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Not Catering To Your Customers’ Needs

, , , , , | Working | November 8, 2021

Part of my job is recovering customers and auditing bodies to view and audit our facility. I arrange everything: the hotels, the certifications, the catering, etc. Over time, I’ve become the go-to guy to get the best rates and places to avoid, and I typically book catering for others.

The last few food deliveries have been pretty poor — reduced selection, sometimes late, and just not as good. I complain, but they brush me off, so I decide to use another supplier. As I’m the only person really booking food, they get no more business from the company. Their loss. It’s nothing personal, just business.

I get called into the purchasing manager’s office one afternoon. 

Purchasing Manager: “I keep getting calls and emails from the catering company. I keep telling them I have nothing to do with the orders, but they won’t have any of it.”

Me: “Yeah, I’ve changed suppliers.”

Purchasing Manager: “I know, and that’s fine. But they are going to call me in a minute. Can you join the call?”

Me: “Err, sure.”

The phone rings and the manager puts it on speaker.

Caterer: “Hi, this is [Caterer] from [Catering Company]. I wanted to talk to you about your lack of orders lately.”

Purchasing Manager: “Yes, well, as I mentioned, I don’t make the orders, but I have—”

Caterer: “We’ve been supplying [Company] for many years, and always to a very high level of quality and cost-effectiveness. I’m sure you, as purchasing manager, appreciate this, hmmm?”

Purchasing Manager: “That’s only part of it. I have [My Name] with me on the call; he organises—”

Caterer: “Well, I’m sure he has plenty to say, but let me ask you: are you still ordering food at the same frequency? Because we could work out a bit of a discount.”

Me: “We are, and we are very happy with the service we are receiving, thank you.”

Caterer: “if you don’t mind, I’m talking to the man in charge.”

Purchasing Manager: “And as I told you, he makes the decisions; I just sign it off. If he is happy with the catering decision, then that is fine with me.”

Caterer: “Can you take me off speaker for a moment?”

Purchasing Manager: “No, this affects [My Name] more than it affects anyone.”

Caterer: “All we want is a second chance.”

Me: “I gave you several chances, but you have been under-delivering for months. It’s very embarrassing.”

Caterer: “What are they quoting you? I bet we can beat it.”

Purchasing Manager: “This has never been about cost. This is about quality, and it’s clear you don’t have it. I think we’re done here?”

Me: “I was finished before we started.”

We kept on with the new company, who delivered as promised every time. The old company tried to contact the purchasing manager several times after that until he blocked their calls.

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