We find it hard to say “No” to customers, even though we know that we’re getting ourselves into difficult situations. It’s because of the fear of losing customers and gaining the reputation that we don’t “value their business.” While it’s good to do everything in your power to improve customer experience, you can’t do it at the expense of compromising your business standards and policies. It helps to remember that you are saying “No” to the job, not your customer. With that in mind, here are 4 ways to say “No”.
1. Begin by saying “Thank You”
When you begin by showing sincere gratitude to your customers, it takes the sting out of the rejection. This shows that you care about your customers and appreciate them choosing your services over others.
2. Honesty is the best policy
Be transparent when you explain to your customers why their request can’t be fulfilled at this time. Refrain from being overly defensive or apologetic in your explanation. If you lie or come up with false excuses, you can be exposed if the customer decides to investigate further, and this will damage your reputation. No matter whether your customer takes the rejection well or not, honesty is still the best policy when explaining why you’re saying “No.”
3. Providing alternatives
When you receive an order you don’t usually get, you don’t have to reject it right away. You could propose a counteroffer that is workable for you and achieves the customer’s goals at the same time. One of the ways is stating outright the cost and estimated time for you to complete the job on your terms. This way, should the customer decide to go through with it, you are getting paid for what you’re worth on your terms.
Or, you can produce part of the order and contract another part to another decorator. This is a win-win solution if you are sharing business with other decorators. Otherwise, your best option is to look outwards for other decorators that can fulfill their needs. It may seem counter-intuitive, but you should refer your customer to a competitor that you trust. It demonstrates that you care enough to find a solution for your customers, even when you’re not accepting their business at the moment.
4. Don’t forget about them
Even when you have passed the customer to a fellow competitor that accepts the job, it doesn’t mean that you have truly lost that customer’s business. You can still drop a message to check on how they are working with the competitor. You could keep them in your email newsletter or send them useful information you believe will benefit them. These little things add up to your customer service experience in the long run. Even if you have lost that customer, it still pays because you have parted ways on good terms. Who knows, they might refer other customers to you in the future!
Saying “No” is difficult. As decorators, we are wired to think that we have to accept every job that comes along. But there are some needs that your business just can’t fulfill, or you risk jeopardizing your business. By constructing your response with the tips above, you will have no problem saying “No” to your customers.