Even with the best will in the world sometimes there are things that go wrong; accidents happen, things get missed or events occur that are totally out of our control.
Customers are far more understanding of the situation if they are kept informed or forewarned of any problems. For example, if you know that you’re likely to be busy at certain times of the day, make every effort to let your customers know this. If you let them know when the quieter times are, this not only helps them, it evens out the workload for you too.
When you know something is unavailable; maybe something that is a popular feature or product that is not available for whatever reason, give people as much notice as possible e.g. when booking or on arrival to minimise disappointment.
If you can offer a choice or an alternative this is better than just saying “no”. This might be a great opportunity to introduce your customers to something they haven’t tried before. So instead of saying “no”, “we don’t have that”, “I can’t do that”, “I’m not allowed” aim for “I’ll see what we can do”, “I’m sure we can sort out something”, “How about this instead?” .
If something a customer has asked for is no longer available be sure you can let them know if it will be available later or not at all. What’s the alternative? What can you offer that might be as good as or even better.
If there is a delay, does the customer wait, or do they do something else or have something that doesn’t involve waiting? Let your customers know – is it expected to be a 2 minutes wait or half an hour? Being honest (and not making false promises and under-estimating) allows the customer to make an informed decision.
Take some time to think about this before moving on.
Are there any situations, products or services you frequently have to say no to or disappoint your customers? If so what are the alternatives you could be offering or recommending instead?
It may be helpful to note down your answer, why not discuss with your manager for ideas.