No Fine Print

Have you ever been treated unfairly?  Remember when you were a kid and you played games with your brother or sister and it seemed they were making up rules all along the way?  It always seemed the rules worked in their favor.  Hum, funny how that worked.

Anyway, have you ever felt that way when doing business?  You go and buy something, and as your ownership experience moves forward, you find there are all kinds of hidden ifs, buts and policies.

I recently bought solar panels with the understanding that it would not cost me anything due to a lot of government subsidies for environmental and energy improvements. As the job got underway, there arose a problem with my electrical panel and it did not pass inspection.  The fix of this thing cost $1000.  Given that I would have never gone through with the solar panel project if I had known that, I called the company and said they should pay for it as it was something they should have known and/or made me aware of.  Initially, they hemmed and hawed and wanted to wash their hands of it.  I, however, knew that all of those panels were sitting on my roof not making them any money so I held out.  We finally struck an agreement that I could live with even though I still believe it to have been a bit unfair.

The reason I tell this is because I should have never had to play this game.  It was not a win-win and I still have a sour taste in my mouth.  A win-win would have been for the solar company to admit their error and cough up $1000 knowing that I would give them a hearty endorsement.  Now, however, if someone were to ask me about my experience, I feel I would be forced to say less than kind things.  Simply put, it is going to take a while for the solar guys to get back in my good graces…and that’s too bad.

Telling the truth, being transparent, not hiding behind policies and daring to have no fine print, these are the qualities of a great service company.  Being bold enough to share the difficult truth of what you will and will not do so no one is surprised, that is what customers want, this is what would make your company legendary.  Integrity, admitting mistakes, making amends, these are things customers want…desperately.

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