4 Ways To Politely Say “No” To Your Clients
As a client, has anyone ever told you “No.” If so, how did it make you feel? Did it disappoint you? There are times when we need to tell our clients “no” or give them negative news. It is one of the more unpleasant aspects of the client work. Handling negative comments requires self-control and specific skills. Saying “no” and then continuing a smooth conversation is not an easy thing to do.
When dealing with clients, the words you say to them will either build up your relationship with them or ruin it. This is why it is so important for companies to do this properly across all of their customer service channels. But how can you say “No” without ruining the relationship? The following are 8 tips to help you.
Say “No” without really saying “No.”
Whenever you need to share something negative with a client, you want to demonstrate that you understand their concerns or soften the blow. In most cases, it is not necessary to directly say “No.” Your bad news can be wrapped inside positive ones. The following are a few good tips that can help you create the best positive “No” to use with your clients:
Assert your refusal. When you refuse to deliver or do something that your client is asking for, that doesn’t mean you don’t want to do it. It is just something that is not provided by your company. Carefully explain this to them without giving an empty promise. For example, sorry for this disappointing news, but unfortunately, we did not have plans to implement that feature within the foreseeable future.
Instead of saying, “No,” say, “Yes.” Whenever you can “Yes” to something important to a client, do it. For example, “where can I find the final cuts so I can download them? – “For security purposes, all production work is not stored on our servers. We directly send them to the email that has been defined in our account for that purpose. Our main priority is to protect our clients’ work.”
Provide good news, even when you need to say “No.” Whether you operate an online store or provide a service, there is always something that can be offered to maintain a good relationship. Even when you need to say “No,” see if you can find something they might be interested in. Do your best to provide a positive outcome. For example, “I would be happy to offer you recommendations and extra customization for your next production.”
Before you say “No,” clarify things
Clients talk in a roundabout way sometimes, and it might not be clear initially exactly what they are asking for. Don’t rush to say”No.” Carefully clarify things to avoid any misunderstandings. Ask clarifying questions instead of making sure you understand what they are asking. The following are examples of questions that we use are part of our client communications:
“Can you clarify, I’m not sure I understand what you are asking.”
“If I understand you correctly, you want to…
“Can you confirm, to avoid misunderstanding?”
Start with Empathy
When you use empathy statements, it allows you to establish a connection with your clients. These statements help to create mutual understanding and trust. In most cases, when you must convey negative news, you might have to start with empathy to demonstrate to them that you care and will do your best to assist them. The following are empathy phrases that you can use when you are communicating:
“I understand how frustrating it can be, can I offer you…”
“I completely understand how important this feature is for your business and our highest priority is its development.”
“I would fee the same way if I were in your situation, so let’s see how we can sort this out.”
It is also important to use empathy words such as:
“I completely agree.”
“Please accept our/my apology,” or “I am sorry.”
Carefully explain things
Even if you are busy, don’t leave words unsaid. Make sure you carefully explain everything to your clients, especially if you have to mention anything negative. People need to know that you are listening carefully to their concerns. However, if you tell them “No” with no explanation, they will feel frustrated and upset. However, you can help clear their concerns up if you give them a detailed explanation:
“Please accept our apologies that this feature you are asking for is not available currently. However, it is the highest priority for us and we will do our absolute best to get it implemented as soon as we can.”
“The major reason for that is…”
“Let me explain to you why we are unable to provide this feature right now.”
Don’t be afraid of talking too much. It won’t take a lot of time but can provide your conversation with more positivity.