How to say ‘no' to your customers and still provide great service

Asia's Tech News Daily

Business, Customer, Client (computing)

I’ve worked in customer-facing roles in the retail and hospitality industries, and now I’m a freelance writer. In all three roles, I quickly learned that there are plenty of times when the customer is most decidedly not always right.

But even when they’re dead wrong, what do you do?

As a service-based business owner, I pride myself on delivering exceptional customer service, and I’ve learned how to create a strong client experience while also standing my ground. Here are my tips for how to walk that fine line as a service provider.

1. Don’t fall for an ambush

In order to stand your ground, you need to be prepared. Being caught off guard is a one-way ticket to being taken advantage of.

Here’s an example. I had a contract to write some website copy. I followed all of the instructions (including vague and frankly strange ones like “write sexy like James Bond”). I got great feedback from the client, and the project was complete.

Then the client “wanted to talk.” They insisted on a phone call at a ridiculous hour and refused to talk by email. I woke up at 6 a.m. for the call, and they promptly informed me they’d been working with two copywriters at once — and they liked the other person’s copy more. Ok, no problem. Except they didn’t want to pay me what we’d agreed upon, even though I’d completed the work exactly as specified.

It was an ambush. I knew it then, but I was too flustered to do much about it. They demanded an answer right away, and because I was still building my client base, I wanted to be agreeable. I said yes, I would take a discounted rate, and walked away with only half of the amount I had rightfully earned.

It was a mistake: the correct and only answer was no — to the call initially and to the request of a discounted rate. We had a contract, I delivered, and I even got positive feedback. I hadn’t been participating in some competition; it was a job, and I did it.

Since then, I’ve had a few (now ex-) clients try to rattle me with last-minute calls or Zoom meetings to try to increase the scope of work without payment. I stick to email, and it prevents an ambush.

If you’re ever caught off guard, try saying something like: “Let me consider it, and I’ll get back to you through email later today.” Maybe you’ll decide they’re being reasonable — and that’s fine — but it puts you back in control of the decision.

2. Communicate standard policies upfront

If you communicate your policies right off the bat, you’ll have something really clear to point to when standing your ground, which makes it a lot less fuzzy.

For example, one of my standard policies is that my prices include one round of revisions that allows for up to 15% changes in the text. I made this policy because I had clients who would approve outlines and then ask for multiple rounds of edits that completely revamped the entire post — they didn’t know what they wanted, and even if they were well-intentioned, it ended up losing me money.

Sometimes clients still ask for multiple rounds of edits. But I stick to my policies and let them know we can either use the existing edit or I can charge more for additional revisions.

For your most important policies, I’d suggest reminding clients a couple of times: once when they first sign on and then again when you start your first “project” with them (for me, that’s when I submit my first draft).

3. Put everything in writing

I essentially run my entire business through email. There are a few reasons for that:

  • It’s convenient
  • It prevents those ambushes I mentioned earlier
  • Most significantly, it allows me to keep a record of all communications

There’s no confusion when I can literally point to what I or the client said in an email two months earlier. Even after client onboarding calls, I send a written summary of everything we discussed and ask the client to confirm that the details are correct.

Of course, if you’re in a situation where you need to show your clients that you’re right, do it delicately. Here’s my go-to response:

I completely understand where you’re coming from, but for reference, I’ve attached the original email where you approved having this blog post be 1,500 words. Please let me know if you have further questions.

No one can argue with that, so you’re able to protect yourself while ensuring the client that you’re not trying to pull the wool over their eyes.

4. Know your boundaries in advance

Boundaries are hard: in life, at an office job, and especially when you’re running a business. When I started my business, I had no boundaries. I felt like I couldn’t say no to anything — it cost me money and was terrible for my mental health.

When I realized what was happening, I realized I needed to officially set some boundaries. They didn’t have to be part of my standard client-facing policies, but I needed to write them down for myself and stick to them.

I started delineating what I would always say yes to (e.g., NDAs) and what I would always say no to (e.g., non-competes). This means:

  • I don’t get every time I’m faced with a client request that I’m not sure is fair — I just follow my own boundaries
  • I have a clear understanding for myself of what’s good for me and my business, and I don’t accidentally lose sight of that for edge cases

I had a client, for example, who emailed me because a post with my byline mentioned one of their competitors. That mention had been added by my editor — I had no idea what the client was even talking about.

They asked me to remove the mention. I said I couldn’t: my editor put it there, and I don’t own the content. They then asked me to sign a non-compete that would be “at our discretion at any point” for direct and indirect competitors. This was a client who hired me for 3% of my annual income, and they wanted almost full control over my client relationships.

I’d really liked working with this client, but I said no. It meant I lost the client. And it hit: it was right at the beginning of the pandemic. But I had a clear boundary I’d established for myself long ago — no non-competes — so I confidently knew that I was making the right choice.

It’s worth reviewing your boundaries (and your policies) every so often to be sure they’re still relevant and meaningful for the current stage of your business, but don’t do it so often that they’re no longer helping you stand your ground.

