The Problem with “No Problem”

By Barbara Burke

Customer perception is what drives customer satisfaction survey scores. The wrong word choice can leave a negative impression and have unintended consequences. Here are two examples of what happened when the service provider used the increasingly popular response,”No problem.

Service Situation #1:

The customer places his food order with the server. A few minutes later the server returns with the meal and places it in front him.

Customer: “Thank you.”

Server: “No problem.”

The customer may think to himself, “Was bringing me my order a problem for you? Did I put you out in some way? ” 

Service Situation #2:

The customer calls her bank to find out how late the drive-up teller is open that day. The service rep gives her the information.

Customer: “Thank you.”

Agent: “No problem.”

The customer may think to herself, “No problem? How was my calling you to get routine information a problem for you?”

Little things mean a lot. Avoid saying “No problem.” Instead of creating unnecessary doubts in the minds of your customers, end your conversations with a warm, courteous phrase that makes them feel important and valued.

Leaving the customer with a positive impression can be as simple as saying, “You are welcome” when the customer thanks you.  But, if you want your customers to really feel valued, add an extra twist by saying, “It’s been my pleasure. Thanks for being our customer.” 

Barbara Burke was a beloved author and teacher in the area of customer service excellence. She was the author of several customer service books and was a speaker at several QATC Conferences and a long-term friend to QATC.  Sadly, Barbara recently passed away and we chose to republish one of her many contributions to the QATC newsletter to honor her memory.  She will be missed.