How do you say No to your customers?

Saying no can be difficult thing to do even in everyday relations, but refusing to your customer may be even harder. You have to be very cautious in order to turn down your client’s request in a way that wouldn’t make him go away or write a negative comment on your social media account.

Our support team told us their best practices,

but clients and their requests may vary, depending on the industry.

How do you say no to your customers? Do you have any best practices of handling this kind of situations?


Great question @Lukasz_W :smiley: I think that a lot of people who are working in customer service are afraid of saying no to their customers. When I was working as a Support Hero @ LiveChat, I realized it’s not about saying no. It’s about saying thank you :wink: I mean - there is no worse scenario than showing to the customer that you are not able and not willing to help him. Even if you know that you can’t help him. So what I did instead? Here are some of my practices:

  1. Always ask the customer about the bigger picture and use-case. Sometimes what your customer is reporting as a missing feature is already covered - he/she just doesn’t know about it. Sometimes a bug can be a feature too :sweat_smile: The key here is to explain to the customer why something works in the way it works.

  2. Never ignore the customer. Even if you are sure that a dark theme is not a feature that will be implemented right now (because there are more critical things on the roadmap), let him know that the dev team will receive his/her request. Even a simple Google Sheet where you can aggregate all requests will work here. Just make sure that your customer is aware that his/her request won’t be lost :rocket:

  3. You should always thank the customer for his/her time and valuable feedback :pray:

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We use a guiding principal here when you think you may need to say no. Instead we encourage staff to “tell them what you CAN do, not what you CAN’T”. Sometimes it can be tough to come at the problem in a more positive way, but it definitely helps the client feel like their experience was more positive, since you never outright had to say no.

For example, if someone is looking to book an appointment for Tuesday at 230pm, and there’s nothing available at that time, I don’t say “no, sorry, nothing available”. Instead I would just tell them what we do have available - “I have a 4pm appointment available on Tuesday or I have a 230pm appointment available on Friday. Would either of those work for you?” Giving the client a choice or options, even if it isn’t exactly what they wanted, is much better than a “no” with no solution.


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