A lot of time and effort is often wasted by starting negotiations with hostilities. “Shoot first, ask questions later.” is not the right foot to start off on when you want someone else to do something for you.
We’re all humans and people make mistakes. When someone else makes a mistake, don’t run to the newspapers right away, rejoicing when they print an article with exclamation marks. “The other party hurt me!”
If you do, you’ve just thrown away your early advantage. You’re entering the negotiations stage in an atmosphere of hostility, of abusiveness. That is likely to make the other party want to put its foot down first to cover its own ass. It will have no choice. You’ve forced it to. You may also have made the other party consult a lawyer before it will even talk with you about the matter. You’ve taken away the other side’s ability to say: “Sorry, that was a mistake, we’ll fix it.”
As incredible as it may seem, not everyone is out to get you.
When someone makes a mistake that you want rectified, the first thing to do it to pick up the telephone, call the party and say something like “Hi, how are you today? Isn’t it wonderful that we hadn’t had any rain in weeks? I love the sunshine. But I am not calling to talk about the sunshine, of course.” You can also call the party to arrange to meet in person.
Then you first COMPLIMENT the other party about something it has done well.
Next you say something like “But did you know that…” and then you mention the thing that you want remedied. Now you’ve given the other side a chance to say “No, I didn’t know that. That was an oversight on our part. I’m awfully sorry. We’ll fix it.”
Britons love a good fight. I know that. But fights are much better when you can watch them on telly. In real life, fights can waste a lot of time and a lot of money. Your time and your money and the other side’s time and money. Be smart. Don’t start to sling mud at the other party right away. Do what you would like to see happen if you were in the shoes of the other party and had made an honest mistake.
You must of course make a note of your phone call, and you should take photos, if possible, of the situation that needs fixing. If it’s easy for you to record your side – but only your side – of the phone call, then you can do that too. If you want to record the other party’s voice as well, you will have to make them aware of that possibility when they call you or ask their permission if you call them. But that could put the party on edge and make them avoid saying “sorry, we’ll fix it”, so I don’t recommend wanting to record what the other party says, as a general rule.
Treat the other party how you would like to be treated. Do you want to find out that you made an honest mistake by reading about it in a newspaper article?