You’re Not Being Helpful When You Say No

I had a couple of experiences with customer service agents in two different companies that serve, for me, as the example of what not to do.

The first was at the Sprint store. A friend of mine had a stroke and several of his friends and I hosted a charity poker tournament to raise money to help him with his expenses. That money went into a bank account specifically designed for such things.

The bank account works like a savings account, so I didn’t have a debit card or checkbook for the account. That made paying my friend’s bill difficult.

I called Sprint first and they couldn’t pull money directly from the account even though I could give them the routing number and account number. So that left me with the only option of paying in person.

I went to the bank and got a cashier’s check and took it into the Sprint store.

The customer service agent told me they don’t take checks. I was incredulous.

I tried explaining that it’s not really a check. It’s certified funds. The bank has guaranteed the money directly to Sprint. Again she said they don’t take checks.

So now I’m pissed. I don’t know what to do and this lady isn’t helping me. All she is telling me is “No.”

I turned and started to walk away when I thought to ask, “Do you take cash?”

She smile brightly and said, “Oh yes!”

Now I’m really pissed.

This is what we call: Not, “No why.” Instead, “Yes how.”

Quite simply, don’t tell your clients or agents, “No, and here are the reasons why the answer is no.”

Instead, say, “Yes, I can do that and here’s how.”

Most people don’t care about the how. They just want the thing done.

I just wanted to pay the cell phone bill and didn’t know how. The customer service agent told me “No, the company won’t let me accept checks.” She should have said, “I would love to help you pay your friend’s bill. Here are the types of payment I can accept here in the store. Will one of those works for you?”

The next time a client asks you a question and your first instinct is to say no, try thinking of how to get that thing done by an alternative method.

One issue I hear often is that a client can’t take off work to attend closing, so they will need an evening closing appointment.

The closers at our title company leave the office at 5:00, but they are willing to drive to the client’s workplace and bring the documents with them for the client to sign.

Surprisingly, when given that option, a lot of clients relent and take the time off work to go to the title company’s office. Isn’t that interesting?

The same is true of our agents. I think of our agents as our team’s clients. Because I draw a salary, I am employed by the team to serve the agents.

Not, “No why.” Instead, “Yes how,” can also be used with the agents. When an agents asks for something, check your schedule and tell them when you’ll be able to complete that task. It’s possible that they don’t want to wait that long and will just do the task themselves. And that’s cool too.

Please do your best to never tell a client, “No.” Find a solution for them that fixes their problem or addresses their need. They’re counting on you to help them.

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