In the late nineties I worked for a telecom company that was implementing Oracle Financials. I came into work one day to find all six of the Oracle consultants packing their bags and tripping out the door. I asked one of my coworkers, "What happened?" He replied, "The CFO pulled all his data and is using the mainframe instead of Oracle." I laughed. You gotta be desperate to go to the mainframe. When the CFO had asked for new features, Linda (the manager of the Oracle project) almost always said "No." The final straw? The CFO wanted to use a reporting tool, however, Linda again said "No."
Saying "No" one too many times, may prompt your customers to go. And since great products can also have limitations, you need to have the skills to frame responses to customer requests in a way that highlight the positive.
In How To Say It to Sell It, author Sue Hershkowitz-Coore shows how to frame answers that focus on the customer and the positive. Sue tells us to never say "No" to the customer. Instead, use the word "Actually" to reframe the response and focus on what your product can do for the customer.
In another chapter, she teaches us how to focus on the positive steps a customer can take:
Instead of: A 20% discount is not available on this small order.
Say: We can extend a 20% discount on orders over $1200.
The book also has chapters on sales calls and presentation. The thread of customer focus holds the chapters together. In fact, how you communicate with your customers is the start of creating customer experiences that set you apart from the competition. If someone sends me a poorly written email, it's a signal to expect little from that person in way of positive surprises or remarkable experiences. Why? Because writing exposes your thought process, and your ability (or inability) to organize ideas. And if someone is unable to organize their thoughts in an email, it's unlikely they will pull together a multi-million dollar project and delivered it with the customer experience in mind.
This book has become my guide to writing emails that enhance the customer experience.