Many of us who have worked in customer relations understand the importance of making the customer feel good. We do everything we can to help them get answers to their questions. Some of us, however, do not understand this basic premise in good customer relations. Some of us need to learn how to say yes when the answer is no.
If you ask an airline employee if you can check an extra bag and not pay the fee, the answer is no. Everyone must pay. If you ask a ticket clerk if you can get a senior discount when you are not yet a senior, the answer is no. Only people over a certain age get the discount. If you're about to make a sale and your client asks for more discounts than you can provide, the answer is no. You've got to draw the line somewhere.
Saying yes when the answer is no is not an easy communication skill. In fact you are actually not saying yes. What you are doing is giving the person the satisfied sense of yes even though the answer is no. The Say It Just Right model of communication contains tips for saying yes when the answer is no. Some key points are to show compassion and curiosity. These are two of the Three C's in the model. Compassion tells the other person you really care about them and understand the hardship this rule, policy or your inability to say yes puts them in. Curiosity shows the other person that you want to find a solution; you care about uncovering a way to get to yes even though the answer is no. If you are curious enough to search, you may very well succeed. Here are some additional tips to enable you to say yes, when the answer is no.
For example: Jack to Rachel
Wrong way: "You didn't give me enough notice to change the room set up."
Right way: "I'm concerned that we might not have time to reset the room."
As you work with people and meet these challenges, you'll notice your ability to communicate improve. The Say It Just Right model, which incorporates the Three C's as well as a process for saying it, will help you. Study and practice and before long you'll be able to say yes when the answer is no!