You’ve probably heard it all before…be positive. Think happy thoughts. Things work out for the best. How many of you believe it?
Here’s an example.
Recently, I purchased a 12-month subscription to a service that I thought would work really well for my business. Like any new technology, it takes a while to get familiar with it and to get it to do what you want. I had 30 days to cancel without penalty. Unfortunately, my learning curve took me beyond the 30 days only to discover that a very important functionality was not available in the software (damn those Canadian provincial and federal taxes). I contacted the company and cancelled the service. The customer service person was very helpful and did as I asked. I didn’t give this subscription another thought until…
Two and half months later, I receive an email telling me that because I had subscribed for 12 months, receiving a deeply discounted rate and bonuses, I would have to pay the balance of the subscription but wouldn’t be charged for the 2 months where this error in their books had gone unnoticed.
I will admit that when I first received the email, I was incensed! This amount was fairly substantial and would have caused some financial difficulty. I was really unhappy with this news. At first my thoughts were angry and negative. Then I took a deep breath, changed my attitude and wrote a reply to their email.
I was very polite in explaining my situation and issues with their product, which was excellent of course. But it didn’t suit my business model and I was really saddened that it didn’t. Would they please reconsider billing me for a subscription that I couldn’t use.
This could have gone one of three ways:
Happy resolution – no problem, we won’t bill you any further
Compromise – you will be billed for a percentage of the subscription
Hard ball – it’s in the terms and conditions: pay up
Over the course of the various email exchanges, I kept to positive thoughts that things would work out well. I’m sure that you guessed how this unfolded, otherwise I would be writing a different blog. The company took all that I had told them into account and cancelled my subscription without penalty. I credit the power of positive thinking combined with the respectful and polite tone of my messages coupled with straight facts as key to the successful outcome and great experience that I had with this company. I am not out of pocket and will absolutely consider them in the future as their services evolve and will say nice things about them.
In contrast, here’s what I’m sure would have happened if I’d written my emails in anger and resentment, including negative comments, and a few threats thrown in. The reply would have been an unequivocal, “PAY UP. We’re in the right and that’s that”. No one would have come out well.
Life lesson: when you ask nicely and explain in a logical, non-emotional, non-accusatory way, you generally get what you want or a compromise you can live with.
Seldom will you have an outright no – but be prepared for it. Some people are so boxed in by rules or their own view of power that they simply will not budge. That is their issue, not yours.
In closing, I have found that setting aside the anger and staying positive…or at least cool…usually results in a great outcome and it’s far less stressful and hard on the system and psyche than to be angry and negative. Give it a try and see how that works for you.