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Wedding Business Solutions Podcast with Alan Berg CSP - The answer is Yes. Now, what was the question?The answer is Yes. Now, what was the question?

This is a quote I read on the Forbes.com website by Micah Solomon – “The answer is Yes. Now, what was the question?” It’s such a powerful way to approach the customer experience. However, too often people’s first reaction is to say “no”, or to resist anything that’s outside your normal procedures. “No” can be a powerful word in sales, but in the customer experience you want to default to “yes” whenever possible, and even sometimes when the ‘yes’ the customer wants isn’t possible. Listen to this 12-minute episode and find out how to have less confrontation and happier customers.

If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com or visit my website www.AlanBerg.com

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Below is a full transcript. If you have any questions about anything in this, or any of my podcasts, or have a suggestion for a topic or guest, please reach out directly to me at Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com or contact me via textuse the short form on this page, or call 732.422.6362

Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast and leave a review (thanks, it really does make a difference). If you want to get notifications of new episodes and upcoming workshops and webinars, you can sign up at www.ConnectWithAlanBerg.com


– The answer is yes. Now what’s the question? Wouldn’t that be a great way to deal with people and for you to be dealt with when you’re the customer? Listen to this episode and find out more. I read this quote a while back on the Forbes.com website by Micah Solomon. The answer is yes. Now what’s the question? It’s just such a great way to be dealing with customers where they already know that you’re going to help them but they may not know how, but it’s the attitude of that. The answer is yes. Now what’s the question? That would be so great if we could always receive that and we could always give that. But the truth is we can’t always give the customer the yes that they want. The key is to be able to give them a yes even if it’s not the one that they want.

See, too many times, we have people that go out of their way to tell us, no. I just recently had this again. I’m sure you’ve experienced this as well. Is someone who took longer to tell you why they can’t do something then to actually do it. I’ve had it happen to me many times in my life. I’m sure you’ve had it happen as well. The key is to recognize when we’re doing that. And sometimes that means going outside of the lines a little bit, doing things that are not exactly the way that we normally do things. And that’s the key to providing great customer service. Danny Meyer, who founded the Union Square Cafe and Shake Shack and many other businesses. And he’s written books about this as well. Their company is famous for saying yes.

I was reading an article in the New York Times recently. And they were mentioning in terms of hospitality versus service. And they mentioned always Danny Meyer always comes up because they’re are known as the people who say yes. And that’s the key. How can we be the people that say yes? I remember reading in a book. I can’t remember which book it was but a long time ago about this customer service story. Somebody went into a restaurant and they were having a meal and they asked for a Coke. And the waiter said, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve Coke we serve Pepsi, would that be okay?” And the gentleman said, “no, that’s okay just bring me a water instead.” So he gets him his meal and he has his water. And then shortly thereafter, he shows up with a Coke. And the man said to the waiter, I thought you don’t carry Coke. He goes, we don’t. So I asked my manager to go get you one. And the manager actually left the restaurant, went to a nearby store, got a Coke, brought it over. So the customer could have a Coke. You think he’s going back to that restaurant? Yeah, I think so. But it’s that attitude where the waiter could’ve just not said anything, but instead he went to his manager and said, this gentleman prefers Coke than Pepsi, didn’t want a Pepsi when I offered it. Is there any way we can get them a Coke? And they made it happen. And that’s the key to great customer service, is making it happen.

I have a client that was getting five star reviews. And the five star reviews, a lot of times had a but. Five stars, it was great, but. Every time they asked for something there was another charge. I mean, it wasn’t necessarily a lot of money. It was a venue. It might’ve been $100 or $150 where in the course of 10 or 15,000 or $20,000, it’s not a lot of money. But customers felt like they were being nickeled and dimed. So we spoke about it and I said, how much is this we’re talking about? And again $100, $150, $200. I said, what if we raise the price, a dollar a person for our prices for the wedding? And if we raise our prices dollar a person we’re already getting $100, $150, $200 more per wedding anyway. And now when the customer asks for something, just say, yes of course. And when they say, how much is that going to be? You say, no charge. No charge, we got that for you. If they ask for a lot, you can charge them. But if they’re asking for those little things, do that. Well, what happened? They’re still getting five star reviews except now instead of having, but we’re being nickeled and dimed, they have this note that says, and we asked for things and there was no charge. So you can do this. You can figure a way to do this and give the people, the yes. I remember listening in on phone calls.

I was doing sales training for a company and listening in on phone calls. And somebody called in, it was a rental company. And they were asking for particular thing they wanted to rent, a punchbowl or something like that. And the gentlemen from the company, click, click, click you can hear on the computer. And he said, I’m sorry, that’s not available that day. And then instead of offering something else, he just stopped talking. So the customer said, well okay, what about this bowl Instead? Click, click, click, click. No that one’s not available either. So here he was just telling her no, no, no. Instead of asking and this is when I’m training rental companies specifically in this case, he didn’t ask her what the occasion was. He didn’t ask her what they’re celebrating. He didn’t ask what they’re serving, what they’re going to put in the bowl. Therefore he didn’t know if she needed a ladle to serve out of that or some other way to, what is she serving? Soup or punch or whatever. And then she ended up needing glasses and they didn’t have enough of one kind of glass that she was asking for. And again, he didn’t make a suggestion. So the answer wasn’t yes. The answer wasn’t let me help you have a better outcome here. The answer was, Nope. We don’t have what you’re asking for. And that was it.

