I was recently on a conference call with a client’s management team when I felt compelled to sum up my best legal advice as eloquently as I was able:
“Stop using things that suck.”
We were reviewing comments to my client’s contract provided by a large customer’s legal team. I had people from Operations, Customer Service, in-house Legal, and Sales on the line. What I realized was that none of them liked the contract and only one had even read it. It was too headache-inducing for normal people to get through.
The contract had developed over years of modifications by one person after another. A lawyer here. A technical person there. Another committee, followed probably by another lawyer. The contract grew to the point where it was virtually impenetrable. Sure, it contained protections, but it also ensured that the very first experience a new customer had was one of frustration.
When we moved beyond my thoughts on the individual comments, I had no choice but to share my thoughts about their overall contract in no uncertain terms. Each of them hated their own document and few even knew precisely what it said.
There is a real cost to working with impenetrable and confusing contracts. When customers ask questions and point out issues, you are faced with either conceding the point (which may or may not be in your best interest) or calling your lawyer.
Why not simplify? Save money. Save time. Stand out by making even the legal documents easy to navigate.
And by all means, stop using things that suck.
BUSINESS INSIGHTS CHALLENGE
Assess the customer experience your company is providing:
- Do people get locked in voice mail jail?
- Are your contracts understandable by real people – not just lawyers?
- Are your invoices clear?
Share your customer experience pet peeves with us in a comment to this post.
Eliot Wagonheim shares business insights that help companies stay on course. Get our latest blog posts sent right to your inbox. Subscribe using the sign up form to the left of this post.