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6 Best Ways to Say No without Losing a Customer

Regardless of how great your product/service is, there will be customers who will say that it's missing something that could make their experience fabulous. Listening to your customer's feedback is important. But you have to validate every idea/request and sometimes say no.

Keep reading if you want to learn when it's OK to refuse and how you can do it without hurting the image of your brand and relationship with customers.

When is it OK to refuse?

Being able to gracefully refuse to a customer and protect the company's interests is a valuable skill. But first, let's take a look at the circumstances in which you should exercise your powers of “no”.

When the request goes against company policy

As a support rep, you will deal with customers who do their best to get a discount or a special offer, especially if they are reaching out with a complaint. However, trying to placate a customer you might go against company policy. In the lond run, this might work against you and even cost you your job.

Deciding whether you should yield or not, ask yourself:

  • Is this something that my boss would approve?
  • Is there a risk to be blamed for unfairness?

When a customer asks for a unicorn

Let's say, you recently updated the UI. Shortly after the update, you hear customers complaining about the new look and demanding to get the old one back. Obviously, that is not going to happen. Just like unicorns. In the case, it's OK to say no.

If the request goes against the company's vision, goals, values; or simply will take too many resources on your side, it's OK to reject it. However, don't just say no. Take ownership of the case and ask if there's any other way you could help. For instance, if users are unhappy with the new UI, direct them to a knowledge base, offer a free webinar, or any other content that could help relieve. their pain.

When the case takes too much time and effor

There's no traffic on the extra mile

However, how much extra mile is too much?

It's OK to occasionally put in some extra hours to solve a customer's problem. But to stay sane, you have to set boundaries. Taking up an unreasonable or lengthy request, you will expend the time and effort you could've devoted to helping other customers or making a more valuable contribution.

Moreover, if the customer is being abusive then maybe you should break up. For the customers you do want to keep, consider the below pieces of advice.

5 ways to say No and leave a customer satisfied

#1 Call for clarification

More than often clients explain their problem too vaguely. This is not another problem, and this is an opportunity for you - ask for more details about what makes them upset. It may turn out that you could do nothing to help them, but the clients will be pleased that they were heard and the company cares about their opinion.

Besides, in that situation, you may figure out a solution for a customer issue that wasn’t seen at the beginning of a request. So, once you said no to a customer, make sure you ask what job the customer wants to accomplish with the requested feature. Such interactions may deliver valuable insights for a business roadmap.

#2 Honesty is the best policy

Fight with the tempting to tell a customer that the request will be passed on and reviewed by a product team. It is better to say no and upset a client than to tell a sweet story and make them believe that they have suggested a valuable idea. People can feel insincerity and once they spot it - that brings no good for company reputation. So be honest upfront.

#3 Say No using positive language

Positive language is a rich source for saying a direct “no” without using this word itself. The trick is in how you explain it. Instead of saying “No, we don’t support that”, you may response “I understand how this may be useful for you, but I’m afraid we don’t plan to add this feature,” or “In the nearest future that can be done, but we appreciate for your time and sharing with us what you were looking for. Thanks for reaching out!” In point of fact, a straightforward, positive language will either open a door for the future opportunities and ensure a customer that this request was not a complete waste of time.

#4 Make your customer heard

In the digital age, we have numerous benefits, but we still lack the personal communication. No wonder that customers appreciate a support service agent that makes them feel sometimes heard more than the support service rep that fixes the issue. Be sympathetic during the interaction and even you have already said no, thanks to the customers for they have let you know what they were looking for. Despite the problem or request, people have spent their time to get in touch with you, so be grateful for their efforts and time.

#5 Suggest the alternative solution

Every business aims to satisfy customer needs and have happy returning customers. But it happens that you don’t support feature or can’t offer anything to solve the issue. To avoid the situation when both sides ended up disappointed and will be unlikely to repeat the experience, you can show goodwill and point to another workaround or a competitor. How will you benefit from this? This short-term loss may result in loyalty and WOM marketing that attracts new customers.


The general truth about “Customer is always right” can be a little bit updated and it is okay to say no to a customer. Besides, you should work out for yourself the boundaries and understand when is the right time to say no. On the plus side: the positive language can make your “no” sound like “yes” and come out as an aspect that makes your company a reputation of a brand that cares.

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