How to Tell a Customer "No"

Customer Service Training Resource
March 8, 2013 — 1,332 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

Saying “no” to a customer is one of the most challenging tasks for any customer service representative because it could result in you losing your client if not handled correctly. Although it is important to try to say “yes” to your customers most of the time, sometimes turning them down is required, keeping your company’s best interests in mind.

Empathize with the Customer

Although you may be turning your customer down and are not giving them what they want, you should do your best to make them feel better. Be communicative and talk to them about their thoughts on the matter, and let them know that you do understand their situation but do not have another choice.

Remember, Your Customer Relationship Is Very Important

It is vital to ensure that, even though you are saying “no” to your customer, they are aware that they are very important to you. Saying “no” can often make customers feel like they are just another source of revenue, and it is up to you as a customer service professional to ensure this feeling is done away with.

You should make them feel that they are important to you in a personal way, and that you will do whatever you can to keep them happy and not just to keep their business.

Provide Alternatives

Providing alternatives does not mean that you should force hundreds of irrelevant substitute products or services on your customer. Take some time to carefully assess their needs and then give one, or maybe two good alternatives.

Overwhelming them with many options will just confuse if not frustrate them. So when you do make alternative solutions, do so sensibly and within good reason.

Stay Curious

Being a curious person is a great quality if you and your client have both hit a confusing point. Ask them as many questions as you can to provide the best solution to their problem. It would be a great idea to think about a few things that you might already know instead of just shooting out obvious questions, which again can be quite annoying.

Act as if Each “No” Is the First One of Your Day

As a customer service professional you might have to say “no” to clients multiple times on some days, which can also be quite irritating for you to do. No matter how many times you are required to turn down customers, treat each individual case as if it was a new one. This is the only way you can ensure you handle each case fairly and in the most reasonable manner. It is easy to get tired and lose patience, but looking at it this way will help evade your frustrations.

Take Feedback

Asking a customer, even one that is frustrated, for feedback shows that you care about what they think. This may also lead to them venting, or being a little harsh, but be empathetic and listen to what they have to say. Doing this will help you understand what can be done better in the future and will give you scope for improvement.

Customer Service Training Resource