Your existing customers are your most valuable business commodity. Generating a loyal customer is much less expensive than attracting new ones, so it’s important to do everything you can to keep them coming back. But what happens when you can’t do everything your customer is asking for – how do you tell that customer that you can’t meet their request?
Saying No Is Hard
Your natural inclination is to do everything you can to improve your customer’s relationship with your business. But sometimes, a customer may ask for something you simply can’t deliver.
There are three common reasons business owners are hesitant to say no to their best customers.
• You fear damaging your reputation. You don’t want your customers spreading the word that you “don’t value their business.”
• You don’t want to ruin the relationship. The last thing you want to do is ruin the relationship. You need to reset their expectations, diplomatically.
• You don’t want to lose the revenue. Of course, this is the biggest fear. Your priority is doing a good job. Never regret saying no if it’s the right decision.
7 Ways to Say No, and Keep Your Customers
- First, Thank Them – A genuine thank you upfront softens the blow and shows you value them.
- Be Transparent – Be honest. Explain why you can’t fulfill their request. They will respect your honesty.
- Offer an Alternative – If you can’t fulfill their request, make a counter offer. Either create a workaround or refer them to someone else out there who can help.
- Follow-up With Them – If they do end up going with a competitor, don’t let them go without further discussion. Stay in touch.
- Share Helpful Content – Keep in touch with them by sharing content you know is helpful. They’ll understand that you’ll go the extra mile and you’ll stay on their radar.
- Stay Connected – Follow them on social media. That way you can keep up to date on their needs, and offer to help when you can.
- Reach Out – Again, you don’t want to come on too strong, but if you can help them, let them know.
Saying no to any customer is difficult, but you need to do what is best for your business, as well as your customers. Staying helpful, offering alternative solutions, and staying in touch can help you to retain your clients, or win them back!