Recently I read an article on customer service that struck a chord with me. It discussed a phrase we hear all too often and one that I find myself uttering more often than I should. The phrase, in essence, diminishes the value you bring to the transaction and worse, may leave a bad taste in your client’s mouth. And I bet you are guilty of using it as well. Want to know what it is?
Yup, that is the phrase. OK, it may be an acceptable phrase in some mundane, day-to-day transactions, but for a professional? No way! My barista hands me a coffee and I say “thank you” and get the “no problem” back—that’s probably fine. Loosely translated, the phrase means “whatever”—and in today’s world devoid of true customer service, that is not the image anyone wants to put forth. We have come to expect mediocrity in our daily lives; to the point when above average service surfaces, it truly impresses us. Sad, but true!
When we say “no problem,” what we really mean might include “you’re welcome,” “thank you,” or “I appreciated being able to help you.”
Electricians, plumbers, and doctors might be able to get away with “no problem” if it involves a diagnosis, but beyond that, proceed with caution.
It all comes down to manners and courtesy—remember what mom always used to say? “Courtesy,” said John Wanamaker, “is the one coin you can never have too much of or be stingy with.” Wanamaker built the first department store in Philadelphia, and in doing so, helped pioneer the concept of genuine customer service.
Remember to always say “please” and “thank you.”
Sometimes, a simple thank you will suffice for mundane transactions—you sent out the documents, you followed up on a request for information. But when it comes time to make the final payment and your client says, “thank you”, you had better come up with something a little more impressive than “no problem.”
As I said, I am guilty of this and I have no other excuse than being lazy. It is a lazy phrase and will be replaced in my vocabulary starting today! Will you join me?