People are used to being told no, but that doesn’t mean they want to hear it from the small business that they trust. However, sometimes it’s necessary to say no, even when you don’t want to. Most of the time you can say it in such a way that will help you work with your client, and instead of losing one over “no,” you can encourage an even deeper professional relationship with them. “No” doesn’t have to end the partnership if it’s said the right way. Check out the following tips to help you make a decision on how to tell a customer they aren’t going to get what they requested.

Empathize with What You’re Telling Your Customer

So you tell a customer you can get them something by next week, and now you have to tell them that the product is out of stock until further notice. You know that this customer in particular was really looking forward to the shipment of this product, and now they won’t get it at all until who knows when. How would you like to be treated if you weren’t going to get the answer you expected? You’d probably want to be respected and told that it’s understandable if you’re upset. Do the same for your client. Let them know you understand their situation and would love to help in any way possible so that together, you can come up with a satisfactory solution.

What’s Your Best Alternative?

So your computer goes down in the wee hours of the morning, and you’re a hotel clerk. Someone comes in to check in because their flight was late and they couldn’t get there any earlier. You can’t contact anyone because no one’s awake, and you have to think on your feet. Generally, offering the customer another room free of charge is an excellent alternative in this situation, and take them on their word that they were supposed to check in that night. Deal with the issue tomorrow; don’t let a customer stand there for an hour while you try to reach a manger. Explain yourself in the morning instead and satisfy the customer now.