In Dec. 6, 2007 one of my former assistants signed me up (with my knowledge) for an account with Wrike.com at $49/month. Although, the system was, by my estimation, the most practical project management software for small business owners, especially because of it’s email integration, I decided not to use it. I didn’t want to put another piece of technology in front of my team as they were struggling to adpat to a new CRM.
Regrettably, my assistant neglected to cancel the account. Worse yet, I didn’t notice the monthly charge on my Amex statement. Yes, even though my bookkeeper pays the bill, I still review it each month. Unfortunately, it didn’t pop out as irregular. I probably have some 300 charges on that account each month. Still, I felt like a complete and utter bonehead when I realized my $637 mistake. And, it was my mistake.
Hat in hand, I sent an email to Support at Wrike and explained my situation, asking if they would be willing to refund all or part of the $637 since I never actually used the system. I figured it was a long shot and certainly didn’t feel I was entitled to it since it was my fault not theirs. Within a few hours (on the weekend, I might add) I received a gracious and empathetic email saying that their terms of service policy says “no refunds” but in this case they would make an exception because they understood my situation and hoped that I might come back in the future.
They broke their own terms of service agreement. And, in doing so, earned more than just my appreciation. They earned my respect. What an open, friendly and smart company.
Why are the folks at Wrike so smart? Because, even if it means issuing a refund, doing a good dead that costs you a few bucks today often pays dividends many years into the future. Big thinkers know this and are futuristic in their thinking. Small thinkers are transactional and only see the present moment.
Should they always break their own rules? No, of course not. But you create policy to set expectations and, certainly, to protect yourself but that doesn’t mean you can’t break your own rules, from time to time, to be in service of ideal clients.
Understandably, this can seem easier for a software company who didn’t need to provide “services” the same way a roofing contractor does. But think about it, when’s the last time you heard a story about a roofing contractor that re-did a job at cost because of a mistake you made! I have a feeling that roofer would be booked solid by you and all your friends for the rest of your natural born life.
And, guess what? I plan on re-enlisting at Wrike in the future to use their project management tools.