Thursday, November 06, 2008

If You Can't Be Transparent, Get Out of Town

I had need to have a repairman come to my home recently and fix an item that had stopped working. I met someone whilst business networking who said he could help and he would come round and take a look to see if it needed fixing or replacing.

It dawned on me today that he had not confirmed if there was a call out fee to come and take a look and I felt he had not mentioned it when in fact he really should have.

So I called him and asked if he was still coming this week which he said yes. I then mentioned he had not talked about a callout fee so I was under the impression he would come out, take a look and then give me a price without an initial charge for his time.

I got the opposite. I was told that indeed there was a callout fee of x amount. I asked him when did he propose to tell me that, when he was on my doorstep with me in a difficult position to say no not happy about paying a fee he had not mentioned?

He replied he had forgotten to tell me. Now how can you forget to tell a prospective client that you charge for initial assessments?

Can you imagine me saying to a prospective client I'll come round to your office and conduct a web marketing consultancy with no mention of my fee schedule until I turn up because "I forgot"?.... to me that's tantamount to blackmail.... you are at least cornering someone or ambushing them into paying for something you "forgot to mention".

If that's how this chap behaves before he gets to work what's he going to do when he's on the job?

Transparency and integrity are key in any business transaction. Forgetting about important parts of your business like charges and fees certainly shows a poor understanding of customer perception.

Thing is if he had made it clear he would charge a call out fee from the start I probably wouldn't have had a problem. Once he admitted he had forgotten about how he charges I smelt a potential rat and told him not to do anything till I got back to him. When that will be I don't yet know...

You can take this situation and easily apply it into the SEO world. If you are hiding charges and then springing them on clients then I feel thats a pretty poor way to generate business income. Might it be time you reconsidered the way you behave if you do operate in this manner?

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