Last month we reviewed some questions worth asking your legal advisor in the early days of your business. We received some “what if” questions and scenarios that we can explore this week. While each business operates differently and there are no “one-size-fits-all” answers, we can scratch the surfaces of some issues you may face and plan for them.
Someone’s always going to be unhappy. Even if you do everything right, deliver on time, save them money, or just uphold your side of things, there will be customers or clients who will find a reason to claim dissatisfaction. How you handle it is the real measure of success.
What if there was some sort of clerical error on my part?
If there was truly a clerical error, see if it can be fixed before you refund the money. You don’t want to lose the sale. If you keep money for a service/good you did not deliver and a client can prove it, you can end up in small claims court.
What if there was no error at all?
If you can back yourself up with emails and documents proving that you delivered what was contractually promised, then you typically don’t have much to worry about. However, if the client is hassling you or looking for a little more for their buck, maybe work with them a bit on a discount for the next collaboration. Uphold a tough-but-fair reputation and be thankful for the. If you can do that, referrals could be in your future.
We recently discussed the importance of cool-headedness, and that’s especially true here. Maintain composure the way American gymnast Simone Biles presents her landings during the Olympics — within the lines and with a smile.
Your web site or portal will experience faults or technical difficulties. Even if it’s something as simple as a WordPress site for example, you can go to sleep one night with everything running smoothly, but wake up the following morning to find you’re now “missing plug-ins.” Little things like that can get you shut down without warning and leave you open to scrutiny.
If my site crashes, will those disclaimers indemnify me?
Those legal disclaimers at the bottom of your home page and on sales e-receipts protect you up to a point. But they are not a force field. If your clients’ information gets stolen, used or lost because of your site’s failure, then you’ve got a potentially big liability problem.
A standard business owner’s policy (BOP) will cover most small business’ risks and combines general liability with property coverage. However, e-commerce insurance isn’t necessarily covered by all BOPs so you might consult an agent who can provide a good plan. Chief among your concerns should be data security and business interruption. Getting insured for these two areas would help you in the aforementioned scenario and can aid in the loss recuperation process.
How should I react if and when the inevitable happens and we crash?
Keep some contact with your webmaster and update your site regularly to have it reflect what’s going on with the business.
If your website and e-commerce are central to your business — it’s hard to imagine that they are not — then don’t panic, but put everything else on hold and get your company back online. You might need to send a communique acknowledging the crash and possibly what may/may not have been lost/stolen.