Read this post ONLY if you work in customer service or have experienced customer service. (See what I did right there?)
After completing this entry, you might express gratitude for my insights.
Today, I’d like to shed some light on a term that’s become a pop culture catch phrase.
There are two words in the English language often used after some level of service interaction is completed. This term rears its ugly head most often in retail and hospitality. A phrase…used so casually and seemingly innocent.
The perpetrator I speak of? “No problem.”
“What?!?! My spouse/child/neighbour/hair stylist says that all the time!”
Tell them to stop. Effective immediately.
Saying “No problem” gives a negative connotation to the consumer. The term implies whatever action occurred could have been a problem for the both the customer and customer service provider.
Now that’s quite a bastardization from exemplary customer service.
“Oh, it doesn’t matter!” Yes, it does matter. I can guarantee the people who say “No problem” are the same folks that use “I’m a perfectionist” as a greatest weakness in a job interview. (That’s a different set of problems, but I digress.)
“No problem” enters the effective customer service wake armed with an awkward family tree of relatives including Grandma “It wasn’t any trouble” Uncle “Not a Problem” and illegitimate Step-Son “No Worries.” Let’s not forget that third cousin, twice removed ‘tween “NP.” #getathesaurus.
You may hear some or all of these variances in a variety of settings. There’s also a level of arrogance implied. By saying “No problem”, it sounds like you’ve saved the day from all the problems that occurred.
Professionally speaking, it should never be a problem for you to do a great job. Especially when there are many others seeking employment and would have no problems replacing you.
Next time you hear “no problem” (and you will) think about how it was said, the context of the situation and how a different response could be more positive.
Have I provided you with some clarity? If so, then I will conclude with the simplest, often overlooked acknowledgement of gratitude for a job well done.
– Lidia Siino
Journalism and Communications Media ’02