I recently experienced a teachable parent moment with my nine-year-old daughter, Willa. It was her first ever experience getting scammed. She was playing a multiplayer online game where players can raise and adopt different animals of varying rarity. Well, in the parameters of this game, bandicoots are rare, but ice dragons are the rarest. Willa came across someone who wanted to trade their ice dragon for her bandicoot. When she went to make the trade, the person she made an agreement with traded her bandicoot with an apple and quickly logged out, leaving Willa without her favorite bandicoot and without an ice dragon.
How does this apply to the home service trades? For starters, you don’t have to be nine years old to get scammed. Secondly, the importance of contracts and getting agreements down in writing shouldn’t be overlooked. Contracts provide us protection from those who seek to do us harm. Of course, the caveat to this is that you must maintain your end of the deal, or your clients will have leverage against you.
Written guarantees are important and build trust. When you build trust, you build up a great reputation. Take Amazon, for example. We give Amazon our money first and then they give us a product. We have to trust they will do this. Amazon would have never gotten off the ground and become one of the biggest companies in the world if they took people’s money and then never delivered the products. Their reputation is why people keep using it today.
Building a good reputation can be challenging, but building a bad reputation is all too easy. Always be aware of your business practices across all sectors of your business. Know what deals your techs and CSRs are making. Find out if those deals are being upheld. Always make sure your company is making the ethical choices that will give it the ever so coveted good reputation.
Dignity, honor, and good reputation will always win in business. How you treat your clients will help you build your reputation.
When I asked Willa if she felt inclined to get back on the game and try to scam other players in the way she had been scammed, she gave me a guilty smile and said “yeah.” It’s okay for her to feel this way. Hurt people hurt people. However, it is not okay for her or for anyone to take their own anger over a bad situation out on someone else.
The golden rule should be carried through all aspects of your life, even in (or sometimes especially in) your business. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
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