Thursday, December 16, 2010

Howard’s Inner Circle, No. 24: Outsourcing as a Revenue Center

For many years, the local branch of a nationwide bookstore, upon request, gift wrapped the book that you purchased. There was a choice of at least five wrappings and a cute little bow was attached. This week when I purchased a book, rather than the cashier wrapping, it I was directed to two individuals in pink at the end of the counter. They were obviously affiliated with a foreign dance company. I knew this because there was a video playing by them. As one took the book to wrap the other began to talk to me and gave me a brochure with performance information for the dance company. Neither understood when I asked if they had wrapping paper other than holiday wrap. When I picked up the wrapped book I noticed much cheaper paper was now being used, the wrapping looked amateurish, and there was no cute little bow. As I left I wondered if outsourcing of the wrapping is a revenue generator for the store.

Outsourcing is increasing, often hidden, whether it is a mattress delivery by a leading mattress seller or service provided by the support staff of a technology company. At first cost cutting was the primary motivator for outsourcing, now that is coupled with a motivation for revenue generation. I am still getting calls from the technology company’s so-called support staff trying to sell me a product for my computer.

Increased efficiency and continued effective delivery of a quality product or service should be the primary objective when outsourcing is utilized. If the focus is too much on cost cutting and revenue generation quality may suffer. Is this bookstore ensuring a deterioration of a number of long-term customer relationships each time a book is wrapped?
© 2010
The above may be reproduced in full if that fact is stated and Howard Wolosky at is credited as the author.

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