Creating a Positive Customer Experience Even when the Answer is No

Creating a positive customer experience is a fluid process, one with plenty of intricacies that need to be learned and cultivated.  That said, it doesn’t matter how many people you deal with, or who you’re dealing with – when somebody makes a request, they don’t want to hear the word “no”.

Customer service representatives aren’t usually trained as thoroughly as they could be on how to deal with insistent clients, or on how to reject a client’s request without saying “we can’t do that” or downright telling them “no”.  So what’s the big deal?  If your business doesn’t do something, or can’t do something, then the customer should be informed directly, right?  That’s just the thing, not many people are in favor of direct language as much as you might think.  In fact, most people say that they want to be told something directly, but the reality of their preferences are just the opposite.

So how do you go about informing customers that you can’t fulfill their specific request?  How can you let them down easy, and without saying that dreaded word they hate to hear?


The Power of Redirecting

Imagine that a customer makes a request of you or one of your customer service agents, one that you know you can’t reasonably fulfill.  Now, imagine that request is like a physical mass in motion.  Is it easier to stop a moving object dead in its tracks, or is it easier to simply adjust the path and let it continue?

To break it down and make it even more simple, not only do you build more resistance by saying “no”, but it also creates friction between the relationship that your customer has with your business.  So instead of saying “no”, you or one of your customer service employees can simply state what you can do as an alternative.

Does that sound like saying “no”?  It basically is, but without saying it.  This isn’t a process created for the sake of mincing words, but one that’s designed to work through the psychological blocks that most people have set up in their mind.  If you outright deny a customer their request, it’s like taking the wind out of their sails.  They might get upset, angry, or sad, but whatever it is they feel, it isn’t good for them or your business.

Simply give them an alternative, explain what you CAN do.  This is redirecting their focus while giving them options.  Some customers will be adamant about you fixing their problem in a particular way, but when you present them options as to what you can do in a friendly and professional manner, you’ll find a great deal of them calm down and choose from the options presented.

Your customer service agents can bring about a positive customer service experience in a great number of ways.  Just remember that keeping “no” away from your clients is in the best interest of all parties.  They feel more in control, empowered, understanding their options, and in giving them that control you establish your business as a trustworthy service provider for them to return to again in the future.


About the author


John is a copywriter at Intradiem. He has a background in print and broadcast journalism and digital marketing with emphasis on technology.

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