As business owners, we all certainly get more than our fair share of mail. From credit card offers to catalogs, business opportunities to bills, it never ends. Regardless of how much mail you get, there’s always one piece of correspondence that gets your heart beating a little bit faster: a certified letter.
It’s amazing that something as simple as an envelope (that someone paid about $7 to mail) can cause you so many different feelings. Whether it’s relating to our business or personal life, we all feel a varying range of emotions whenever we receive a certified letter.
The possibility is quite likely that this certified letter carries news of something that will have an implication on your life. It may be a lawsuit, notice of divorce, or something else that will cause you stress.
But, regardless of that fact, we’re always intrigued when we get a certified letter. We’re curious to open it to see what information was so important that someone paid $7 to have it delivered to us! If we have a bundle of mail to open, typically we’ll open the certified letter first. And, if it’s coming to your business, it’s quite likely that the contents will carry notice of a lawsuit.
So, you can imagine the range of feelings that were going through my mind when I got a certified letter that was addressed to my business. I anxiously fingered the envelope, wondering which one of our home inspectors was about to have a bad day. I wracked my brain, trying to remember if any of our recent customers had been complaining.
There was that one seller that blamed us for his sale falling through; not that it had anything to do with the deplorable condition of his house…
You can imagine my surprise (and relief) when, after ripping open the envelope, I discovered that it wasn’t a lawsuit after all! The thought of days, months and (possibly) years of court proceedings, a never ending litany of motions, discovery, depositions, letter, requests, wrangling and mounting attorney’s fees all melted away from my mind.
This was my lucky day! I should probably buy a lottery ticket!
Even though it wasn’t a lawsuit, it was something that had to be dealt with, so I dove into reading. Turns out, it was a letter from a seller/builder who was unhappy with one of our inspectors (and the agent that had referred him). He wrote the letter to notify me that this particular inspector was banned from inspecting his properties in the future.
I remembered discussing this situation with the inspector, and
given the personality of this particular builder, the letter was not a total surprise.
Try as you may, there will always be some individuals that prove impossible to deal with in your life (and business.) Everyone has their own unique personality. Whenever personalities are involved, there will always be some people who, for whatever reason, end up causing friction in a relationship.
Having had a previous run in with this builder, I was well aware of his abrasive personality. Even though I really wanted to tell him what I thought, I know enough to realize that a situation like this must be handled with kid gloves.
With the advent of widespread use of social media, one disgruntled client or business associate can turn into a nightmare. One pissed off person cause your company reputation-management headaches for a very long time.
The problem in this situation was how to appease this builder in some way, while not affecting the reputation of my business. I also wanted to protect the interests of future home buyers who may be interested in using our company for an inspection on one of his properties.
I decided that the best thing to do would be to write him a letter, explaining my position and offering some type of compromise. Below is a copy of what I wrote to him. (The names of the builder and inspector have been changed to protect their privacy.)
Amazingly enough, I never heard any reply from the contractor. We’ve inspected a few of his homes since then, but have yet to have another run in with him.
And of course, I sent him the letter by certified mail.
Have you had any run-ins with a crazy seller, buyer or agent?
If so, what did you do to rectify the situation?
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