How to decline a customer request

How to decline a customer request

Have you ever had to decline a customer request?

How do you respond when someone makes a request that is not normally something that you do?  Do you instantly say no, not possible?  Or do you take a moment to consider whether it is something that you would consider helping them with?

Rather than just saying no, consider saying that you will look into it for them and get back with a response at a later time.  This has two benefits.

The first is that you show them respect for their request by not dismissing them instantly.  This can have a far better lasting impression than a straight out no that leaves them unsure of where to go or what to do next.

Too many businesses refuse to stray from the straight and narrow and therefore miss opportunities that are lying right under their noses.  They are too quick to say no, we don’t do that and leave the enquirer feeling dismissed with care and consideration.

Even if you decide that the request is not something that you can deal with, you can go back and let the person know that you have taken the time to consider it, but it is not something that you can personally help with.

It may, however, be the case that you can refer them on to someone else who can help.  This provides value to the person and also to any businesses that receive a referral, all of whom may remember you for your help in the future and feel the need to repay the compliment.  There may even be an opportunity for starting up collaborative working with another business that will pay future dividends to you both.

The second benefit is that by considering requests that are outside of your normal remit gives you an opportunity to consider whether it is something that you could actually incorporate as a product or service into your business.  This could become another revenue stream that you had not previously thought of.

We get all too caught up with our day to day running of our businesses and can sometimes not see the wood for the trees.  By listening to requests, and dealing with them in the appropriate manner, we can find opportunities that may have otherwise passed us by.

Next time you get a request for something that you don’t currently offer, rather than instantly decline a customer, stop and think for a moment as to how you can turn it into a future opportunity for your business whilst providing great customer service at the same time.