The likelihood of customer service excellence becoming the norm at your company is increased not only via direct behavioral and procedural changes, but also by nurturing the correct mindset, a mindset that will allow you to grow ever closer to delivering the highest level of customer service.
As a customer service transformation consultant and trainer, I’m passionate about getting my client companies to embrace a “Yes is the expectation!” mentality. This concept revolves around the idea that successful businesses operate with an attitude of “yes” when interacting with customers. The answer you’re hoping to give a customer is presumed to be “yes”; you just need to find out what the customer’s question/desire may be. This approach is not limited to resolving complaints, it also includes proactive efforts to delight customers by offering exceptional service.
Developing and nurturing a “Yes is the expectation!” across your company culture is a powerful, transformational principle; it’s perhaps the one that most clearly sets customer-centric companies apart from the rest. When a business operates with a “default of yes” mentality, it creates a culture that prioritizes the needs of customers, fosters trust, and builds brand loyalty.
Of course, some customers are going to make impossible, or at least unfeasible, requests. In these cases, it may not be possible to say “yes” to their demands. However, it is still crucial to provide one or two alternative solutions instead of outright saying “no.” Saying “no” is a dead-end, while offering alternatives leaves the door open for further conversation. It shows that the company is willing to work with the customer to find a mutually acceptable solution.
When faced with scenarios where saying “yes” isn’t possible, it is still possible to soften the rejection by providing an alternative solution or solutions. This approach shows empathy and understanding, which can go a long way in defusing tension and restoring trust.
Providing alternatives when you have to say no is essential in every industry, and it is officially required behavior at the higher ends of hospitality industry. Any hotel striving to achieve a rating of five stars is required to operate with a “never say ‘no’ to a guest without offering one or two reasonable alternatives” mentality. This requirement underscores the value of prioritizing the customer experience in the hospitality industry.
While the “expectation of yes” approach is critical in delivering exceptional customer service, there are, absolutely, exceptions. There are scenarios where you shouldn’t even be trying to get to “yes.” This is when the request has risky safety, health, or security implications. In such cases, it is essential to prioritize the well-being of customers and staff over finding a solution that satisfies them. Misapplying the “default of yes” principle in such situations could have severe consequences, for obvious reasons.
But in scenarios other than these, an expectation of yes is a spectacularly effective component of delivering excellent customer service. And delivering excellent customer service, time after time, customer after customer, makes a business far better equipped to retain customers, generate positive word-of-mouth, and increase revenue.