Saying No

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Saying No                                 
Toddlers are really good at saying no and expressing their needs and desires. As adults, we must behave differently to get along in life and work, but we still need to be able to say “no” in a way that gets respected.
In this lesson, you’ll learn how to say no and deliver unwanted news respectfully and effectively.
When We Say “No”
It is not possible to give everyone everything that they ask for. Sometimes the kindest thing we can do is say no. In the past, customer service rules stated that “no” was never said, but things have changed. We now focus on relationships with our clients, and serving the people who call us and those we call. Part of serving includes honesty and integrity, which means that we cannot always say yes.
Although it is probably easier to work with your clients when you say yes, there are ways to deliver the word “no” that can maintain and build relationships even when you are unable to deliver.
Partners can be creative and work together to solve problems. Before you say no, consider different ideas and work with your partners to see if there is a workable alternative.
Make it a positive experience. Put the no between two positive statements. This reinforces your relationship. Examples include:

  • “I am really glad that you brought this up.”
  • “If there is something that you think of that allows us to work together again…”
  • “I really appreciate your feedback.”

Working on things that you say no to can be a good way for a company to make positive change. Let’s say you have a client that asks for something and you say, “I think that is a great idea, but unfortunately, we do not have the equipment in place at this time.” If you mention that idea to your supervisor and the change is implemented at a later time, you may have a very happy client when you can call him/her to let them know about it.
Delivering Bad News
Here are some ways to deliver bad news in different situations.
The item that the customer is ordering, and needs urgently, has been recalled.
Apologize and let the customer know that you have looked for an alternative or replacement, and provide them with the information.
You have to say no to the customer’s request for a special bonus.
Apologize, if appropriate, and tell the customer what you can do. Explain your reasons for saying no.
The supplier has not delivered to you on time and, as a result, you cannot meet your delivery commitments on time.
Explain politely that you are unable to make your delivery as scheduled. Ask if there is something that you can do to assist your client, since you know that they will not be able to make commitments dependent on your delivery.
You have to tell a client that the price has changed due to a sharp increase in manufacturing costs.
Explain that prices are set, in part, to reflect current costs. Tell the client that you realize that increases are hitting everyone. If the client is upset, offer to extend payment terms or send smaller shipments if your company has authorized you to do so.
You have to tell a customer that, due to the company’s commitment to reduce their carbon footprint, you can no longer ship materials to him.
Emphasize what you can do for the customer: he can come by to pick up shipments when he is in the area, you can put him in touch with a local distributor, or you can provide him with a fact sheet about your commitment to the environment.