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Accounting is Just the Beginning

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Effective Dispute Handling

A recent dispute with a supplier provided me with an almost textbook example of how not to deal with a dispute.

  • Never respond to a letter or email there and then, no matter how tempting. Leaving it 24 hours will mean you respond with logic and without anger or frustration which can lead you to say things that could be regretted later on.

  • You’re wasting your time if you think you’ll be able to convince the other party that you’re right and they’re wrong, just accept that their viewpoint is different to yours.

  • Choose your suppliers carefully. Cost is just one factor, reputation and honesty are very important indeed.

  • If you’re the customer, always give a very clear brief of what you’re looking for and don’t assume the supplier knows what you want. Put this is in writing.

  • If you’re the supplier, take a long term view and sort the problem out. That’s the way business goes, you win some, you lose some, but your reputation is far more important than today’s profit if the customer feels short-changed.

  • Never take on work you can’t do, whether from time constraints or lack of expertise or technical ability. It will end in tears!

  • Don’t threaten or bluster the customer if they’re unhappy or you haven’t finished the work, sort out the problem well before that stage.

  • Don’t hide behind e-mails, letters or texts, face up to the issue or problems and meet in person. It’s much harder to avoid the facts and issues and adopt an unreasonable stance when you’re looking someone in the eye.

  • Compromise. I’m amazed at the number of litigation lawyers out there, what’s the point?

  • Sometimes you just have to pay, even when you’re in the right. It’s not worth the legal fees, the stress or time wasted, no matter how annoying. They will get their comeuppance one day!

And yes, even though I had given a clear brief and used a supplier I knew, I still ended up paying for an incomplete, poor job. The supplier may have got paid, but will very much be the loser in the longer term as I had referred him to 6 clients!

If you need help with your business why not join the A+BAC community on Facebook. This is the place where you can get all your business questions answered free, in real time and in a practical way. You can also add your own experience to the pool and start helping fellow business captains.

Nick can also be contacted by email.

One Response to Effective Dispute Handling

  1. Thank you! There is so much more we can achieve when we share our knowledge, experience and expertise. Why not join the A+BAC community on Facebook? This is a page where business owners and experts pool their knowledge to find answers together.
    http://www.facebook.com/nzbizpower