How the phrase “no problem” is a HUGE problem!

The other day, I was reading a blog post by a writer who raved about the phrase “no problem.” She just LOVES it when customer service agents reply to her requests with this phrase. In fact, she even recommends that every company on this planet institute this phrase as a mandatory “script” for all customer service agents.

Perhaps it’s just me, but whenever I hear the phrase “no problem,” I always think, “Well, thank goodness I’m not a problem for you.” I’m pretty sure that’s not the intent of the person who says it or of the company where this person works. But again, to me, the phrase has inherent problems:

  1. It sounds negative.
  2. It does not sound genuine.
  3. It sounds like a brush off, a quick dismissal.
  4. It gives a feeling of not being heard, either in part or entirely.

Real world story: Recently, my husband and I were having trouble with our cell phone provider. Our previous experiences with this provider have been poor at best, so we were justifiably reluctant to place the call. When my husband finally summoned the courage to call, the person who answered the phone was friendly, fast, and eager to help. BUT, he used the phrase “no problem” in almost every sentence. My husband couldn’t even finish asking a question before the customer service rep blurted out, “No problem.”  It was happening so often that is was making both of us crazy — and, more importantly, our issue was still unresolved.  Consequently, we had to call back another day, hoping for someone with a little more patience and understanding – and that IS a problem.

Strategies that Turn it Around:

  1. Be positive: if a customer asks a favor of you like “My coupon is expired, can I still use it?” Reply with “Absolutely. It would be my pleasure to accept your coupon.”
  2. Be genuine: if a customer thanks you for your help or assistance, reply with a heartfelt “My pleasure” or “You’re welcome.”
  3. Don’t brush off or be quick to dismiss a customer: if a customer needs help finding something, respond with “It would be my pleasure to help you find your item.”
  4. Hear what your customer is saying: when a customer is describing his problem, please let him finish before blurting out “no problem.” Because, if it really wasn’t a problem, the customer wouldn’t be calling in the first place!

Remember:  Customers want to feel special and important. They do NOT want to feel like a problem. So, instead of telling customers what a problem they are not, tell them what a pleasure it was to serve them. And that, my friends, is not a problem.

What do YOU think of the phrase “no problem”? Please share your comments and insights in the section below. I look forward to engaging with you on your comments.

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