The Coach's Corner

That’s good business. Or is it?

November 25th, 2013 // Tom Doescher //

Our Internet service is directly billed to our credit card, and we earn points that enable us to go skiing. A few months ago, the charge to our credit card unexpectedly increased 50 percent — so we contacted the service provider. After a lengthy, awkward conversation, the customer service rep actually reduced our monthly fee by 15 percent from what we paid the prior year.

We were sharing this story with some business colleagues and we told them that what really upset us was the fact that we knew many people, who would just accept the charge, and not ask questions or jump through the required hoops to get the charge adjusted. At the end of the conversation, our colleagues stated that what our service provider had done was, in their estimation, “good business.” Indeed, if maximizing profit in the short run is your business goal, then this sneaky tactic is a fantastic idea. But those of us who are in business for the long run believe it is a horrible practice.

We checked our service provider’s website, and they clearly profess that their customers come first. Take a minute to consider this: Do your business practices really put the customer first? In “I’m Sorry”, we wrote about the idea of integrity. If that’s not a trait you’re willing to vigorously pursue, please don’t promise that the customer is No. 1, and then turn around and behave like our Internet provider. In our opinion, it would be better to remain silent on the subject.

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Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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