum in Venice.


Full transcript below

We are a channel reseller in the UK and over the last 18 months we have doubled in size. I think one of the challenges for us as business owners, when you are going through that growth is, it’s not just the technology, it’s the people as well. We have a fundamental promise to our clients, our strapline, which is making IT simple, and all through the induction of our people, we say whatever you do, the sanity check is ‘has what I have just done, made IT simple for the client?’ We talk about this and measure it in people’s development plans. But still people are people and they don’t always deliver on that.

Twice a year we get the whole business together to discuss the ‘state of the nation’ and I was preparing for the town hall type speech, and I heard two examples of people talking to clients and what they were saying was technically brilliant and really clever, but it wasn’t making IT simple. So I thought I need to address this so I will talk about it at the meeting, so I decided to come up with an analogy.

I said Imagine you are going shopping and you go into a store you have never been before. Imagine you go into the food hall of Harrods and you need to buy a bottle of wine. You go to the wine section, you take your time and you choose your wine. You are just about to leave and all of a sudden you remember you need to buy a cauliflower, so you turn around and see a member of staff and say “excuse me can you please tell me where the cauliflowers are?” Now if you were in Harrods what happens at this point is you are suddenly surrounded by staff who pick you up and they carry you to the fruit and vegetables and someone will see the wine that you have picked out and they will say “actually sir that wine will go really well with this variety of cauliflower”. So you take your cauliflower and they say “is there anything else you want?” and you say “no that’s everything” and they pick you up again and take you to the checkout and you pay, and off you go, and have a very nice day.

If you are in a less exclusive supermarket, let’s say somewhere like Carre Four, you have chosen your wine and you turn around and there is someone who works there and you say “excuse me, please could you tell me where the cauliflowers are?” They walk you to the end of the aisle and they point over there and they say 3rd aisle on the right, that’s where you will find the fruit and veg, have a nice day.

Now imagine you are in a budget supermarket, like a Lidl for example, I don’t know I have never been! You turn around and you say “excuse me, please can you tell me where the cauliflowers are?” And the shopkeeper looks at you, grunts and walks away. The point is and the point of my story is you as the customer have asked the same question in every single store, but the reactions that you have got and the service you have got is all down to the culture. The message I delivered is that in ramsac what we have got to do, is we have to make sure that whenever a customer asks us a question, metaphorically we take them to the cauliflower, we pick them up and we take them there.

I thought that was going to be the end of it – message delivered. What actually happened is its continued and every day I hear people talking about taking me to the cauliflower. One of the things it has done is, it’s a really non-confrontational way if you ask a team member to do something or for some information and they give you the answer it is an easy way to say thanks but that doesn’t really take me to the cauliflower. The other thing is lots of people talk about it in terms of service they get elsewhere and they talk about going to a shop on the weekend and they really didn’t take me to the cauliflower. So I have two messages for you, one is the power of storytelling and the power of getting that message over to your staff by giving them something they can really feel and the other is when it comes to your customers I urge you to always take them to the cauliflower.

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GBH Law
GBH Law
11:29 22 May 20
Changing IT support providers, like changing lawyers, is not a decision any business takes lightly or frequently. The decision is fraught with numerous questions such as whether the new team will understand my business needs, will it cause teething problems, and more importantly, will the reality match the sales pitch! We took that decision to move to Ramsac in January after ten years with another provider and we have not regretted that choice for a moment. Ramsac are simply great! From the get go we have been very well supported from the front line very helpful telephone support team right up to our relationship manager. We feel that the Ramsac team are very much an integral part of us . What however has driven us to write this review is the fabulous support we have received following a cyber attack this week. Something no business wants to happen but is increasingly a sad factor of modern cyber life. The Ramsac cyber support team were superb and really gave us first class support and guidance through what was frankly a horrible experience. Thank you Dan! Denise Herrington
The HR Services Partnership
The HR Services Partnership
17:59 16 Jan 20
We have worked with Ramsac since 2015. They offer a truly winning formula. We have been delighted by their support at all three levels: our network consultant (Colin) understands our set up and is great when we need to upgrade our infrastructure; we have ready access to our account manager who has been great with supporting our growth; and the helpdesk is always so patient for the day-to-day glitches. Very professional and supportive – thank you team ramsac!
Zoe Brooks
Zoe Brooks
13:02 16 Jan 20
Sam on the support desk is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Every time I have rung with an issue and she has helped the problem has always been rectified smoothly and quickly!
Sarah-Jane Calloway
Sarah-Jane Calloway
16:02 06 Jan 20
Ed spent two days with us following an office reshuffle. He worked to a very high standard and was very helpful, courteous and happy to sort out anything we asked of him!
Luke Hoey
Luke Hoey
14:20 07 Nov 19
Always very helpful and will work hard to resolve any issues you have.
Richard Renson
Richard Renson
16:54 10 Dec 18
Great, helpful IT Kings and Queens
Andrew Worth
Andrew Worth
12:37 30 Aug 18
fine bunch
Colin Warner
Colin Warner
08:46 06 Dec 17
Excellent managed service provider.
Selom B
Selom B
11:58 10 Dec 16
First Class!! Responsive, knowledgeable, professional and very easy to work with - Ramsac have been a fantastic strategic IT partner for the last few years and I'm sure will continue to be for many years going forward. I would highly recommend them!
Ian Windle - Inspiring Leadership
Ian Windle - Inspiring Leadership
08:53 04 Jul 16
Great IT business, with a powerful management team. Could not recommend them more highly.
Patrick O'Luanaigh
Patrick O'Luanaigh
10:55 01 Jul 16
A truly fantastic IT support company - I can't speak highly enough about them.
Sarah Whitemore
Sarah Whitemore
11:59 20 Jun 16
I have known Dan May and Ramsac for 5 or 6 years now. Dan is such a great guy and really helpful with strategic advice and input on all things IT. He's so approachable and doesn't baffle you with IT jargon. If you are looking to outsource your IT or you have a problem you need help with Dan is definitely the one to ask.
Jonathan Richards
Jonathan Richards
12:14 31 May 16
I've worked with Ramsac for many years and whole heartedly recommend their services. They are always professional, approachable and have the rare skill of making IT understandable. Their can do attitude leaves you feeling that you are in safe hands.
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