Kevin Stirtz’s Amazing Service Rule# 40:
It’s okay to say no. (But be nice about it and offer an alternative.)
Many of us have been taught to avoid the word “no” when dealing with customers. And it’s a good lesson because there are better ways to tell a customer you’re unable to help them in exactly the way they want. Dropping a big fat “no” on them might not create a positive and memorable experience.
But some people have taken this lesson the wrong way. They assume it means you should never turn down a customer. They feel it means you should always try to do what a customer asks, even if it’s something your company does not do (or does not do well).
That will get you in trouble.
A foundation of Amazing Service is to give your customers what they want but do it in a way that works for your business. That means it should be something you are in business to do. Ideally, it should be something your company does better than any other.
Trying to do everything every customer (or potential customer) asks of you cause problems. Saying “yes” to every request will sap your resources and drain your profits. You’ll wind up doing things you’re not equipped to do. You’ll spend too much time learning and not enough time earning.
Sometimes a “no” can be turned into a yes. Be flexible and creative and see if you can help the customer get what they want in the context of what your business does. Often customers think they know the solution to their problem. But with your expertise they might find other solutions exist too.
And if you are unable to help them, it’s okay to tell them so. But don’t clobber them with a “no”. Be nice. Point them in a direction where they might find a solution. Do this by knowing your market and being able to refer customers to others companies that might be able to help them.
If you are not able to do the best job for someone, it’s better to refer them to someone who can. You’ll save yourself headaches and you’ll make two new friends in the process. It’s okay so say “no”.
The article was written by Kevin Stirtz