Growing up in the family restaurant business has made me somewhat overly hospitable at times. I was taught ‘great’ customer service very early in life. The customer is always right, and with this, I was mentally shaped into a bit of a passive-aggressive YES-Man. It was very hard to shake, even in my personal life. I would say ‘Yes’ a lot to my friends and family without any confidence if I could or would, follow through on that word. Throughout my early work life, it backfired on me, a lot. By saying ‘Yes’ to something I wasn’t confident that I was able to achieve, I set myself up to fail.
Firstly, I had to actually contemplate why I did this, saying yes when I felt I shouldn’t have. In business, particularly, it could be the fear of hurting a client’s feelings, the fear of showing weakness to my team and most importantly, the fear of losing the client. I realised none of this is true.
Experience has changed me, particularly in my years here at Digital Noir. I realised saying no isn’t a bad thing, it can actually be a really good thing, here’s why:
Transparency & Trust
Clients actually appreciate this more than businesses know. By not being a yes-man and speaking up to say ‘no’ to things, you show transparency and indicate trust. You show preemptive thinking and a side that cares about the actual product.
‘No’ is Actually Good Customer Service
Saying yes to everything puts a lot of promises on your plate to deal with. If you can’t come through on all your promises, then by default you have delivered BAD customer service. Saying no does not equal bad customer service.
Ending up with a better product
By not always saying yes to everything, you’re constantly on guard for systems and ideas that aren’t logical or productive. You can spot these problems early and solve them, ending up with a much better product that works.
It Weeds Out The Unreasonable
If the client gives the ‘I just want it done’ response to a problem that can’t be solved or a request that is unrealistic, then there is probably not much you can do. There is nothing wrong with that.
All that being said, I’m not saying you should be a Debbie-downer and start saying ‘no’ to everything a client requests. Just pause, and contemplate your response. Be honest and compassionate, be realistic about what’s achievable and show the clients you care. This will always benefit your business in the long run.
Trust me when I say, a muttered ‘yeh’ 6 months ago can come back and haunt you.