The Fourth Day of Christmas – reputational risk from inappropriate supplier behaviour

(9 working days to Christmas – here’s part 4 in our special procurement best practice series).

Dear Jim,

When we outsourced our telephone sales function to your firm, following a competitive tender last year, we stressed the importance of our firm’s reputation. Indeed, you contractually agreed not to do anything that could damage that reputation in any way.

Clearly, the staff you use to fulfil the work for us are of paramount importance. Now, as a leading supplier of safety equipment to small construction firms, plumbers and car repair shops we do understand that your evidence shows that employing female sales staff with pleasant voices does obtain good results when cold-calling our client base. We do have to accept that most  of our customers would rather pick up the phone to a flirtatious female caller than a big bloke with a Birmingham accent.

However, our attention has been drawn to your advertisement on the SalesStaff recruitment website. I quote.

“Wanted! Four CALLING BIRDS for telesales work for our client, SmithCo. We need four young woman with sexy voices and an engaging manner to charm prospects and sell them technical equipment. £10K basic plus great bonus – OTE £20K plus.”

Please change or remove this advert  immediately. Firstly, you must not use our name in any advertisements, which is a condition of our contract I should remind you. And you may well be in breach of equality legislation with this so we recommend you remove it entirely and re-draft. We will discuss the matter further at our quarterly review meeting next week.

Yours etc


(PS Congratulations on the recent sales figures. I should stress we never said your approach wasn’t working!)

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