Jun 27, 2011

"Yes Customer, Have Your Cake!"

Saying “Yes!” to all that customers ask is not a viable customer retention tool!

If you want your customers satisfied, tossing a quick “yes” or habitually agreeing to deliver whatever is definitely not an appropriate response - if this is routine and habitual to you and your team, your customer might start doubting your credibility. If you are serious about delivering on your promise, remember that diligence is prudence!

Take time and assess:
  • if customer needs fit into your and their strategic goals and
  • if what is asked solves real needs
...and then say “yes” (or “no” if necessary). 

This might seem either counter intuitive (culture of collectivism) or an obvious thing (culture of individualism) depending on where you are from. However if customer satisfaction is important to you, actually delivering on promise matters more than giving an impression that you can! 

Many employees of Indian IT services companies are prone to say “yes” when they are supposed not to - this behavior has its roots in culture of collectivism - where disagreeing and responding in negative is seen as disrespect and disloyalty and hence is avoided.

Affected firms should invest in mandatory behavior training (not just cultural orientation) to help employees cope with such habitual behaviors and responses with roots in their culture to help employee get into customers’ shoes.

(Embedded Dilbert strip is my mashup - copyrights owned by Scott Adams)


  1. I loved this article, Ravi. Saying no can be a powerful tool that helps us succeed and respects other people by being honest about what we can and can't do. Making promises without follow through does no one any favors, nor does spending our own resources beyond our limits until we are financially, emotionally or physically bankrupt.

    I wrote my own article about saying no here: http://livelovework.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/say-yes-to-success-by-saying-no/


  2. Thanks Chrysta! That was quite encouraging.

    I like your article especially the 7 points.