How to Say No in Customer Service (with email templates for saying no)

There are many occasions in support when you would have to say no to a customer. Maybe the customer asked for a product or a service you don’t offer. Or maybe the customer made an unreasonable or even an unethical demand. So learning to say no is an essential skill you need as a support rep. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are saying no to customers:

Say no quickly

It’s natural to try and avoid disappointing the customer for as long as possible. But saying no at the end of a long and taxing conversation is much worse. If you are positive that nothing can be done to help the customer but if you are still willing to try and find a solution, say that exactly instead of giving them hope.

The only thing worse than delivering bad news is postponing it. #SayingNo #CustServ – Click to tweet

Always ask why and always say why

Ask customers why they want what they want. This will not only help you understand their needs better but will also show the customers that you do care about what they have to say.

Similarly, always give them a reason why you are saying no. This will help customers put themselves in your shoes, for a change.

Ask customers why they want what they want before saying no. And always tell them why you are saying no. #SayingNo #CustServ – Click to tweet

Suggest alternatives and resources

If customers are asking for something that cannot be done by you, point them to someone who can do it. Even if that someone is a competitor. When you are missing a crucial service/feature that the customer wants, there is no point in trying to stop them from going away with false promises. If not now, they will churn eventually. However, if you help them make a smooth transition, not only will you be leaving things on great terms but when you have the service/feature, they might even come back.

On the other hand, if there are other, more effective ways of achieving their goal, educate them and send them the right resources. 

If a customer is asking for something that cannot be done by you, point them to someone who can do it. Even if it’s a competitor. #SayingNo #CustServ – Click to tweet

Do not overcompensate

Do not try to balance out your bad news with free goodies or by being extremely apologetic. It sets a bad precedence that your company’s job is to do customer’s every bidding. Saying no is not the end of the world, for you or the customer. So don’t act like it is.

Your job is not to do customer’s every bidding. So do not try to balance out your bad news with free goodies. #SayingNo #CustServ – Click to tweet


First no of the day

Saying no takes effort and saying it multiple times a day can be draining. There are some days in which the product update your company made or the sale that your store is having is causing you to say no to many people. You might be tired of saying no by the end of the day but remember that the customer who is hearing the no is hearing it for the first time. You can get through this by just saving a few of your best answers and reusing variations of it throughout the day.

Treat every no you say as the first no of the day. #SayingNo #CustServ – Click to tweet

Express empathy and regret

Even if the customer’s request is completely out of the scope of your product or service, go ahead and express regret for not helping them. Customers need to know that you do understand the predicament they are in. It will calm them down and remove any unnecessary escalation or negativity.

Even if the customer’s request is completely out of the scope of your product/service, express regret for not helping them. #SayingNo #CustServ – Click to tweet

It goes without saying that disappointing a customer is the most difficult thing to do in customer service. We hope that these points will make a process a little bit easier, for you and your customers.

Here are some email templates you can use to say no to customers in various scenarios.

Scenario 1: A customer (Emily) is asking for a feature (X) that you are not likely to build.

Hi Emily,

I appreciate you taking the time to send us this feature idea. It does sound interesting. But we don’t have plans to add X to our product in the near future.

Would you mind sharing what your goal is and how you planned to use this feature to achieve it? It will help me figure out if there are alternate ways for you to achieve the same goal.




Scenario 2: A customer is asking you to do their job for them.

Hi Emily,

I prepared a document for you that will walk you through the steps to do X. You can get this done in no time 🙂

However, if you do face any difficulties, please let me know. We can get on a call and I can guide you step by step.




Scenario 3: A customer is asking for a feature (X) that was removed to be brought back.

Hi Emily,

The reason we removed X from our offering was that it was slowing down the app loading time for most of our customers, even for those who never used X. So we are not likely to bring it back anytime soon.

I understand how frustrating it must be to lose a feature that you relied on. So if this is a deal breaker for you, I am happy to help you move to a different tool that has X.




Scenario 4: A customer is asking for a refund/return/exchange for a product they damaged.

Hi Emily,

I’m unable to process your refund/return/exchange request because the product was damaged after delivery.

I understand how disappointing this must be given that you didn’t get to use it much. However, based on the images you sent us, I think it is still fixable. Here are some tutorials I found on the product’s help site that might be useful:




Scenario 5: A customer has decided to buy your product but is asking for a discount.

Hi Emily,

It’s awesome that you have decided to buy our product! We cannot wait to have you on board. I spoke to our implementation expert about your use case and he is ready to help you get started right away.

As for your discount request, I’m sorry to say that we don’t offer discounts. We believe that our service offers more value for your money and it will be unfair to our other customers if we make an exception.

Let me know if I can send you the contract.



What are some of the ways in which you say no to customers? Let us know in the comments section.

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