Esse quam videri is a Latin phrase meaning “To be, rather than to seem” (to be). It has been used as a motto by a number of different groups including the US state of North Carolina, the Swire Group and No. 77 Squadron of the RAF.
At the Townley Group we don’t use this as our motto (we go with the slightly more practical “We make your office work”) but it certainly is a strong element of the philosophy that underpins the way we operate. In the world of telecoms and IT, there are too many operators who promise to deliver everything but in truth don’t have the resource or the product knowledge relying instead on loose outsourcing agreements, other people’s expertise and sometimes plain old lies to cobble together a service for their customers.
“To be rather than to seem” has underpinned our acquisition and expansion model. Long, long ago the Townley Group was Townley Communications and was a business mobile specialist. In 2005 this company was sold to Vodafone and Townley Network Solutions was formed to deliver calls and fixed network services to the SMB market. As this market changed, we realised that we needed to expand our offering to include cabling, phone systems, data services and mobile. At first we attempted to do this using partnerships with other suppliers but we discovered that we could not always rely on partners to deliver to the standards we wanted. Also, fundamentally we lacked the knowledge to really advise our customers and give them the best solution. So we had a rethink and decided that we needed to build expertise in-house. We needed to be rather than to seem. There were two routes to this, internal development and acquisition and so we began to do both.
Our first acquisition in 2013 was Fibrenex, a Cambridgeshire-based company that came with a Mitel dealer licence and 15 years experience of delivering Mitel systems to a broad range of businesses. Then in 2014 we acquired Comms Management a very similar company to ourselves based in North Wales. This not only gave us an Avaya dealership but also a really experienced group of staff with great experience in delivering Avaya solutions, mobile and project management. As we began to realise that the worlds of IT and telecoms were merging, we needed to boost our IT expertise and so in 2016 we acquired Pyranet, an IT support provider based out of Nottingham with a great reputation for delivering market leading IT support and products.
While we expanded though we didn’t want to lose the local flavour of each company. We want the Townley Group to deliver a professional and friendly service with the reassurance of a local service, yet backed up by a national group with a broad range of expertise, resources and the reassurance that all services are being delivered from a single group with a shared ethos and one owner. To this end we have maintained every regional office we have bought. We have not shut any down and centralised customer service at a large unhelpful call centre, which, while it may have saved money, would not have improved our service. Customers can always speak to the same staff who have delivered their products from the same office but, working away in the background, we have the larger resources of group supporting them.
At Comms Management in Conwy we have expanded the team, taken on more local staff, including an apprentice from a local college we built up a relationship with and moved part-time staff to full time. In Nottingham we continue to expand the IT support department recruiting great IT engineers and account managers, attracted by working at an exciting company with great career development opportunities. Across the group we continue to make staff training and development a priority, mentoring staff and helping them find the roles that make them buzz. We have refurbished offices and recently moved Townley Network Solutions into a great new office in Chester (you’re welcome to visit any time!), upgraded systems and developed our offering. We have tremendous in-house expertise and are building it all the time. Our telecoms experts are working with our IT experts and making telecoms and IT work better together. We are expanding our Cyber Security offering, a now critical business service, training our engineers to be certified Ethical Hackers and Pyranet has led the group by becoming certified with Cyber Essentials Plus. Other offices will follow soon. We have invested heavily in project management processes as we believe that great project management and product delivery built around a customers needs is what makes an exceptional telecoms and IT solution. Our telecoms provisioning team is hugely experienced at building different products and navigating the Byzantine processes of Openreach to get products delivered in a timely fashion. Our customer service teams are experienced and will proactively engage with a customer to resolve issues, rather than reading from a script. We are constantly looking for the next wave of products that will help make our customers businesses work better and more efficiently. With over 40 great staff across our four sites, we really can deliver what we say we will.
Sure, we do use outside resource from time to time. We work very closely with a phone system engineering company to deliver maintenance and installations on some of our systems. I don’t believe we need to do this in house and customer experience is actually improved. But I will not let an installation go ahead unless our expert project managers plan the installation and work with the customer to precisely detail the build out. There are a few products we need outside expertise on but we have great relationships with the suppliers who deliver it and we won’t ever let customer service get compromised by those relationships. There are unscrupulous telecoms and IT providers out there who will say that they can maintain and support your systems, only to take your money and then engage in a panicked ring-around trying to find some one to fix it when it goes wrong. If we do outsource an element of support, we back it up with a support contract with the supplier of that service so our customers don’t lose out.
With our group of companies, we have a great catalogue of products and services. We aren’t bringing in outside agencies to deliver the fundamentals of our service. Critical expertise and capability will always be maintained in house at the Townley Group. You may find yourself working with a cyber security expert from Pyranet, or an Avaya expert from Comms Management but it’s all the same Group, working together. So when we say we have IT expertise we mean it. When we say we can deliver market leading solutions we mean it. When we say we can make your IT and telecoms work better together we we mean it. Don’t get caught out by a one-man band, promising the world but simply auctioning off your services to whoever pays him the highest commission from a desk in his front room. Come on board with the real deal. We are not a “cheap” service but we offer a premium service at competitive rates with real in-house expertise. Come and visit our offices, meet our amazing staff and discover all that they can offer you.
IT and telecoms are serious business. In today’s world businesses fail if these aren’t delivered properly. All the talk in the world wont fix them when they go wrong so put your business with a company who are what they say they are and can deliver accordingly. And at the Townley Group we will always remember to be rather than to seem.