Why a contract isn’t enough!

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When you take your business seriously, you’re likely to have contracts signed, sealed and delivered before you start serving your customers.  There is probably no need to explain how important this paperwork is to legally protect both yourself and your company, as well as your customer.

But what we’ve found through our Ombudsman Service, is that covering the basics in a contract just isn’t enough.  Whilst your contract covers what has been agreed about services to be delivered, responsibilities for each party, payment terms, etc. in advance, it doesn’t cover how each party actually follows through on their part of the agreement.  When – if any – problems occur, that usually isn’t at the contracting stage of the agreement, but it’s in the follow-up.

It is therefore very important to not just rely on the contract, but to also carefully document what happened next, and how each party followed through (or not!) on their part of the agreement.  And we’re not just talking about making notes and saving emails and text messages.  We advise you to keep a dedicated file in which the agreed deliverables for each party are laid out, and progress against these is carefully and objectively tracked. Share this document regularly with your customer, so that you are on the same page.

The reason why we advise you to do this is because we often see that once a dispute arises, objectivity seems to get lost.  This has likely to do with the rather personal nature of the business relationships that are built through the process of coaching, mentoring and of course also during coaching/mentoring training. Emotions from both ends seem to come into the equation, and that usually doesn’t help to objectively assess a complaint.  Keeping a matter-of-fact file of progress helps to assess the situation objectively for each party, and makes it easier to discuss and resolve any complaints as they occur.

And if that doesn’t lead to an amicable solution and would lead to a third-party complaint’s procedure such as our Ombudsman Service, it makes it a lot easier for such third party to objectively assess the complaint.

When you take your business seriously, you’re likely to have contracts signed, sealed and delivered before you start serving your customers.  There is probably no need to explain how important this paperwork is to legally protect both yourself and your company, as well as your customer.

But what we’ve found through our Ombudsman Service, is that covering the basics in a contract just isn’t enough.  Whilst your contract covers what has been agreed about services to be delivered, responsibilities for each party, payment terms, etc. in advance, it doesn’t cover how each party actually follows through on their part of the agreement.  When – if any – problems occur, that usually isn’t at the contracting stage of the agreement, but it’s in the follow-up.

It is therefore very important to not just rely on the contract, but to also carefully document what happened next, and how each party followed through (or not!) on their part of the agreement. And we’re not just talking about making notes and saving emails and text messages.  We advise you to keep a dedicated file in which the agreed deliverables for each party are laid out, and progress against these is carefully and objectively tracked. Share this document regularly with your customer, so that you are on the same page.

The reason why we advise you to do this is because we often see that once a dispute arises, objectivity seems to get lost.  This has likely to do with the rather personal nature of the business relationships that are built through the process of coaching, mentoring and of course also during coaching/mentoring training.  Emotions from both ends seem to come into the equation, and that usually doesn’t help to objectively assess a complaint. Keeping a matter-of-fact file of progress helps to assess the situation objectively for each party, and makes it easier to discuss and resolve any complaints as they occur.

And if that doesn’t lead to an amicable solution and would lead to a third-party complaint’s procedure such as our Ombudsman Service, it makes it a lot easier for such third party to objectively assess the complaint.