Last week, Seth Godin wrote a post about his experience trying to rent a movie in London. The frustrating thing for Seth is that he didn’t care where he rented the movie from or what the movie cost, but the movie store employee simply said, “Oh, you’re from the US. You can’t rent here.” Seth goes on to explain that while he understands that companies have certain policies (as well they should), it would have been helpful (and perhaps easier) for the employee to offer a suggestion of where Seth could go to rent the movie, rather than say “no” and let Seth stand there and argue with him for a few minutes.
I’ve written before about the importance of removing the word “no” from your company’s vocabulary. While it’s true that your business can’t (and shouldn’t) be all things to all people, your business can definitely be helpful to everyone, even if it means sending the customer down the street to a competitor. Every opportunity your company has to interact with an individual is an opportunity to provide good service (and an opportunity to strengthen your brand).
I got a call on Friday from a gentleman who was looking to create a website with a video-chat streaming service, and he wanted it up “last week.” I don’t have experience with video streaming or chatting services, and my schedule will not currently allow me to take on rush projects, so knew that I would not be able to accommodate him. Rather than respond, “no, I can’t do that for you,” I thought about others I may know that can do this type of service. When no one came to mind, I made a couple of quick Internet searches and came across a company that licenses a product that is exactly what he is looking for. My response to the caller was something like, “Thank you for your call this morning. This is not really the type of service that I offer, but it looks like there is a company called (company) whose product you can license for your own website….”
Later that day, the caller sent me an email back saying, “thank you so much, you’ve been very helpful.” That’s a lot better than having someone frustrated with my company because I simply said, “no!”
So how have you avoided saying “no” recently and instead helped someone find the solution to their problem?