I’ve had a programmable thermostat for four years and had been very happy with it. Then this week, I received a $65 invoice for a year of service. I’ve never paid an ongoing maintenance fee before and was quite surprised to receive this bill. No warning, no “oh-you-get-four-years-free-then-we-start-charging-you” – just pay now or we’ll cut off your ability to use the scheduling or remote access functions. What?! Needless to say, I have a new thermostat from a new company where I fully expect to pay once and be done.

In a similar scenario, a private Facebook group I belong to has many members up in arms because the course creator is deleting the group and moving to a plan where a $97/month membership fee is required to continue. We were led to believe that the group support was part of our course purchase, and many are vocally displeased that the terms are being modified mid-cycle. Our one-time payment has morphed into an ongoing expense.

How you enact a change is as important as the change itself. No one likes to receive an unpleasant surprise without much warning or to learn that the terms have suddenly become far less favorable than what was promised when the purchase decision was made. If you need to alter your offerings, don’t only focus on the additional revenue you’ll gain. Rather, be sure to factor in the goodwill that you’ll lose. Grandfather clauses that allow previous terms to continue were created for a reason.


About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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