Recently, Terry and I have discussed a trend we have seen in recent months. We have been surprised and saddened by the lengths that some of our competitors will go to in order to get more business. In an industry built on the concept of providing cultural exchange and childcare, we still hold those as high priorities. Some of our competitors seem to have a different focus. We personally prefer to deal with ethical people who have moral standards, especially on something as important as the safety and care of our children. We may be naïve in believing that those things matter to people, but we think they should. So, we decided to post a list of the things we will and will not do.
Here’s our list:
- We will continue to keep taking care of our host families and au pairs as our main priority and marketing to new families as a secondary focus.
- We will promote Au Pair in America using honest, ethical methods.
- We will encourage our host families and au pairs to refer people to Au Pair in America, based on their own positive experiences.
- We will continue to allow our au pairs to bring their friends from other agencies to our meetings and will welcome them and treat them just as our own au pairs.
- We will not lie to people.
- We will not misrepresent ourselves or our intentions in order to obtain competitor’s host family information.
- We will not pose as reporters in order to obtain access to a competitor’s host families and market to them.
- We will not ask our au pairs’ friends to give us their host family’s contact information or their agency’s cluster list.
- We will not make misleading statements about our competitors.
- We will not violate the terms of online forums and pose as satisfied customers, rather than agency representatives.
- We will not violate the terms of websites such as Craig’s List by posting ridiculous numbers of listings and cross-posting.
- We will not take another agency’s original ideas, copy them and promote them as our own.
We spend the majority of our work time providing great service and support to our host families and au pairs and genuinely care about them having a positive outcome in the au pair program. We are saddened that people would try to lure them away, with the promise of discounts and services, which may or may not be accurate.
When one of these competitors was confronted by a third party whom she had lied to and used to get the private information of host families and au pairs, her reply was, “that’s just business.” Well, that’s not how we do business. At the end of the day, we want to feel good about the work we do and know that we haven’t done anything that we should feel ashamed of.