No matter what business you are in there will always be someone who will dispute you. The dispute could be over nearly anything. From the color you use in your brand, the amount you charged for services or the feeling a consumer has on how long you should provide your services after the contract deadline…yes, there are people who feel you should keep on providing services forever.
So, how does one deal with being disputed?
On the most part, learning how to deal with someone who is disputing something is as important as resolving the dispute. The business person has to stand as firm on the resolution to the dispute as the consumer stands on the resolution not being a resolution.
If you are not one who handles being disputed very well…and most of us do not…it would be good to take a class on Dispute Resolution. Or, hire someone to handle the dispute for you.
Of course, any class on dispute resolution worth attending is going to put you into some sort of a dispute in order for you to gain experience on either solving the dispute or failing miserably. Either way, gaining experience on dispute resolution..and living through it…will go a long way in you avoiding disputes in the future.
A dispute is usually over someone thinking something is wrong and another person being disputed thinking something is right. Sometimes it is the other way around. Either way it is the classic Right vs Wrong battle.
Many times, the only way most of disputes are resolved will come down to who has the most evidence towards what is right or wrong. It has been my experience, and from watching other people’s disputes, that whoever has done what they say they will do in the time frame they say they will do it has the upper hand in a dispute over the person feeling they had not been provided what they felt they should have received. These type of disputes could go on and on unless there is a clear length of term the contract applied. This is where this type of dispute is resolved.
Unfortunately, there are a large number of people who will dispute everything in hopes it gains them some advantage. These are the people who make doing business ‘Not Awesome’.
Dealing with people who refuse to listen to truths, documented realities and logic verses what they want to be the truth is not funny. These arguments waste a tremendous amount of time which leads to wasting even more money. Business disputes lead to lost profits not to mention opening the door to receiving a mark against a company’s reputations of having excellent customer service.
Avoiding all disputes is not always possible, but having preventive measures in place to avoid disputes is a good business practice.
Most business disputes develop around what a business states will be delivered and what expectations a customer will have on what he thought would be delivered. Best business practices to follow is to outline all details in the service agreement on exactly what will be delivered and when it will be deliver. Setting the terms of the agreement at the very beginning of a service agreement will usually closes the door to there being a dispute over how long the agreement is in place.
Thinking out how everything will be handled during a business transaction is worth doing. The best way to avoid a dispute is to think like a consumer and what would be disputable. Outlining the expectations clearly will help.
Still Not Enough
However, this does not mean a dispute on those details will not be made, but having preventive measures in place will make the dispute go away easier. Usually, how a consumer is wanting something resolved generally goes against how the business clearly states the matter will be resolved. In this case, the business usually outlines how the dispute will be resolved.
Need More Help
Here in Dallas there are a number places to obtain assistance in Dispute Resolution. Southern Methodist University has an entire center dedicated to dispute resolution. Depending on the industry or the detail of the dispute there are usually experts in those fields who handle specific disputes. Take ‘Franchising’ for instance..there are attorneys who specializes in franchise disputes.
It is a good idea to talk to an attorney or dispute resolution expert before you have a dispute. I did and it sure helped me avoid a lot of disputes and gave me confidence in knowing that the terms I have in my service agreement are nearly non-disputable.
Let me know how I can help.
Also published on Medium.