I recently opened up an online supplement dispensary, and today for the first time a patient requested a return. She hadn’t disclosed to me an ingredient intolerance that made the supplement inappropriate for her, and which was clearly labeled on the supplement box…but she’d already opened the bottle, which zeroed out any resale value of the product.
My first thought was an old entrained thought of scarcity: “It was her mistake and it will cause me a loss – I can’t issue a refund!” (Payment had been made to the online dispensary, not to me, and they understandably wouldn’t issue a refund once opened.) That thought was factually right, but it had the potential to end my relationship with this new patient and keep her from the wellness she’s seeking.
I thought again: How must she be feeling? What would I feel in that situation, even if the mistake was in fact mine? What would be a WIN-WIN resolution to this situation?
I decided to “split the difference” with her, offering her a $25 credit off her next visit (about half the price of the supplement purchase). She has accepted happily, and now we’ll get to continue our work together. I’m grateful in this moment for transcending an old thought pattern that serves neither me nor my patients, and replacing it with a new pattern which preserves goodwill and places service first.
Leave me your comments below:
- What would you have done in my situation?
- Have you ever had a service professional provide you a memorable WIN-WIN resolution to a problem?
- In a situation where you know you’re right, but insisting on your “rightness” could cost you a relationship, what solution have you found to effectively maintain both your self-esteem and that relationship?