This is the best contract I have ever received

if at any time you are not happy with my services, we can walk away and I will not charge you.

It said everything I needed to hear succinctly and clearly. Your contract needs to state the scope of your services, build trust with your clients, set out your client’s aims, and proactively manage risks (my STAR analysis). This single sentence dealt with two of those aspects as it created huge trust between us and for me, as the client, minimised any risks.

How many of us have the courage to offer a money-back, no questions asked, repeat-until-happy, guarantee of our services?

Viral unhappiness

The 2017 Consumer Action Monitor Report* highlights that 70% of dissatisfied customers share their complaint with others, with 40% turning to social media to rant and whinge. Nearly 80% of customers would not return to a company that handled their compliant badly. Unhappy customers are a massive risk to your business’ reputation – one that you should do your best to avoid:

  • Tip 1: provide the right service for the right client for the right fee…
  • Tip 2: to avoid disputes write clear contracts which say how you will meet your client’s needs and expectations.
  • Tip 3: don’t write your contract based on a very small minority of people who might ‘take advantage’ of your terms – use it to build trust with fabulous clients.

You may find time-wasters, but your job is to spot those before you have a contract, not use your contract to hide from them after the event. You may worry that a money-back guarantee means you will receive frivolous claims, but you can chalk those up to experience. You should keep refunds under review (like any business) but use them as a tool to build a stronger business and market to the right prospects.

Instead of wallowing in your misfortune when a client asks for their money back, move on and provide your expertise and services to clients who value your expertise and have confidence in your skills.

What should you do?

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 or equivalent EU legislation, your consumer clients can ask you to repeat your services or demand a refund if your services:

  • are not provided with reasonable skill and care,
  • do not meet the information you initially provided to your prospective clients, or
  • are not provided within a reasonable time.

If you work with consumers consider these the bare minimum you need. The best way to write them into your contracts is to go the extra mile and offer even more. Say that whatever her reason, if your client is unhappy or dissatisfied with your services, she can rely on your money-back guarantee, and ask you to repeat your services.

This approach gives your client confidence in your services and builds your credibility. It feels good to work with clients who trust you deeply.

Be brave, be bold and build a better business based on trust not terms.

*See https://www.ombudsman-services.org/docs/default-source/cam/cam-2017-report.pdf?sfvrsn=4.

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