‘No Problem’ Is Apparently a Problem

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

We hear what bugs people a lot in customer service – and often. One of the most common compliants we’ve heard recently is that we’re told “no problem” from those serving us on the phone or in-person. Instead of a genuine “thank you” or something else that might be more appropriate, some insist on saying “no problem.”

When a customer is asking for something, most would rather hear, “I’ll be happy to get that for you” instead of “no problem.”

Did you ever wonder where the expression “no problem” came from? Ever been on a cruise? Well if you have, you know that if you wanted six more desserts, the waiter will tell you, “No problem.” In fact, everyone seems to be saying “no problem” everywhere on the ship for just about everything.

And, when you come down to it, it’s not a terrible thing to say to someone. Now, there are those that don’t find it offensive; however, it seems as though there are many more who do! It’s not a dirty word. It’s not a swear word. It is, however, an inappropriate word. It started in the islands and made its way to our country.

So today, we’re concentrating on eliminating “no problem” and sharing a few other phrases that are more “customer friendly.” Try using words that turn people on instead of turning them off. Example: The other day in a restaurant, I asked for some water without ice. And I got the old, “No problem.” The person with me asked, “Why would requesting water without ice be a problem?” I was used to the expression so I didn’t give it too much thought.

A more appropriate answer to my request might have been, “Certainly. I will get that for you.” Or, even mirroring my request like, “Water with no ice? My pleasure.”

So, when you are tempted to offer up a “no problem,” it is best you remember the public would like a genuine and simple “thank you.” Now why is that a problem?

Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, St. Louis, MO. Nancy Friedman, president, is a featured speaker at association and corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, The Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and many others and has written articles for USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. For more information, log on to www.telephonedoctor.com or call 314-291-1012.