Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

What Happens When You Can’t Give a Customer What They Want

August 08, 2013 by Bruce Jones, Senior Programming Director, Disney Institute

A service failure has occurred and you owe it to the customer to provide a recovery, but you simply cannot give the customer what they are asking for. What happens now?

As we discussed on Tuesday, sometimes even the most service-minded organizations experience a service failure. Savvy organizations understand that this type of failure still bears an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships by providing a service recovery. Delegating power to front-line employees helps ensure a more timely recovery, but there will be cases when you cannot (or should not) give a customer what they are asking for — you have to say “no.”

We posed this question yesterday in during our D’Think Chat and received several reactions:

Beth and Kevin reiterate key components of delivering the “no” message:
1. Always looking for some offsetting consideration (compensation) for the customer’s disappointment. It’s just too easy for an organization to say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing I can do” or “That’s just our policy.” As Kevin points out, it’s important that boundaries are carefully defined during training so that employees have the ability to resolve the issue to the very best of their ability.

2. You MUST explain the reason for the decision or policy. Customers are generally happier with a policy when they understand the reason behind it. Without an explanation, you may be perceived as an insensitive bureaucrat, or that you are hiding behind a policy — this only infuriates the customer.

How do you believe an organization can say "no" to a customer? Have you ever been told no? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Join our next D’Think Chat on Septemeber 4 as we discuss the Disney approach to leadership excellence.

Image: Flickr User Steve Snodgrass

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Posted in Quality Service | Tagged Excellent Customer Service, Corporate Culture, Corporate Training, Customer Service Training, Customer Service Techniques, Customer Experience Improvement, Bruce Jones

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