The blog post for Author's Globe was published yesterday here . It was a tremendously informative conference by Dan Ariely. I had a lot of fun writing the post.
On a separate note, I have been having a difference of opinion with a service provider and wanted to share it with you. The situation is this, I have contracted a series of services from provider "A", and for the past 3 months one of the services has been unavailable, after a lot of going back and forth I found out that the service in question is subcontracted and the reason for the lack of availability has been that the service provider "A" hasn't been paying the subcontractor - according to service provider "A", they forgot to pay (for two months the story was very different and I did everything I could to help restore the service). Now, service provider "A" has paid his past dues and the service will be restored in the future (there is a built in one month delay to reactivation).
After learning all of this I substracted the amount for the services that I did not receive from my next payment and informed service provider "A" of the adjustment. The amount substracted is less than 5% of the total service bill. Service provider "A" is now in a tiffy as to the amount substracted - mind you that he didn't complain about getting paid for services he was not providing.
This situation got me thinking: What are your customer's rights? Does your company offer a customer's bill of rights? Explicity stating what your customer are entitled to (friendly customer service, 24 hour response to inquiries, automatic deductions from lack of service provided) will help create trust in the relationship . Think about how you are today defining your relationship with your clients; and how clear statements about how you are offering to treat your customer would go a long way to create a mutually beneficial association. In this case, service provider "A" has ensured that I know he is not interested in keeping me as a customer, and that I will be looking at every aspect of the service and payments with a magnifying glass. Ours will not be a relationship with trust in it, and may end up being cut short as a result.