Would you ever say NO to a customer? Here’s one time you should

My two boys played three different sports during high school and, as it happens, there were times when they needed to visit the athletic trainer because of an injury. If you want a lesson in how to treat your internal customers, come to my boy’s high school and see a pro in action! The Head Athletic Trainer, Christina, takes her job very seriously, is always concerned about “her kids” as she calls them, and is focused on doing the very best she can to get them healthy again.

Saying “yes” and sometimes “no” to customers

Christina is 100% about the student athletes—her customers—and ensuring that they are getting the best care and attention needed. And part of that is sometimes saying what the customer DOESN’T want to hear—“You are not ready to play yet.” You see, taking care of customers is knowing when to say “yes” and when to say “no” because, in this case, it is about getting the athlete better and keeping them healthy.

Although she is known for playing it safe vs. taking risks—which can frustrate players, coaches, and even parents at times—her code of ethics and responsibility always wins people over in the long run. Many a time has a coach, parent and player thanked her for her dedication and thoroughness after the fact.

Working in the best interests of the customer

Christina never loses sight of who her customers are—the student athletes—and does whatever it takes to make sure that they feel cared for. In fact, she often calls a parent or student over the weekends, as well as check in with doctors to see how her patients are doing! In return, the sign of her customer loyalty is displayed by the number of athletes that show up in her office to eat their lunch and chat. They know they are always welcome there and feel comfortable just hanging out.

As a parent of two student athletes over the years at this high school, I am so grateful to have her as our athletic trainer and thank her for her professionalism and servant heart. And I know from having two sons that have been in her care, that her “customers” appreciate her as well!

About the author:

Kathy Cuff is one of the principal authors—together  with Vicki Halsey—of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Legendary Service training program.  Their customer service focused posts appear on the first and third Thursday of each month.

5 thoughts on “Would you ever say NO to a customer? Here’s one time you should

  1. I agree with you: Saying “no” to customers sometimes is the best thing to do.

    Client seeks especially in consultant a confirmation of the strategy and support to pursuit. But just because you’re an external party, you can see things from a different angle and just because you’re there to support, saying no can be the right option.

  2. Pingback: How I see the world – Saying no to customers

  3. The relationship you have with your customer is arguably the most important aspect of your business. Saying ‘no’ is a vital part of establishing trust with the customer; however the example given above does not involve any financial aspect. Where many consultants, especially those representing larger organisations, go wrong is that they either allow their decisions to be influenced through the desire to make money, or they feel pressured because of the emphasis placed on revenue generation by their line managers. This is a short sighted view, while saying ‘no’ may lose you an income generation opportunity in the short term, client ‘trust’ is enhanced and they are more likely to return to you in the future. @chrischanner1

  4. Building trust through wise advice and honesty about what is viable for the client is key for long term relationship development- some people (companies) relay their business on different type of objective (money/ turnover, etc) and not having additional KPI makes it difficult for employees to justify saying “no” sometimes.

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