Saying No to Customers Without Making Them Angry

Most people don’t like to hear the word “No.” One of the byproducts of hearing “no” is that it often leads to having lengthy conversations. These conversations tend to drag on for hours that result in escalations and angry situations.

While a company can acquiesce to the requests made by most customers, sometimes they wind up saying no to customers. In this post, we will explain how you should say no to customers without making them disheartened and angry.

Saying no to customers

1. Suggest Alternatives

Saying no to customers should never be the end of the story; instead, you should suggest alternatives to your customers when denying a request. Point them to someone who can satisfy their requirements, even if that someone is your close competitor. When your product misses a feature that your customer wants, you should avoid giving false promises and instead provide an alternative solution.

Consider applying the ‘alternative positioning’ technique put forward by Matthew Dixon. In his book, the Effortless Experience, Dixon states that alternate positioning is a strategy to explore alternate options without making the customer aware that they are not going to get their preferred option.

With a little bit of creativity and skilled negotiation, your phone or live chat support personnel will be able to come up with an alternative solution that is acceptable to the customer.

2. Create a Win-Win Situation

Always look for ways to create a win-win situation when saying no to customers. Customers react negatively when their request is denied, since they feel like they are on the losing end of the bargain. According Herb Cohen, author of the bestselling book, “You Can Negotiate Anything,” this creates resentment among customers. Instead, you should offer a solution that creates a win-win situation.

Instead of making customers think that they have been cheated out of their share, you should make the pie large enough so that everyone thinks they have obtained a good share.

3. Don’t Overcompensate

When creating a win-win situation, you shouldn’t try to overcompensate your customers. For instance, you shouldn’t give free goodies to make up for a denied request. This sets a bad precedence that can result in loss for your company in the long run. Instead, offer them something that will not have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line after saying no to customers.

4. Involve Customer to Find the Solution

The customer service personnel should involve the customer in finding out the solution. Consider asking the customer what they believe is the solution to the problem. After saying no to customers, getting input from them can help remove frustration and turn an irate customer into a happy and contented one.

Involving the customer in finding a solution helps them empathize with your company’s point of view. They will get the fuller picture and will back down from their unreasonable demands. Ask questions such as, “How do you think the problem should be resolved?”, “How does this solution sound to you?”, or “What do you think is a reasonable solution to resolve this problem?” This will help the customer feel empowered, thereby making him or her think rationally about the situation.