I used to get frustrated or angry when something or someone would unintentionally disrupt my life: things like poor customer service, engaging with a company which does not deliver as it promises, or even a friend who lets me down. Now, I see all of these disruptions as an opportunity to negotiate.
My latest grievance-handling situation was with a major retailer. I pre-purchased a laptop and a few accessories. The manager said that my purchase had been put aside and was ready for collection. Later that day, I went down to the shop, and, low and behold, “my” laptop, which had been the last one in the store, had been sold that same day to another customer. The impact of this inconvenience was at least an hour of my time and my not being able to work efficiently. Feelings of frustration began to rise, so I took a couple of deep breaths.... At this point, the worst thing I could do would have been to jump up and down and make a scene. The error had occurred, nothing could change that, and there was no point in starting to embarrass those responsible and potentially put them “off-side”, as this would be the party with whom I would now be negotiating.
Yes! A chance to negotiate. I addressed the manager, and he apologised for what had happened. I then explained the impact of the inconvenience that his staff’s error had caused me. His response was the offer of a $20 gift voucher in compensation- an insult considering my lost working time and the value of the overall purchase. Instead of complaining about it, I made a proposal: If he agreed to express ship the first laptop available to me, and include a very fancy mouse that usually retails at $100, I would be a satisfied customer and would not leave a bad review online about the experience. He agreed.
I received the laptop the following day, shipped straight from the Coffs Harbour Store to Sydney, and am now the delighted owner of a really smart mouse.
The next time something goes wrong in your life, consider it as an opportunity to gain value by not just complaining about it, but proposing an offer that is realistic and will make the situation right again. You’ll be surprised at the generous results!