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Snowbird shows the simple utility of "No, but…" when responding to guests.

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It’s crazy to me how often I see some form of the following when interacting with brands (including resorts) or watching resorts interact with guests.

A question will be asked, and when the answer is “no” the repsonse will be something like:

“No, I’m so sorry, that’s not available right now.”

“Unfortunately, that’s not open at the moment.”

“I’m afraid not, that’s only available for adults.”

Now, you might be noticing that these are pretty friendly. The resort isn’t replying with a gruff “NO!” and they’re not giving someone false hopes. So what’s the problem?

The problem is when you ask yourself what the guest should do next.

I worked for a call center for a year while saving for college. It wasn’t exactly glamorous work, but it paid the bills and taught me a lot about marketing/sales relationships with people.

Especially when those people asked questions.

What I quickly learned was you never wanted to give someone a dead-end with your reply. If they didn’t have their prescription handy, saying “sorry, I need a copy of your prescription” was a dead-end. While saying “You do need your prescription handy, but I can call your doctor and get that. Do you remember her name?” gave the relationship (and conversation) a way forward.

This is exactly what Snowbird did with a recent tweet. After sharing a photo of some people enjoying the summit…

Someone asked a question. The answer was “no”, but instead of saying “no”, Snowbird said this:

It’s such a small, but powerful, difference.

Instead of the guest knowing their idea isn’t possible. Snowbird has given them other ways to accomplish their idea (reminder that other restaurants are open) and a new idea (a picnic) on top of that.

No, but…
Here’s a simple way to this about this. If the answer is “no”, instead of starting your reply with just “no”, start your reply with “no, but…”

That “but” forces you to give them some good alternative. It keeps that reply from creating a dead end.

Maybe that alternative isn’t quite as good as the original, but if you follow Snowbird’s example and offer some proactive ideas or help on top of that alternative? Well, you might be giving them something just as good as the first even though the answer was “no”. At the least, they’ll appreciate that you’re trying to help.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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