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How to Say “No” to Your Customers When You REALLY Need to

Say No to Your Customers

Say No to Your Customers

You know the drill—it is imperative to concede to every request of the customer because ‘the customer is always right’. With that, you should never say ‘no‘ to your customers, right?


In some cases, you will have to say “no” to your customers, as a customer representative you can only do so much.

However, customer service should still be demonstrated even when saying “no” to customers. It is possible to remain professional and competent in spite of doing so.

So how exactly do you go about this?

I have listed 6 tips that will help you on saying ‘no’ to your customers, when you really need to:

1. Validate their frustrations.

It’s a fatal mistake to ignore your customers frustrations, because you know that at the end of the call, you will have to tell them “no”. Telling them to calm down will only make things worse. Instead, you can say I understand that this is a frustrating situation for you…”

You may not be able to follow through with your customers’ expectations, but you can always make them feel that you recognize their frustrations, and have their best interests in mind despite you saying “no” to their requests.

2. Apologize.

A simple “I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you” can go a long way. While you’re not likely to comfort your customers by giving them a pat on the shoulder, you are, however, expected to empathize with them and apologizing is one way of doing so.

3. Explain the Reasoning 

You’d be doing a great disservice to your customers if they have to do all the guesswork.

Your customers will surely appreciate it if you take the time to carefully explain the situation. Always remember that you are positioned as “someone who knows better” in these matters so your customers deserve an explanation.

4. Offer Alternatives.

In cases where you are left with no other option but to say “no” to your customer, you have to make them feel like you are with them and not against them. Be on their side by offering other plausible solutions and alternatives. Anyone in the customer service field must develop a follow up strategy so the customer doesn’t leave empty handed.

Instead of saying “I’m sorry, there is absolutely nothing I can do about this”, try sharing with them other solutions and options to their requests.

5. Emphasize your intention to help.

Customer support doesn’t have to end once you say “no” to the customer.

You must always put emphasize your desire to help the customer. Make it clear that even when you are refusing a certain request, you’d still like to help them in any way you can.


Your customer support team can only do so much. However, saying “no” to your customers doesn’t necessarily have to end in disappointment.

With the right techniques in place, you can end the phone call with your customers feeling satisfied with the support that you provided.

Do you have any tips for saying “no”?  If so, leave them in the comments below, we can all learn from each other.

Photo courtesy – ©Konstantin Pelykh / Dollar Photo Club

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