How To Say No To Customers Without Making Them Angry

Customers are always right, but sometimes, customers can be terribly wrong and reacting emotionally to their stance. This could cause a strain in your relationship with that customer and several other customers who might have witnessed a scene.

So, how do you say no to customers without making them feel bad? Saying no to a customer should be done intelligently. You should tread carefully so that you don’t end up destroying your relationship with your customers.

So, what is the best way to say no to a customer without upsetting them?


Polite Ways to Say No to Customers

If you notice that the customer is wrong or just being unreasonably annoying, here are 7 ways on how to politely say no to customers without making them angry:

1. Listen to Your Customers

Giving your customers a listening ear is one of the most important aspects of providing excellent service experience. Whenever a customer goes on an emotional outburst or makes impossible demand, they expect you to always provide them with solutions. Some might even use a bitter tone from their first inquiry to an eventual purchase. Some customers don’t actually care about the emotions of the seller.

If you encounter these types of customers, just stay calm and listen to everything they have to say. Whether you profer solution or not, show them you care through listening, and they’d feel you value their opinion and time.

You also need to find out the true reason why they’re upset and let them speak about their disappointments either with your products which they’ve already purchased or with something else they want but cannot get.

It is also important to show empathy to your customers by listening and asking questions. By doing so, the customer may trust to return to your business much later, because of the realization that you showed you cared even if you couldn’t provide a solution to their problem.

2. Use A Positive Language to Say “No”

When you want to refuse a customer’s demand, it’s important to apply caution. In most cases, there is no need to say “NO” directly. An outright “No” can come off as being rude or highly repugnant. Whatever you say leaves a big impression in your customers. Don’t talk carelessly even if you believe there’s nothing wrong with what you’ve said.

You can present negative news in a positive way. Instead of saying an outright “No” to the customer, you can put it this way: “Unfortunately we can’t currently offer that and we truly appreciate the time you took to make the request, but if you have suggestions that can help us ensure we always cover your needs in the future, we’d be happy to hear them”.

When you use positive language like this, the customer doesn’t walk away angry never to return, but only disappointed that they couldn’t get what they wanted.

3. Show Empathy

Show empathy to your customers. Empathy statement allows you to establish a strong connection with your customers. Showing empathy creates trust as well as a mutual understanding. In most cases, when you are delivering negative news, it’s important to begin with empathy. This goes a long way to show your customers that you care and will do the best to be of help.

4. Offer Alternatives

Before saying “No” to a customer, think about a readily available alternative. By doing so, you create a win-win situation, while you let them know that their immediate request cannot be met. You can even offer them a discount to enable them to pay for it and appreciate your effort.

For example, if a customer want to buy a certain type of wrist watch but it’s out of stock, you can offer them a close alternative in that same category of wrist watches but at a discount rate. This is just to make the customer happy enough to take your alternative solution and forgo the initial request.

5. Be Polite In Your Reaction

People react differently to different situations. We often let our emotions speak for us. Because of this, brands take advantage of our human inclination to react to what we hear, see, feel, and taste, to sell more products than ever before.

Since companies carefully curate words, actions, and more to manipulate our emotional state, using them carelessly when talking to a customer or letting them know you can’t meet their needs can be devastating.

If the customer is angry because you can’t meet his or her needs, don’t react emotionally to their outburst, be polite all through the way. Avoid highlighting their flaws and instead, work on leaving a lasting impression at the end of the conversation. This would ensure the customer returns to patronize your services over and over again.

6. Explain Things Carefully

I know sometimes you may be so busy, but don’t ever leave words unsaid and explain to your customers everything carefully. If you are delivering negative news, take your time to explain to your customer. Telling them “No” without any sort of explanation might make them feel upset and frustrated. However, with a detailed explanation, you’ll clear up their concerns.

For instance, if a customer wants to make an inquiry about a particular service, you could start by saying: “Unfortunately the service is not available for now. However, we’ll try our best to implement it as soon as possible“.

7. Be Honest

You have to be honest with your customers. Instead of telling them “No” in a polite way and then making promises that you cannot keep, simply tell the truth.

If a customer realizes you’re being untruthful and can’t keep to your words, they may never patronize your business again and would do well to tell anyone they know that needs your service to stay away from your organization.

Always be transparent to the customer and let them always know how long it would truly take to deliver a service, product, incentive, freebie, or form of solution to them.

If you always tell the customers the truth, they’d come to appreciate your business over the long-run, but if you lie to them, you’ll set yourself up to lose that customer forever.


Saying “No” to a customer might be a difficult one. In reality, you’d have to be in a position to say “No”. Saying “No” might not really be the problem, but how you say it really matters. It would determine if the customer comes back to patronize you or not. Your empathy, response to their problems, the alternatives you provide and your level of honesty impacts on your relationship with your customers.

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