the blog


February 23, 2021

I hate feeling like I’ve been ripped off!

Business Tips, Small Business, Women in Business

customer needsA few recent events have left me feeling bruised and self reflective.  When it comes down to it, I hate feeling like I’ve been ripped off.  I don’t mind paying good money for something but I do expect the product or service to meet my expectations.  There’s nothing worse than paying good money and finding out after the fact that it is money wasted.  That leaves a very sour taste in my mouth.

I won’t bore you with the full details of my solar system disaster except to say over the course of two years we have been through five solar inverters and it has been one big, long expensive waste of money and time.  My role in this was to trust the solar installer.  He was recommended to me by a trusted and knowledgeable friend who works in the industry.  I asked questions and checked out Google, but I never went on the roof to check the system out.  In my opinion I shouldn’t have to climb up two stories on a scary slippery roof as that’s what I paid the solar dude to do.  I also know nothing about solar systems, so I expected him to use his expertise to solve my problem.

Little did I know, after getting in someone else (at more cost) to check the workmanship the solar installer lied and cheated.  Amongst rewiring and new inverters, I paid him to install possum proofing to keep the possums from eating the wiring.  He installed most of it but left about a 2-metre gap in the proofing.  Naturally the possums got back in and ate through the wiring which was blowing up the inverters.  Further because the solar dude attached the proofing by screwing into the side of the solar panels the screws were shortening out the whole system and blowing up the inverters.

What relevance does this sad sorry story have for an accounting firm and our clients?  I think lots can be learned.

As Horst Schulze the former CEO of Ritz Carlton says, all customers only want three things and this is true of all businesses.  These are:

  1. They expect the product or service to be free from defects.
  2. They want to receive it in a timely manner.
  3. They want the person they are dealing with to be nice to them.



  1. My solar dude failed on all three fronts. His work was definitely not free from defects.  It was an absolute disaster.  To be without solar power on and off over extended periods over the last two years was a result of his workmanship.


  1. He NEVER got back to me promptly. I chased him constantly over the two years.


  1. Thirdly he was not nice. He treated me like I was the biggest pain in the neck (which I probably was to him!).  He would sigh every time he did pick up the phone and treat me like an imbecile.


The whole experience has made me reaffirm our core values and how we treat our clients.

  1. Our clients trust us to be the best in the game. We make sure we know our stuff and keep up to date with the latest legislation, technology and changes in government policy.  We have systems and processes in place, so we do not make mistakes.  When we do and they sometimes happen as we are only human, we apologise and put into place more systems and processes to avoid it happening again.We also proactively look for ways to help clients, to be forward thinking and strategic in growing our clients’ businesses.


  1. We return phone calls the same day and respond to emails within 24 hours. We let clients know if there is going to be a delay and why.


  1. We are nice. We do treat others with respect, kindness and empathy.  Everyone is living their one beautiful life and it’s our privilege to work with our clients.  We never take that for granted.


Horst Schulze says meeting all three customer requirements and doing that well, adds up to value.  This is what customers value and are willing to pay for.

I fixed my never ending solar problems by engaging a big national outfit and on their recommendation ripped the entire system out – panels, wiring and inverter, the lot!  They then replaced everything brand new as it was cheaper to do that than trying to find and fix the other solar dude’s mistakes.  It was costly but I am satisfied.  I got what I paid for and fingers crossed it keeps working for a long time yet.  The next step is for the possum man to install the possum proofing.  So far, the possum man has been timely and nice and hopefully he does his job well to keep the pesky critters out!  Solar system rant over and so many life lessons learnt from one big, long drama.

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