Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where you need to say no to customers. Find out the best tips on how to do it right.
Customers come your way to get help. It's that simple. They see that you offer a service and it’s one that they want or need, so they come to you in order to get it. Despite their best intentions and yours, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to say no to the customer. If you aren’t entirely sure what that should look like, here are some tips to help you do it the right way.
- Clarify the situation by parroting it back to them: First, you’re going to want to make sure that you understand the situation by repeating back to them when they want. Communication with your customers is key! If it turns you’ve misunderstood, they can correct you and it may change whether or not you can help them. This also makes sure that you are clear on what they need.
- Practice empathy: If you know you can’t help them, it’s important to have empathy. Say things like “I understand this must be frustrating but…” or “I’m sorry to say this, but…”. Acknowledge their feelings by practicing empathy. It’s important, too, that this empathy is real. Don’t just say it if you don’t really mean it — it’ll come through in your tone of voice. If you need to dig down deep to find that empathy, do it! Moreover, there's nothing wrong with agreeing with the customer, if he suggests a new feature to be added to your current product. This will not only show empathy, but also innovation since it means that your product will add value in the long term. It's also advisable that you share new features with them, that you've recently developed, or have improved upon. This will show them that you seriously take into account all their suggestions, and that all of them are in line to be implemented.
- Explain why you can’t or won’t be able to help them: It’s also going to be important to explain why you can’t help them, even if they don’t actually ask for the reason. Explaining why you are not the right fit will help them see that it isn’t a personal decision on your part, it’s just that you really can’t help them. For example, if you’re at capacity, tell them that. There’s no harm in sharing that information and they may be inclined to come back later and see if you can take them then. If, however, the issue is that you can’t provide them with the service they need in a specific or a similar option, it’s important to explain that too.
- Keep a professional and calm tone of voice: Even if the customer gets frustrated or even starts getting aggressive, it’s important to always keep your tone of voice calm and professional. The worst thing you can do is get caught up in the emotions and say something bad, because it will always come back to bite you. Your tone of voice can also help keep customer involvement professional and empathetic as well as clear.
- Keep your opinions out of it: This is important enough to separate out. No matter what, professional is professional. It’s based on facts, tips and suggestions and no opinions what-so-ever. Not only will an opinion escalate a situation, it’s also unprofessional, which is not the tone you want to set.
- Consider referring them on to someone you know can help: The last detail is to do what you can to refer them on to someone who may be able to help them out. It should be a similar professional that you know and trust. Perhaps even call them with the customer there and see if they can help. It will mean a lot for the customer and they’ll remember how you went above and beyond.
Saying no to a customer can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Just remember to be kind, be clear, stay calm, and keep things professional at all times. It won't be an easy task and it will possibly take some time for you to master, but you can definitely achieve it. The key is to be able to deeply understand the mission of your company but also to empathize with your customers.