Eliminate the negative of ‘No’
by Betty Hintch, editor, First Rate Customer Service Forum
Despite your best efforts, you will have to say “No” to a customer. Use these techniques to ease disappointment and open up new opportunities:
- Offer an alternative. When your policies don’t allow what the customer requests, suggest another option. Example: “I apologize. We cannot replace the damaged item. However, one of our experienced service technicians can attempt to repair the wood finish.”
- Empower customers to solve the problem. Share options and allow the customer to choose. Although an alternative may not seem attractive to you, it may suit the customer’s need. Example: “I can send your order by overnight mail if you are willing to pay the $50 expedited fee. We do offer a two-day delivery service that is half the price and usually ships by the end of the next day.”
- Acknowledge customer input. Recognize customers’ good ideas. Assure them that you will pass on their suggestions to management. Example: “Many of our customers request that service. Although we aren’t offering it yet, I will let my supervisor know that you requested it.”
Choose words carefully to retain customers. The video Communicating With Customers features eight common service mistakes and how to avoid them. Click here to learn more.
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Each issue of the First-Rate Customer Service Forum offers you tips for improving your customer service skills. Plus, you have the opportunity to request advice on your most vexing customer service problems—and receive feedback from your peers and our panel of editors!