5. Remember that clients who walk aren’t a good fit

Not all clients will be a fit for your business — and if they aren’t, it will be almost impossible to deliver the experience they’re looking for.

If you have a potential client that’s trying to get you to do something that doesn’t align with your skills, your contract, your availability, or your agreed-upon deliverables after you’ve said no, walk away.

I had a client who requested more content than I had time for one month. I told them I could write two blog posts for them, but I wouldn’t be able to do the website copy they requested. They continued even after I’d said no, and even accused me of “letting greed block my blessings.” I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and explained how the site copy would take four times as long as the blog posts, but even then, they said I should cut my Christmas break short to make time.

That was the end of that client relationship — and that’s ok. Losing a client is never easy, but if it’s not a good fit, you’re better off for it.

More than 90% of all of the clients I’ve worked with as a freelance writer have been exceptional, and all of my long-retaining clients are a dream to work with. But there will always be clients with unreasonable expectations. Others will blatantly try to take advantage of you. And some will simply misremember or misunderstand something to the point where you risk a potential issue.

Knowing how to stand your ground — both proactively and after the fact — allows you to keep your business running smoothly while offering great customer service at the same time.

This article by Ana Gotter was originally published on the  and is republished here with permission. You can read the original article .

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related


Our favorite video editing app has just been named Apple's iPad App of the Year

Apple has just announced its App Store Awards 2021, which highlight its favorite apps and games of the year – and our best video editing app has just won its ... Read more »

Apple has a crafty plan to crack the business market

Apple wants businesses to upgrade their Mac devices with a new business offer it hopes many companies won’t be able to refuse. The company is preparing a business-only offer through ... Read more »

Fossil remains of a herd of 11 dinosaurs discovered in Italy

A treasure trove of fossils belonging to a herd of 11 dinosaurs has been identified for the first time in Italy, including the biggest and most complete dinosaur skeleton ever ... Read more »

Northern Lights Dance Across Alaskan Night Sky

A Fairbanks-based photographer captured a mesmerizing display of the aurora borealis lighting up the starry night sky over Alaska’s White Mountains. This footage, which Andrew Witteman said he took on ... Read more »

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Stepmother and partner found guilty of killing son, 6, after months of abuse

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes murder trial A stepmother and father who abused and poisoned six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes and left him with an 'unsurvivable' brain injury have been found guilty over his death. ... Read more »

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes: Murdered boy's mother was jailed for her boyfriend's killing

Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow (West Midlands Police ) The mother of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes had herself been jailed for stabbing her own partner to death in a drink and drug-fuelled rage. Arthur’s father ... Read more »

Britain records 53,945 COVID-19 cases, highest since July

Morning rush hour, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London By Alistair Smout LONDON (Reuters) -Britain recorded 53,945 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest daily figure since July ... Read more »

Square follows in Facebook's footsteps with name change to Block

Payments giant Square has announced that will change its name to Block in much the same way as Facebook recently rebranded as Meta. As the Square brand has become synonymous ... Read more »

New Western Digital 30TB HDDs could be on the horizon

Western Digital (WD) doesn’t expect hard disk drives (HDD) to go out of vogue anytime soon, and in fact hopes to deliver disks with capacities of up to 30TB in ... Read more »

What are pros and cons of whole-genome sequencing for every UK baby?

Photograph: John James/Alamy What is the current newborn screening? All babies in the UK are offered the “heel prick” or blood spot test at around five days old to screen ... Read more »

Microsoft vs Google browser fight gets ugly with Edge pop-up Chrome diss

Microsoft has fired more flak at the Chrome browser, trying to persuade those who are attempting to download Google’s web browser that Edge is a superior piece of software. As ... Read more »

What time will Hawkeye episode 4 be released on Disney Plus?

When is Hawkeye episode 4 coming to Disney Plus? If you’ve watched the first three episodes of Marvel’s latest TV show so far, you likely want to know the answer. ... Read more »

Scientists use stem cells to create models of pre-embryos

The Associated PressThis image, provided by the Institute of Molecular Biology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, shows a human “blastoid” created in a lab. A new study in Nature ... Read more »

Tottenham vs Brentford live stream: how to watch Premier League on Amazon Prime and abroad

He’s been in charge for a month but due to postponements and European commitments it feels like the Antonio Conte era is yet to really get going. Can he tget ... Read more »

New embryo research could improve IVF rates and pave way for non-hormonal pill

IVF of a female egg through microscope (Getty Images/iStockphoto) New research could pave the way for creating a non-hormonal form of contraception and improve success rates of IVF. Scientists at ... Read more »

Gene therapy pioneer developing cure for dementia raises $80m for clinical trials

(Dan Kitwood/Getty) A biotech spun out of King’s College London has raised $80 million (£56 million) to fund clinical trials of its “revolutionary” gene therapies with the potential to cure ... Read more »

This two-pack of wireless chargers is on sale for just $31 on Amazon Canada

Looking for more Cyber Week deals, gift guides and holiday tips? Sign up for Yahoo Lifestyle Canada’s newsletter! A charging pad is a convenient way to recharge your device. (Image ... Read more »

Amazon has new EC2 M1 Mac instances so that you can build your own Mac supercomputer

