When it comes to providing service in English, it’s not always easy to find the right words.
It can be especially difficult when someone has requested something that you can’t provide. Saying “no” is rarely the best option, but it can be hard to know how to offer a suggestion or alternative. In this blog post, we’ll be giving you some essential tips to help you offer suggestions and alternatives in English.
The difference between no and I don’t have that
When it comes to providing customer service, one of the most important things you can do is provide alternatives for customers when you can’t give them what they want.
Saying “no” doesn’t always have to be the only answer. In fact, it can often be more polite and helpful to provide alternatives. This is especially true when the customer has requested something that you don’t have or can’t provide.
Instead of just saying “no,” try saying “I don’t have that,” followed by a suggestion of something else you can offer. This way, you are still providing the customer with an answer, while also being helpful and considerate.
For example, if a customer requests a product that you don’t have in stock, instead of just saying “no, we don’t have that,” try saying “I don’t have that, but I can suggest something similar that we do have.” This shows the customer that you care and are willing to help them find what they need.
Overall, it is important to remember that sometimes “no” isn’t the only answer. Offering an alternative or suggestion can be much more polite and helpful than simply saying “no.” Doing this will help you provide better customer service and make your customers feel like their needs are taken seriously.
Offering an alternative
When you want to offer an alternative to something that a customer has requested, it’s important to be tactful and polite. You don’t want to sound like you’re rejecting the original request.
A few phrases you can use to offer an alternative include:
- “I’m sorry we don’t have that, but we do have _______.”
- “That’s not available at the moment, but what about _______?”
- “We don’t carry that, however we do have _______.”
- “I’m sorry we don’t have that, would you be interested in _______ instead?”
- “Unfortunately we don’t have that, but I’d recommend _______.”
- “We don’t have that item, could I suggest _______ instead?”
When offering an alternative, it’s also important to make sure that the alternative is appropriate. If it’s not, then it won’t be helpful to the customer. Make sure that you explain why the alternative may be better or more suitable than the original request. For example, you could say “I’m sorry we don’t have that, but this one is more durable and longer lasting.”
Suggesting an alternative
When you don’t have what a customer is looking for, it’s important to offer suggestions to help them find the best product or service that fits their needs. You can do this by suggesting an alternative. This means that you are giving the customer the opportunity to consider a different option that might work better for them.
When suggesting an alternative, start by affirming the customer’s request: “I understand you were looking for X.” Then, follow up with a suggestion of an alternative product or service. It’s important to be clear and concise when making your suggestion and provide relevant details such as price and availability.
You can also explain how the alternative could be better suited to the customer’s needs. “I understand you were looking for a laptop with a larger memory. We don’t have that particular model in stock right now, but I think this model has similar features and would be a great choice. It has a bigger hard drive and twice as much RAM, so it should be able to handle your tasks much better. It’s also cheaper than the model you wanted. Would you like me to set it aside for you?”
By giving suggestions rather than just saying no, you are providing customers with helpful information and options that can make them feel valued and appreciated.
Politely declining an offer
Declining an offer can be a tricky business, especially when you’re trying to do it in a professional manner. It is important to remember that while your answer may be no, you don’t want to come across as rude or unhelpful.
The best way to decline an offer politely is to express regret and then explain why the offer cannot be accepted. This allows for a more polite and respectful exchange. For example, if you were asked to do something that is outside of your job description you could say: “I am sorry, but I am not qualified to do that.”
It is also important to thank the other person for their offer or suggestion. You could say: “Thank you for your suggestion. I appreciate it.”
If you are declining an offer but wish to suggest another option, it can be helpful to provide the alternative and explain why it may be better suited.
For example, if you were asked to do something that is too time consuming you could say: “That is a great suggestion, however I think this other option may be more feasible as it requires less time.”
Finally, it is important to keep the exchange positive. Try to maintain an upbeat tone and remember that the other person may not have realized that their request was not feasible. Thank them again and make sure they know that you value their input.