Is NO … a no-no?

Customer Problem ResolvedYES! If possible, it is worth the effort to redirect a customer rather than saying NO.

Customers sometimes become angry when they hear the word “NO,” and may act out. If the remedy to their concerns are not directly under your control, you could suggest that the best person to help them is Mr. Smith and ask if they have time for you to contact that person and escort them to the proper location.

This template offers a potential solution if the needed expertise in within your organization. On the other hand, if you are a small business or department, you may have to solve the customer issue. The simplest template is to ask the customer to state their desired remedy, and more often than not you may be able to provide the solution that the customer desires.

I suggest that there are three (3) circumstances when you may have to say “NO”, without using the word “NO.”

  1. If a customer has purchased a product or service, they deserve the promised or expected performance. Depending on your business, you may not be the best person to fix the problem. For example, a product malfunctions but you do not perform the repair or maintenance. Among the best solutions is the replacement or exchange of the product. If the product is out of warranty, perhaps a “loaner” may be possible, or you may be able to have the repair shop come over to pick up the product so that the customer does not have to make another trip to seek a resolution. You also don’t want the customer to tell others that they had an unsatisfactory business experience with you or your organization.
  2. Forgoing a sale or contract is not pleasant to contemplate. But, there may certain specifications or arrangements that are a bit out of the norm for your business, organization or expertise. The prospective customer or client would appreciate the fact that you were honest an upfront about your capabilities. They will most likely thank you for redirecting them to a provider that actually meets their needs. There is also a reciprocal benefit in establishing a relationship with an organization that may be able to refer business to you or your organization.
  3. You want to be clear about the capabilities of your business or organization. In a positive sense, you want to be very clear about the strengths, capabilities and weaknesses of your organization or department. In the interest of your organizations long-term success, you will want to provide world-class service and products. This is the vital measure of value that is provided to your customers or clients. A clear understanding of your organization’s core competencies will serve as your guidance. This may sound a little melodramatic, but when a person or organization deviates for their core competencies, there is a price to be paid.

Related Articles:   Customer Retention Is King   and   customer service … Be Careful What You Cut!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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