I have a lot of customers that I know very well. Because of my work with some of the larger corporations, there are people who I speak to on a regular basis and who I am essentially their personal customer service representative.
Because they do a lot of business with us, they get treated better than other customers. I'll do research for them that other investors don't get, I even give them a lot of information for free.
There is sort of an unspoken agreement between us. I go out of my way to take care of you, and you make sure when I do work for you there is no delay in payment.
That's what I thought until today...
Her name is Natalie, she is from Louisiana. She has a Southern charm that I find very disarming, but she can be a weasel from time to time. She is very powerful in her organization. She can get any purchase order I need for anything she wants to invest in.
Today she called me up.
"AC, I'm sorry, but I can't pay you the full price for that trade."
"I don't understand Natalie, it went through fine. It was even a better deal than we thought it would be."
"Yes, that's right. The thing is, our agreement with your company states that if you don't submit a completed purchase order within thirty days, we get a 6% discount."
"But it was delayed while we waited for a purchase order number. Can't you just slide it through?"
"Not this time Darlin' I'm so sorry about that, really I am. Well, talk to ya later. Bye."
Good commerce should be based on relationships that lead to mutual trust and looking out for your customer's and supplier's best interest, not just sticking it to them any way you can. She had paid us before in a situation like that, but she had decided to teach us a lesson on a very technical point.
Which was fine. I would teach her a lesson. I have a way to bill her for every call that comes in here. Any research, any query, I can charge her a minimum fee. It's one of the things that I have as my discretion as a senior representative.
Well, my discretion has changed. Its not just because I'm mad, its not good business. I thought I could count on my customer to make sure I got paid for what I do for them. If they want to nickel and dime me, I really have no other choice but to charge them every time I pick up the phone.
Thanks for reading,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine