Saturday, April 18, 2009

Money, The Unwritten Contract.

When a customer pays a lot of money for an item there is an unwritten contract between you and that customer.

In short form it goes like this:

I am paying you a lot of money because I expect to get a product that:
  • works good (better than a cheaper version)
  • doesn't have problems (and if it does, you will move earth to fix it for me)
  • you will respect me as a customer

OK, let's take two live samples.

1) We bought a Whirlpool front loading washer about 10 months ago for over $1000. I've always paid under $100 for a used washer and my fiance wanted a top-of-the-line computerized model as our laundry needs have gone up exponentially. Within a few months the computer board inside had to be replaced. We were without laundry facilities for a few days. No biggy. Couple months go by and the seal on the front door fails. It literally took 10 phone calls and 3 weeks to repair one simple piece. Whirlpool promised to give us a cheque for $50 for laundry costs but never did. Our unwritten contract with them was that we give you lots of money and you give us a product that actually works. I have never had so many problems with a product that I paid $100 for let alone $1000.

2) Same time frame. We bought a queen size mattress for $600. Somewhat pr icy for us. After about 3 months the top cover began to rip and unravel. The pillow top is sliding and removing from the top. We called the store and they said to take pictures. We sent them and never heard back from them. We called again and they said they never got the photos and would not likely cover it anyway. Again they broke the unwritten, "I PAY LOTS, I EXPECT LOTS" contract.

Lesson? Well there is two lessons. If a customer pays you lots, he/she has a contract that they are getting a lot. Whirlpool should have 24 hour shipped the part and had a guy out here within a day. The mattress place should have called the manufacturer and had them deliver a new one.

The second lesson is sometimes if you can provide a good product and back it with a good service, don't be afraid to charge more for it. After all, you are not likely competing with someone that is providing the same thing.

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