This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while. It’s a big customer service faux pas. Invariably this happens at fast food or low-price retail establishments, but do you say this to your customers? Customers who may be paying you handsomely for your products or services?
A customer walks into a diner/convenience store/clothing store and wants to purchase something. Perhaps they even have a question or a special request. After the server/sales clerk assists them, the customer thanks them and the server/clerk replies “No problem.” Or possibly “Not a problem,” which in my opinion is even worse.
Why This Doesn’t Work
Somehow hearing “no problem” always seems at a minimum passive-aggressive, and sometimes it even feels like a slap in the face. Said with the right amount of snotty attitude, it can make the customer want to apologize for having been a bother. Customers who are buying your products or services should not feel like they are bothering you by giving you their money!
What You Can Do Instead
The bar for good customer service is set so incredibly low these days. I know, everybody is spouting happy horsesh*t about how the customer comes first and espousing that they offer world-class service while quoting company policy and giving you the runaround – but few companies are actually serving their customers well.
You might want to strike “no problem” from your vocabulary and replace it with “Happy to help!”
Why? Because it puts you in the right mindset of serving your customer, and makes the customer feel important and valuable. (You do want to help them to buy something, right?) “You’re welcome” works too but doesn’t have the same energy.
I know it seems like a small thing, but I think you will see big results from this one little change. And if you have employees who work with your customers and vendors, you will want to train them on this as well.
Catherine Morgan is the editor of Business Unplugged ™, an engaging speaker, and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc., a virtual provider of coaching services to individuals who are in business or career transition. Catherine is the author of the eBook Re-Launch You: Discovering Your Point B and Embracing Possibility. An experienced independent consultant and former employee of three of the former Big Five consulting firms, Catherine combines strategy development with accountability coaching. Her productivity tips and career transition advice have been featured on WGN AM 720 and WIND AM 560 The Answer in Chicago, and on WCHE AM 1520 in the Philadelphia area. Catherine speaks frequently on topics related to productivity, career transition, small business, and entrepreneurship. She doesn’t take herself seriously, but takes her subject matter very seriously.
I thought I was the only one with this particular pet peeve! Glad to hear I'm not alone. I know that Chik-Fil-A trains its cashiers to respond with "My pleasure!" It's the little things that add up to a big difference in customer experience.