Short-term dollars versus long-term relationships
Sep 01, 2005
I always admire the staff member who diligently tries to charge for all services provided. The loyalty is appreciated. But reality is that, on occasion, we may provide an incorrect estimate or none at all. So how much do you want to fight with clients over disputed charges? I tell my staff it's like health insurance—don't be overly worried about a $1,000 deductible. Be more concerned about the next $100,000 if some serious medical care is needed. It's the same here. If $5 or $10 off a bill is going to keep a client happy, then why fight 'em? Don't worry about the first $25; be more concerned with the next $250 or $2,500 a client will spend.
I'm a bigger fan than ever of the "relationships-before-dollars" mentality, and here's why. On a recent family vacation to Jamaica, we were treated to a little scare from Hurricane Dennis. We stayed at a Beaches all-inclusive resort, and the company has a hurricane guarantee—it promises a free resort stay if a hurricane hits while you're a guest. Well, we got lucky and the hurricane veered off to Cuba, but we had a few days of bad weather. Shucks, no free trip. Then I received this good-bye letter when checking out:My guess is that this offer to guests at the company's multiple Jamaican resorts cost a few hundred-thousand dollars. The company could have easily said no hurricane, no free trips. After all, it can't be responsible for plain old bad weather. Instead, the chairman shocked guests and focused on the power of referrals and the long-term benefit of returning families—without worrying about the short-term cost.