Nanyang Technological University Center for Continuing Education

Art of Saying no to Customers Without Offending Them

Available dates

Dec 5—6, 2019
2 days
SGD 631 ≈USD 463
SGD 315 per day


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About the course

It is common knowledge that an organization exists to fulfill the needs of its customers. Customers, therefore, can make or break a company. We all hear the adages that “customer is king”, and “customers are always right”. But are they always right – all the time?

Some customers make unfair demands. Do we have to comply? The answer lies in understanding the rights and responsibilities of both the buyer and the supplier. Sometimes we have to say “no”. However, to say “no” to customers without offending them, and still maintaining a healthy relationship with them, is an art.

This 2-day program will show you how to achieve this. From how to communicate effectively with customers to being more customer focused in our services so that we can prevent upsetting a customer, to learning how to disagree with customers, to how to turn complaints to opportunities, you will learn the art of being assertive so that you can say “no” confidently to customers without upsetting them and still maintaining the good relationship with them.


At the end of the 2-day program, participants will be able to:

  • Learn how to say “No” to a customer when necessary while maintaining the relationship
  • Better understand customer expectations and how they impact the level of service to them
  • Enhance engagement with customers through more effective communication
  • Manage and turn around upset customers.


Examples, videos, case-studies, role-plays, self-analysis, group discussions and hands-on exercises on the various techniques will ensure participants can apply them back at their workplaces.


Session 1: Introduction

  • Trainer’s introduction
  • Icebreaking activities
  • Participants’ introductions and their individual learning needs
  • Program objectives and layout of topics
  • Group discussion on the reasons why we need to say “no” to customers
  • Group discussion on rights and responsibilities
  • The 3 behavioural types
  • Introduction to the art of assertiveness

Session 2: How to Say “No

  • The 6 step process on how to disagree with the other party
  • Participants’ role-plays on the 6 step process
  • Understand stress management

Session 3: Effective Communication

  • Understand what is active listening
  • Learn the art of asking questions
  • Know the dangers of assumption
  • Understand body language
  • Know the importance of “I” statements
  • Participants get to practise all these skills

Session 4: The Art of Assertiveness

  • Learn the technique of looking at the “big picture"
  • Profile and understand their personal behavioural styles
  • Learn how to use the “power” words
  • Practice giving and receiving criticisms
  • Practice giving and receiving feedbacks

Session 5: The Corporate Service Culture

  • Discussion on the service culture of their own company
  • Understand customers’ expectations of their services
  • Learn how to be more customer-focused in their services
  • Learn how to improve upon their self-image and self-esteem

Session 6: Managing Difficult Customer Situations

  • Understand the hierarchy of customer service
  • Know how to manage customers’ expectations
  • Learn how to recognize the behavioural styles of customers and how to blend their own behavioural styles for most effective communication with the customers
  • Learn how to turn complaints and adversities into opportunities
  • Know how to calm upset customers

Session 7: Participants’ Self Reflections & Personal Action Plan

  • Participants reflect on what they learnt at the end of each day
  • Participants log in at least 3 action items they wish to implement back at their workplaces

Who should attend

Anyone who wishes to say “no” to another party without offending them.

Trust the experts

John Teo

John Teo has more than 25 years of working experience in senior management and more than a decade of training, management development and facilitation experience. John is the President of International Brotherhood of Magicians (Singapore Chapter) and he frequently uses magic in his workshops pre...


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