How To Improve Customer Service In One Step: Say "Yes!"


Have you ever noticed that there are yes-people and no-people out there?

When asked a to do something, yes-people tend to try to please, and say, “Yes, I can do that!” (Normally before actually figuring out if they can or not.) Then, they do whatever they can to make sure it happens.

When asked the same question, however, no-people tend to think of all the reasons they can’t do something, and their initial response is, “No, that won’t work.” Some even say no without checking. It’s almost like they have to be coerced to go through a list of options when it comes to getting something done.

In life, there are pros and cons to each.

(In life, that is.)

When it comes down to business, there are really only cons to being a no-person. You don’t want no-people interacting with your customers... period. Never ever.

It’s a big deal. A no-person can single-handedly turn away a customer every time he or she says, “No way.” So not only do you not want it, you can’t afford it.

You really only have one option: becoming a yes-person for your business.

So, what are you? A yes-person or a no-person?

If you’re a no-person (or an in-the-middle-person), becoming a yes-person for your business is going to take some work. But don’t worry, it’s possible. When a customer asks for something, and your first inclination is to say no, don’t panic! Just remember these two things:

The customer isn’t always right... but it’s important to make them feel like they aren’t wrong.

The customer is coming to you for help because they believe that it is your responsibility to take care of their problem, whatever it might be. They already feel like they’re right, and you’re not going to convince them otherwise. So don’t try!

Sometimes all you want is the satisfaction of knowing that someone understands why you did something you did, or why your policies are the way they are. And, don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for that. But resist the urge to defend yourself to customers.

To make this work, you have to do some sacrificing. You have to put the customer above yourself. Remember that it doesn’t matter that the customer walks away understanding your own personal point of view. What matters is that they walk away feeling like you were as helpful as you could possibly be.

Think before you speak, and only say “no" if you have to.

Instead of jumping right in and saying whatever comes out, think first. What can I do to help this customer? Okay, if that won’t work, what else could I do? And so on. Exhaust every option on the list before you say no. Use “no” as a last resort. And even in those circumstances, be creative.

What if you changed your entire customer service model? Shep Hyken, customer service expert, writes about a strict “yes policy” that Ace Hardware has in this brief post.

At Ace Hardware... one of the tactics that many of the retailers have adopted is a concept called “One to Say Yes and Two to Say No. The concept is simple. At Ace, a single associate (employee) can’t just say “No” without exhausting all options. Furthermore, it takes two people to say “No” to the customer. In other words, “No” requires the approval of a manager.

Can you imagine? Having to get a manager’s approval to say no? It’s completely backward from what we’d normally think. But it gets employees to think about every way to say yes, since they know that saying no is against policy.

Being a yes-person doesn’t just make the customer happy... it plays a major role in your business’s future success.

Leadership expert, Dr. Paul Gerhardt, says this...

Saying yes is like an investment that can pay huge dividends in loyalty, productivity, networking, marketing and friendship. It is all about staying positive and helping people know how truly valuable they are to you.

“Yes” leads to trust. Trust leads to loyalty. And loyalty leads to long-time customers.

In what ways have you seen “saying yes” work for you?