Good evening, I am a new 4N member and this evening I have been finding my way around the 4N site and drafting a piece for my profile etc.
My business is Talk To Me Mediation, a dispute resolution service for small businesses. I am often asked why are you specifically a small business mediator?
By way of introduction to 4N, I should like to tell you a story which determined which type of mediator I would become.
Keeping You On The Right Track
Back in the day, I joined the Trading Standards Department of my local Council as a Consumer Advisor. For many years, I was advising consumers of their rights and responsibilities and if they had been wronged, pointing them in the direction of obtaining redress. This often meant my direct involvement in helping to resolve a complaint, advising, conciliating, negotiating and where necessary mediating, to put all those involved on the right track.
I did come across businesses that were exploiting consumers but I also came across consumers who were taking advantage of businesses. One case in particular where a small business was losing out always comes to mind.
I was out and about one day on Trading Standards business and called into a shop that had recently been taken over with the intention of introducing myself and advising what Trading Standards resources were available if required.
Three hours later, I was still in the shop advising the small business owner. He had been trading a short time and when he explained the difficulties he was experiencing it seemed he would not be trading much longer.
Consumers were returning shoes to him by the bucket load! Condition ranged from worn once to well worn and requesting a full refund. He was too obliging, the adage the customer is always right was the order of the day and he had what I can only describe as a volcano of shoes in the corner of his stockroom. He was giving customers full refunds and had tried to return the shoes to his supplier. The shoes were not faulty so understandably no joy there.
The poor chap was rapidly losing a great deal of money, but thankfully with my advice, a returns policy and appropriate signage, he was put on the right track and continued to trade successfully.
I had always intended to start my own business at some point but put this thought on the back burner while I was pursuing my career in local government. When I retired, I was not ready to put on my carpet slippers and watch daytime television, so my thoughts returned again to setting up my own business. I felt I had given a great deal to consumers over the years and remembering the trader with the volcano of shoes, I now wanted to see how I could help businesses, especially small businesses, to stay on the right track.
Talk To Me Mediation (Wales) Ltd. is the result, a dispute resolution service, offering advice and, if necessary, mediation to small businesses in Wales. The service is quick, low cost and confidential.
If you are a small business, currently experiencing difficulties with customers, employees, suppliers or associates, contact me for an informal and confidential chat.