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How To ‘Just Say No’ (When The Customer Isn’t Right) |  April 13, 2016 (0 comments)


Merrick, NY--No one wants to say ‘no’ to a customer or turn down a request. Despite the well-used adage, ‘the customer is always right,’ the fact is, sometimes they’re not. And when they are not, how do you tell them ‘no’ in a way that doesn't offend now, and hopefully keeps them as a customer in the future?

There are plenty of ways--and the good news is that if your store is already great at customer service, most are a natural response to a request you cannot accommodate. Take a peek at a few:

American Express’ Small Business Open Forum has a great list of ways. Here are two:

Offer your best alternative first. Likely you may have several alternatives to offer a customer. Don’t make your customer work thorugh the list with you if one is superior. If you have an alternative that works well, offer it first, not last, even if it’s your least favorite because of cost/time/et cetera. Says the article, “You want to offer your clients the best possible option as quickly as you can. Make sure you empower your employees with this ability, as you want to avoid customer frustration at all costs.”

Validate the customer’s emotions while reiterating your intention to help. A dissatisfied customer can be like a steam pipe—ready to explode unless you give them an outlet to release the pressure. You can simply say, “You’re disappointed [or insert other emotion], and I’m going to do my best to help you.” 

Inc. has a few more. Here’s one:

Be Direct and Know Your Stopping Point. Too many sellers try delaying an answer or sidestepping the issue. This just causes miscommunication, and the buyer doesn't know what product they are getting. Instead, when you can't accommodate a customer request, directly say no and explain why that reason is. People appreciate when you lay all your cards on the table, and your purchasers are no different.

And the American Management Association offers this:

Just Say "No.” But if you don’t believe in saying the actual word ‘no,’ then don’t use that word--but still communicate the fact that you can’t meet the request. The psychology behind this is here and if your other customer service skills are good, then this might work well for you.

Refer a Competitor. If you don’t carry that product or fix that product, recommend a competitor who does. Your customer will be pleasantly surprised and your problem may be solved. 

In the end, you want your customers to leave feeling satisfied, at least. Happy is better, of course. Give it your best shot and adapt your language to match.

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