Years ago, I was starting a project for a Japanese gentleman representing a very large Japanese corporation.
Addicted to mediocrity
He told me that he wanted the project completed by close of business on X. He then said that a condition of doing business with him was that if I delivered by that date he would pay the next day – but if it was not finished until the day after deadline, he would not pay at all.
My business partner suggested that this was a tough stance. I disagreed. I accepted the arrangement on the basis that it was not only a good deal, but the way it should be.
Consider some of the alternatives we experience all the time.
Have you ever been on a Qantas flight that was not delayed and/or late? I have flown many hundreds of times and I can count on-time departures and arrivals on my fingers and toes. They are so rare, I can remember them.
Despite entering into a contract to leave and arrive at a designated time, as marked on your ticket, Qantas instead offers one of an ever-growing number of excuses, after you have paid, for why they will be mediocre and not hold up their end of the arrangement.
Have you ever had problems with your internet service, where you agree by way of a contract to pay Telstra X per month to deliver you Y internet speed – only to find that they keep charging the same amount each month, despite the service being well below the promised speed or, worse still, inconsistent and intermittent?
There are stories about this on current affairs programs every week.
Have you ever engaged a large building company to build your home and have it completed before Christmas – only to be confronted with any number of well-rehearsed excuses when they are going to struggle to be finished by Easter the following year, but still intend to charge you the same amount?
Have you ever purchased a laptop, only to find that the hard drive corrupts in a month and despite all the work stored on it, the manufacturer tells you that the laptop will be in the workshop for two weeks and the security of your data cannot be guaranteed? So not only may you lose all the work you have done, wasted a whole lot of time loading your old data on the new machine, but you will have two weeks without a machine and no compensation.
We have all had experiences like these and most of us will have many more.
Most of us blame the corporations for their failure to honour their side of the arrangement.
Well, I blame YOU!!
If you are one of the 98% of people who have a service issue and don’t complain, you are one of the people saying to these businesses: "You can fail to honour your side of a sales relationship without consequence".
I believe that my Japanese client all those years ago was right. I delivered as promised and he paid as promised. We were two honourable people behaving in the honourable way – both accepting our obligations.
Surely, this is how it should be!!
So the next time you are subjected to mediocre service, complain on social media, complain out loud and, better still, talk to alternative suppliers. We let too many businesses get away with mediocre service without holding them to account.
We seem almost addicted to mediocrity! We are certainly far too accepting of it.