Thursday, September 15, 2011


In Business there are people who are “No People” either because it is their job to say no, or because saying no and getting the customer to accept no will help them meet performance metrics upon which they are measured and rewarded.

“Yes People” are those within a company who are above the level of the “no person” and are not measured in the same manner. They can look at the decision from a broader perspective as they have a broader base to measure against.

Frequently the sales person is a “No Person” as making concessions to you will potentially affect their measurements or rewards. Many times a sale may be lost by the sales people that are unwilling to make concessions or that don’t want to admit to their management that they misread the customer and what would be needed to close the deal. If you deal with the sales manager or higher in the organization you will be dealing with someone who can look at the concessions from a different perspective. They can look at all of the business they are responsible and this increases the chance of getting what you need or want.

Service people, especially those people who handle claims, complaints etc. are also for the most part “No People”. Frequently their goals and measurements are to give out as little as possible as. If you escalate your problem or issue up the chain you will have a greater likelihood that you will finally reach someone who either can view it from the broader perspective, or is measured differently or who has service and customer satisfaction as a real concern. When I have problems with service people in a company I always involve the sales person so they know that it may impact their future sales.

It is not hard to think about all the every day life situations where you encounter “No People”. Companies always arm “No People” with tools to help them. For example, if you want to return something or make a claim on warranty they will always ask for your original sales slip. Why? They want to intimidate those who can be intimidated to accept that nothing can be done without it. In most instances if you are able to get to the right person you will not need it. In most instances the “No People” are so hardened from saying no that nothing you do or say will have an effect on them.

Moving up the ladder will require that you communicate in a manner that is appropriate for the other party. In almost all instances it pays to be both pleasant and under control at all times. If you have been pleasant and are making no progress with the “No Person” you may need to be more forceful. However, if you get to the “Yes Person” and start with the forceful approach you run the risk of turning them off and also getting a no from them.

Elevating past the “no people” can also work in getting what some people refer to as the “Invisible Warranty”. Assume that you have a two-year warranty on your car and at 25 Months the paint starts to peal. The “No Person” will simply point out the fact that you had a two year warranty and it has expired and if you would like it corrected they will be glad to do it provided you pay. If you can get to the yes person, the one who is really interested in customer service you may be able to negotiate partial if not full restitution. They may also know that a defect existed which they were prepared to correct but which they would not publicize as it would cost substantially more money. In short, they are prepared to make the corrections but don’t publicize them - hence it being called the Invisible Warranty”

Here’s a real example.
On arriving from a business trip, my trusty car wouldn’t start. The next day I was told that my “computer”, which controlled the gas flow needed to be replaced. As my car had had exceeded the allowed mileage for warranty I was told that it would cost $500 to replace. I knew the dealership would be full of “No People”. I authorized the repair and required I be provided old part. I then took the broken part to an engineer where I worked in the computer business so we could analyze it. What we found was a device that cost probably less than $20 to build and had components with standard reliability of 7 to 10 years or more. At that point I had determined that I was both being abused by the company in the pricing charged, but also had a problem which shouldn’t have occurred as my miles should have made no difference in the reliability of the item. I proceeded to search out the “Yes Person” within the Company’s service organization. Finally I reached a person and explained the facts of my situation, then I noted that they marketed their car with the slogan: “XXXXXX” saves” and pointed out that I hardly considered paying 2000% of the cost to manufacture the item as a good example of “XXXXXX” saves”. He agreed and we agreed that they would refund me the entire cost of the computer, I would pay for the labor (under $100) and they would pay for the tow ($50) and I would return the computer to them. Getting to the yes man saved me some $450.

Every time you elevate an issue to the level of the “Yes Person” you may not get complete satisfaction. Depending on the circumstances and how you approach it, you will be successful more times than not.

No comments:

Post a Comment