Carol Roth Blog
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

Customer Service: ‘No Problem’ May BE Your Problem


ShoppingThis 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?

The Scenario

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.

Article written by
Catherine Morgan is the editorial director for | Business Unplugged and the founder of Point A to Point B Transitions Inc. She is a business consultant to consultants and a career transition coach. Catherine is an engaging public speaker who frequently presents on several topics, including career transition, growing a solo service business, and productivity.

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.

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