I am having phone troubles so I went to Sam’s Club to take advantage of the rebate that they feature prominently in their sale flyer. The big display of phones is practically the first thing you see when you walk in but I had to ask that someone be called to help me.

When that assistance came, he told me that “it’s not Sam’s” that runs this department and that no one working could help me! I should come back tomorrow after 3pm! The person at the service desk said that same thing: “That’s not ours.”

Why, yes – it is yours. Maybe on some legal agreement there is a distinction, but for the customer the merchandise display in your store and in your flyer is yours.

It may have sounded like a good business decision to outsource a function, but when that department is front-facing you can never outsource your responsibility. Their service, pricing, and availability all reflect on you and in the end become a black mark on your business when done so poorly.

It would be great if you could just collect the rent and absolve yourselves of any role for how an outsourced function is handled, but it doesn’t work that way. You can subcontract the products, but the onus remains with you for the service.

 

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