I think we have become a world of “Mr. No!” Regardless of where I travel, it seems like the first response from others is usually a reason something can’t get done:
- “We are unable to accept that return.”
- “You’ve have the equipment for 31 days, and 30 days is the limit. Sorry!”
- “The airline ticket you purchased is non-refundable, and it really means that we cannot refund it.”
- “While you are a Platinum member on our airline, we cannot give you a First Class seat even though there are 9 available. It’s our policy that you buy a different class of ticket to qualify.”
- “We cannot change the TV channel in the waiting room. Also, it must be on mute.”
I understand that policies and procedures are important. However, many businesses might be taking it too far. I think they are making it harder for customers to do business with them. In most cases, customers feel they will be rejected even before asking a question.
Taking “No” to “Maybe”
Let’s use an example to discuss how we can get to “Maybe”:
ME: I would like to deposit the miles from the New York trip back into my account. Because of scheduling issues, I am unable to make that vacation.
AGENT: Sir, we can possibly re-deposit the miles, but it will cost $150 to do that.
ME: Wow! That’s a big hit! Are you sure?
AGENT: Yes, Sir. We have a clear policy on reward miles that are re-deposited. You’ll get the miles back, but we have to charge the $150.
ME: Sue, I travel this airline frequently. Is it possible the fee can be waived?
AGENT: I’m not sure about that. I’m not allowed to initiate the re-deposit until the fee is paid.
ME: Do you mind asking a supervisor to review the situation? I’m happy to speak with that person, if necessary.
AGENT: If you get give me a second, I can contact my supervisor.
ME: I appreciate that.
AGENT: Dr. Flores, it looks like we can make this one-time exception. We do see here that you travel our airline quite a bit. I’m glad we can make this work for you. Now that the miles are in your account, where would you like to go?
In this particular case, I was able to get from “No” to “Maybe” to “Yes.” I understand this is not always possible, but you must try different approaches. In other words, you should avoid settling for a flat-out rejection. There is usually a way that something can get done.
When you are getting nowhere with one person, you can ask to speak to another individual, such as a supervisor. It’s important to note that you’re not trying to beat the system. You’re merely asking for them to show kindness.
The successful companies today understand that flexibility is important. If you show empathy with your customers, you can expect they will be loyal to your organization. While a small percentage of individuals will take advantage of your nice approach, most customers are honest and will appreciate your thoughtfulness.