Being in a service focused industry, it’s hard to learn that “no” is an acceptable answer. When people don’t accept that answer, things can really start to get stressful. Am I right?

Ask yourself, what do you owe this person? What are they asking for, why can’t you accommodate, and what can they do to help themselves? You cannot control their reaction, but you can certainly control yours and educate them with answers to the above questions as you deliver a response.

“The customer is always right” is a very dated way of thinking.

Of course, you want to have happy customers, but what does that mean? Will their happiness result in achieving shared goals? Will they come back and buy more services as a result of this short sighted request? If you do this one thing, will they be able to help themselves with the next thing? Better yet, do they expect you to?

Successful partnerships extend beyond an exchange of goods or services. They are built on solving a need and achieving goals. They are strengthened by building trust, and they last by maintaining a healthy relationship.

Let me say that again, “A healthy relationship.”

As everyone should know, healthy relationships include boundaries. What kind of requests are in scope, and where do you need to level set expectations? If someone refuses to respect the boundaries of a partnership, the relationship will not be successful. Accommodating requests will compound and create an altered picture of the boundaries of said relationship. At that point, the cost of the relationship will exceed the benefits and you are better off parting ways.

So, the customer is not always right. They might be unhappy as you establish boundaries and tell them “no,” but rest assured they still need you. Why else would they have become a customer in the first place? If they don’t need you, the relationship is fleeting anyway.

Make sure the relationship is worth it, and if you are accommodating something, make sure it doesn’t become a trend.