Subcontractor – efficient business strategy or a danger to your reputation.

All of us, no matter what line of work we are in are faced by time pressures.  Today I had my day planned around a visit from Carpet Right .  I had everything planned for except the anger I felt by the time their representative left…

Carpet Right had sub-contracted the fitting to a local firm – I didn’t find out their name as the fitter was so rude he barely responded to a word I said.  Unfortunately for Carpet Right, the logical part of me that recognises the failings in the service I received this morning were the fault of the fitter – the emotive part of me blames Carpet Right!

From the outset we had difficulties, the fitter didn’t introduce himself or his “mate”, he was dirty, untidy and unprofessional – then came the real problem.  Upon showing him the carpet to be replaced I was told I needed to take up the original.  This had not been communicated to me during the sales process so I was a little irritated, particularly as I was showered and dressed in a suit ready for a meeting.  Rather than discuss the situation, offer to lift the carpet on my behalf for an extra few quid  or come to some other arrangement I was simply informed:  “I’m self employed that bunch at Carpet Right don’t pay me enough to do that!”

And so, fifteen minutes later, after a change of clothes, a great deal of muttering under my breathe and some heavy lifting, the fitter could start work.  Half an hour later he was finished.  It was then I discovered they had broken the dog guard at the foot of the stairs and the house has been left in an absolute mess!

So where am I going with this rant… the sales chap at Carpet Right apologised over the phone and is looking into replacing the guard… the carpet was fitted professionally and looks good.  But I am disappointed and still struggling with my anger.  The salesman was extremely good, not just at his job but at the customer service side of his role, this set high expectations that the fitters needed to meet.  By using a third  party subcontractor Carpet Right destroyed the hard work their salesman had achieved.  There was no control over their services, no procedures or systems to ensure they met the same standards achieved by the salesman.

Sub-contracting is a valuable means of efficiency but it must be accompanied by checks to ensure standards are maintained.  We are all limited by the capabilities of our supply chain, it is how we work with that supply chain that mitigates potential damage to our reputation s.  The local fitters will get off lightly, I don’t know enough about them to complain whenever I talk to other people.  Carpet Right however had overall responsibility for the work and it is going to take something special for me to keep my mouth  shut!

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