It can be really difficult saying no to a customer. My first reaction at a ridiculous client request is fear. What if I lose the client or hurt their feelings? Will saying no give me a bad reputation? Is this poor customer service? As someone who hates conflict, it is just much easier to say yes. But I ended up with too much on my plate and my customer service began to dwindle. This motivated me to realize that saying no is okay. The client has a right to ask a question and you have the right to answer in your business’s best interest.
1. Make sure you understand what the client is saying
Don't jump to conclusions until you are absolutely sure what the client is asking or saying. Misunderstandings will simply lead to drama. Ask the client to clarify or explain what they mean. When you know exactly what they are asking, you can deal with the request accordingly.
2. Be empathetic.
Let your client know that you understand their situation - this fosters a connection between you and your client and a better understanding of each other's position. Show your clients that you care, before you approach saying no.
3. Say ‘no’ without actually saying ‘no’
Don’t immediately say no -this will come across as blunt and perhaps even a bit harsh. You will come across as uncaring and you definitely don’t want that. It is possible to reject a request without saying the word 'no'. The best is to wrap the bad news in something positive. Kind of like softening the blow a bit. Provide them with helpful information and then throw in the bad news.
4. Give reasons for saying no
Giving your clients an explanation helps them to understand why you are saying no. You are not just saying no to be difficult. There is a legitimate reason for your response. Provide your side of the story to reassure your client you can not accept their request even if you wanted to.
5. Provide a solution.
Let your client know that you take what they said seriously and that you will relay their suggestions to the manager, owner or head office. Assure them that you will consider their opinion in your next staff meeting. This softens the initial 'no' and makes the client feel as if they are being taken seriously. You may even want to give them a counter offer or find some middle ground, where you both are satisfied with the outcome. Once you have given them a counter offer and they refuse to accept, saying no will be so much easier. Customer service is vital to the longevity of your salon, so ensure that you remain friendly and helpful.
6. Remain assertive.
If you client is seeing your opinion sway, they will take advantage of that and continue with their demands longer than necessary. "Thank you for your suggestion. Unfortunately, we will not be implementing this in the near future, but we will definitely be discussing your suggestion at our next staff meeting." Be assertive, polite and remain professional.
7. Make sure to do a follow up
Contact your clients to provide them with any additional information or solutions to do with their request. If your client asked for a discount, let them know about an upcoming special.
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