This attitude pervades so many companies because people feel either constrained sometimes by their owners or their management. If they’re not the owner or the management or they’re just constrained by I don’t have what you’re asking for it. Therefore the answer is no. I remember one time, my wife and I went to the supermarket and we had to return something. We returned something and they gave us the money. And the script that this person was reading from, she read all the right words. She was not physically looking at it but she said the right things. But she said it all the wrong ways. We felt like we were interrupting her life the way she was telling it. We walked away looking at the money and looking at each other. Like that was really weird because I can’t say that any of the words were wrong but the way she said it made it feel wrong. Well, we had a rain check for items. There were three items that were supposed to be able to get on this rain check that they had been out of the last time we were there. We go to the shelf and they only had two of that item on the shelf. So we take the two items. We go up to the register. We said to the person at the register, the rain check is for three. You don’t have three, you only have two. Could you mark that we’re taking two and we’ll come back for the other when you have more? And her answer was no. That was it, her answer was no. There was no here, we can do this instead. It was just, no. I said, well why not? You don’t have the items. I understand if you had three and we’re only taking two, but we want three. You only have two. So we want to get the other one. She said, well, I can’t do that. So I know that, you know we’re taught that you’d catch more flies with honey. So I said, well, is there someone else you can ask? And she said, well, I guess I could ask my manager. I said, could you please? So she picks up her phone. And in my mind, when I’m thinking back, she was chewing gum loudly. It just adds to the ambiance of it. And her attitude was like, oh, I have to ask my manager. And just that body language is so bad.

She calls the manager and now we’re all waiting there. Uncomfortable waiting there. The manager comes over. And of course, it’s the person that was the customer service that just gave us, oh so good customer service. And they’re talking to each other now about this situation and we’re standing right there but they’re talking to each other, like we’re not there. You’ve ever have that happen? They’re not even acknowledging. Manager is not even acknowledging that we’re there, they’re talking to each other. So I kind of interjected. I said listen, we want to get the one. You don’t have the three of them on the shelf. Could you just mark that we took the two? She said, “I can’t do that, I have to take the rain check.” I said, okay can you give us another rain check? She said, no because that sale’s not on anymore. We’re going around in circles here. I said, this is ridiculous. You don’t have the items. It’s not us that’s saying that.

She said, well, I guess you could ask a customer service. And I was thinking, why aren’t you just there? So, okay we go to customer service. I thought it was going to be like the movies where you see someone at a window and they say, you have to go to the next window. They close the window. You go to the next window. It’s the same person. I thought it was going to be that. But it wasn’t, it was someone else. We go to the next window and we’re telling the story and she’s giving us the same answers. I said, this is ridiculous. At this point, it was just principle. Because I don’t know, maybe it was 50 cents or something but it was just principle.

And I said, this is crazy. You have to be able to let us come back and get this at this price. She goes, well, I guess I could ask the department manager. I said, could you please? And again, with a smile, I asked nicely. She picks up a walkie talkie. She calls the department manager. She’s telling him the story. And the department manager comes back with a response over the walkie talkie. And he says four letters. He says, do it, do it. Give them the rain check for the other item. Just do it. Except now we’re 20 minutes past when the person at the register told us that she couldn’t do it. So we got our rain check. We walked out of the store with our two items and the rain check. And we didn’t come back to that store for six months. Instead of going two miles to the grocery store we went 10 miles to another one where the people are nice. The answer wasn’t yes. The answer should always be yes.

No customer wants to be told no. And sometimes you can’t give them what they want. Suggest something else. Or sometimes suggest something better. So they’re going to get a better outcome than they would have had with the yes they were asking for. Most people are reasonable. Some are not, I get it. Totally get it, some are not. The one thing that people want when they have a problem is to be heard. They want to be acknowledged. They want to know that they were understood. And they would like a resolution. My best friends in the wedding and event industry, Many of them are people that first yelled at me when I was vice president of sales at the Knot. They had some problem, called me to complain about something. I listened, came up with a solution. Did it quickly, satisfied them, satisfied us. And these are some of my best friends because they knew if they had a problem again, they knew we were going to take care of it. They knew that we would take care of their problem again and that made them a stronger customer. So how can we all live? The answer is yes. Now what’s the question? It’s such a great attitude. I hope you can take something from this. Bring it back to your staff, permeate it all the way through the ranks and also give it to your customers so that they too will be giving you the five stars with the and the service was amazing. Thanks for tuning in.

I’m Alan Berg. Thanks for listening. If you have any questions about this or if you’d like to suggest other topics for “The Wedding Business Solutions Podcast” please let me know. My email is Alan@WeddingBusinessSolutions.com. Look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Thanks.

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