How to Avoid Disputes
We find that most disputes occur due to poor or lack of communication between the parties that can normally be resolved when proper communication begins again. By communication, we mean both speaking to and hearing what the other party is saying.
To avoid any dispute arising we recommend following these steps.
Before contacting service providers:
List exactly what you want to achieve - learn basic French, so you can speak it while on holiday, learn to use all the functions on your camera, or have a relaxing back massage. Know exactly what you want so you can be clear in communicating this to the service provider.
When do you want the service to happen - Do you want the service once a month, once a week - by the end of the month? What time does the service provider start working? Have your calendar ready so you can suggest your ideal dates.
How much are you willing to pay? - Is there a cost per session, a one off cost - do you have to travel to them. When is the payment due - and will they accept credit cards?
Have a list of as many questions as you can possibly think to ask - you may not ask them all at once - but over time, during the discussion you will want to know all these answers. By knowing exactly what you want - you will be quicker in communicating with the service provider and get better quality responses, saving you time and energy!
How to contact the service providers:
We suggest you use the online messaging system as much as possible - as this ensures that your conversations are in writing and all details are clearly stated and recorded for future reference.
The Importance of a Contract:
Poor documentation can also lead to increased levels of distrust between parties. When agreeing a service using the ProfileTree platform - parties are entering a service contract that continues the minimum legal information required to complete this contract. Some situations will call for a more detailed contract or engagement agreement. Contracts should be seen as essential business tools that will help expectations of both service provider and customer match. This document should include:
The customer's requirements
The service providers scope of work - what they will do
It should clearly state the extent and timing of the service to be provided, total price and payment details.
The rights and responsibilities of both parties should be listed
This contract should be signed by both parties and any variations to it should also be signed and kept safe.
Many contracts contain complex wording - make sure you fully understand everything you are signing, if not seek legal advice.
Carefully read the contract before signing to ensure that every point is satisfactorily covered and included.
The complexity of the contract should relate to the service being provided. If the service is a massage - or music lesson, then the service contract created by the customer and service provider using ProfileTree will often be sufficient. If the service being provided is full landscape gardening - then full plans, clear stages of work and a payment plan may be required.
Generally a service provider would produce a contract if one is required - but if they do not, then the customer should do so, as it is for the customers own protection.
As mentioned, for simple services - the service agreement that is created by the ProfileTree system when two parties agree to a service is often enough to protect everyone. For complicated services we suggest a more detailed formal contract is drawn up to avoid any future problems.
How to stay protected:
As customers we recommend you pay for your service in full using the ProfileTree payment system. You payment will be securely held until you acknowledge that the service was provided satisfactorily. We will then release the payment to the provider.
If the service is being completed over a period of time - we suggest separate milestones that can be paid separately through the ProfileTree payment system or all at once and released at each milestone point. For example a weekly lesson - or a house being painted, payment agreed for when downstairs is complete and then when upstairs is complete.
Never complete a service or release work unless the payment for the work has been paid into the ProfileTree in advance. Payments outside of the ProfileTree system will not have the full protective services available to them.
If facing a disagreement with a customer it can turn into a costly dispute. The most important thing is that you remain professional and calm in handling the situation. It is better to deal with the problem on hand than try and avoid it. Disagreements can happen at any time - it is how it is dealt with that counts. If successful negotiated and the customer is dealt with in a professional manner - there is a very strong possibility you will retain the customer in questions. Your reputation is the most important assets for you business, and ensuring you have a good reputation for dealing with customers will have a very positive impact on your business.
If the issues that have arisen are due to a mistake on your behalf - admit the fault and offer a resolution to the problem. The customer will appreciate your honestly and professionalism. Your agreement with the customer should be very clear in what service will be provided to the customer and its limitations. This will ensure that there is no confusion or misunderstanding during the course of the service.