AWS has new EC2 M1 Mac Instances which will allow you to develop build test and sign Apple apps on Amazon EC2. That news has just been announced at AWS ... Read more »

Own Apple stock? Take slowing iPhone demand seriously, says analyst

If you own Apple stock (AAPL), reports on slowing demand for the latest suite of iPhones “should be taken seriously,” says one long-time tech analyst. “The reports make it sound ... Read more »

Bluetooth bargain: These highly-rated headphones are just £99 right now

Pick up a wireless heaphone bargain right now (Getty) Yahoo Entertainment's editors are committed to independently selecting wonderful products at great prices for you. We may receive a share from ... Read more »

Jack Dorsey's Twitter exit is a milestone in social media's midlife crisis

When Jack Dorsey made the that he had quit as CEO of Twitter, it was only ever going to have happened in one place – Twitter itself. It reminded me ... Read more »

Adorable baby seal and mother lounge on Norfolk beach during high winds

Adorable baby seal and mother lounge on Norfolk beach during high winds Read more »

Trump denies Prince Charles ‘bored' him on climate crisis

Trump denies Prince Charles ‘bored’ him on climate crisis Read more »

Biden in withering putdown of Trump after it's revealed former president may have exposed him to Covid

Biden in withering putdown of Trump after it’s revealed former president may have exposed him to Covid Asked about a shocking new claim that Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19 ... Read more »

Storm Arwen: Thousands spend sixth day without power

Roughly 13,000 homes in the north of England are still cut off as a result of Storm Arwen. Energy companies have warned that some might not be reconnected until next ... Read more »

Keir Starmer says 'government can't dictate who people kiss' at Christmas parties

Keir Starmer says ‘government can’t dictate who people kiss’ at Christmas parties Read more »

‘Rust' Assistant Director Says Alec Baldwin Didn't Pull Trigger Of Gun That Fired Fatal Shot, Attorney Tells ‘Good Morning America'

The attorney for Rust assistant director David Halls said that his client insisted that Alec Baldwin did not pull the trigger on the gun that discharged on the set of ... Read more »

UK Duchess tours Faberge exhibition

Kate was shown around the exhibit focussing on the time the famous Russian artist lived in London at the beginning of the 20th century. On show were items loaned by ... Read more »

Mail On Sunday Publisher Loses Appeal Over Meghan Letter To Thomas Markle Original Video M204627

Mail On Sunday Publisher Loses Appeal Over Meghan Letter To Thomas Markle Original Video M204627 Read more »

Warning over pilots' lack of flying after Tui plane plunge labelled ‘serious incident'

The rapid descent of a Tui Airways plane could be linked to its pilots being grounded for long periods during the coronavirus pandemic, investigators said (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive) The ... Read more »

Mozilla is investigating YouTube's recommendation controls — and you can help

Mozilla is investigating YouTube’s algorithmic controls — and wants you to help. The non-profit has revamped its tool to examine unwanted YouTube recommendations. The updated browser extension will explore whether ... Read more »

Vigil Abloh's Mercedes-Maybach EV encapsulates the late designer's radical touch

Mercedes-Benz a wild electric show car: Project Maybach. And apart from its striking appearance, the vehicle also has sentimental value. The car was co-designed by the late fashion designer Virgil ... Read more »

Facebook may force these ‘high-risk' users to enable two-factor authentication

Meta-owned Facebook has taken a few steps to make sure that users don’t lose their accounts to predators and pretenders, especially the ones who are at most risk of being ... Read more »

Here's how tech can tell that your partner is cheating on you

People underestimate intuition. If your gut tells you something is off, don’t ignore it. Stalkerware is surprisingly easy to plant on someone’s phone, and trackers follow you online and offline. ... Read more »

Titanfall removed from sale following years of attacks from hackers

Respawn Entertainment has announced the original Titanfall game will no longer be sold, and it’ll remove the game from subscription services on March 1, 2022. However, it’ll still keep Titanfall ... Read more »

Human embryo models research may pave the way for improved IVF rates – study

New research on human embryo models paves the way for improving the success rate of IVF and creating a new non-hormonal, user-friendly contraception, a study suggests. While hormonal contraceptives have ... Read more »

Cooling after volcanic activity ‘may have triggered mass extinction event'

Two intense spells of volcanic activity triggered a period of global cooling and falling oxygen levels in the oceans, and may have caused one of the most severe mass extinctions ... Read more »

Climate transition delay could cost the UK trillions

Mark Burrows (Nottingham, UK) / shutterstock From power plants to coffee cups or your childhood home, everything that makes up the economy has a life expectancy. Much of what we ... Read more »

Intel Alder Lake hasn't dented AMD's gains in gaming PC market – yet

Steam’s November Hardware Survey has just been released, and it’s not good news for Team Blue. Despite the successful release of Intel Alder Lake, which shows Intel’s chips going toe-to-toe ... Read more »

China set to embrace open source in new software push

Hailing software as the “foundation of digital economic development,” China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has reportedly called for pushing the growth of homegrown open source software. The ... Read more »
On you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic