EVERY TIME you are getting ready to break bad news to your customers, you need to brace yourself for the worst. Almost every business has had to let its customers know of bad news like price increases, products being out of stock, or limitations on the things customers can do. There is always a risk of offending customers such that they might get upset and never do business with you again. The following are some skills that the bearers of the bad news should have. 

Advance Warning 

Each time you discover you are not in a strategic position to give customers the kind of services you are used to providing them with, send them an email or give them a call informing them of the new developments. Call your favorite customers and let them know early that you are planning to increase the cost of your products. In addition, insurance brokers and underwriters should also let their potential clients know of possible drawbacks. 

Take Responsibility 

Accept the blame when a mistake occurs, instead of blaming it on others, particularly if you are a leader. Taking the blame helps to save a person who is berating himself of serious mistakes they might have done unknowingly. People respect individuals who confront challenges instead of running away from them. 

Stay Calm 

When you are excited or emotionally affected by an idea, you’re emotions might get a little out of control. Lower your tone and rate of speaking in order to give an impression that you are thinking reasonably, clearly and logically, instead of emotionally and irrationally. This way, you will be able to assume a quiet and reasonable voice. 

End with Good News 

In case you have both pleasant and bad news, end with the desirable information. Bad news creates internal stress reaction that obstructs additional information, even if it’s pleasing. Since your intention is to let the customer understand all the information clearly, then end with the attractive news.  

Show Empathy 

Relating to the situation of the customer helps to soften the blow of bad news. Explaining some things to clients can be rather challenging. For example, informing clients whose cars have been stolen that they have to pay deductibles, although they are not to blame for the situation. Misery needs company at times so sharing your personal story, or a similar story of others, can help to soothe the situation at hand. 

Refrain from ‘Trigger Words’ 

Use words that will help to explain that a policy exists without appearing too dictatorial. Simple word choices can make a great difference, hence the significance of pondering your word choice before letting them out. 

Use Positive Expressions to Express Negative Expressions 

Use a positive wording approach like, ‘Your delivery will get to you as early as Tuesday’, instead of ‘Your delivery will not get to you until Tuesday’. 

Assist Customers in Getting Alternatives 

If you are out of stock, you can refer your clients to your rivals who you know have good quality products or services. You will have nothing to lose or gain through recommending a customer to your competitor if you can’t deliver at the time. Loyal customers will always come back in the future and you may just make an industry ally in your competitor. 


A well-timed phone call can help let the customer know you care and also encourage them that there is still hope for a better future.