Two simple words, "no problem," in response to a "thank you," may be chipping away at your customers' goodwill. The service person who replies with this response almost certainly means to acknowledge the "thank you" and is essentially saying "you're welcome."
Still, many customers are offended. Some wonder why there would be a problem if the appreciated task is simply part of the employee's job? The phrase turns the focus back to the employee, implying the client's need could potentially be a hassle or inconvenience. "No problem", or worse, "no worries," can make customers feel as though their gesture of appreciation was taken as an apology for bothering the service person. Some believe the response says the employee views the service as a chore that is taking them out of their way. In addition, others assess the phrase as a careless use of two negative words.
This saying can be interpreted as a flip response that is too informal for use in a business transaction. Some other too-casual culprits include: "sure," "uh huh," and "don't mention it."
Despite these objections, there are those that refuse to accept the response of "no problem" as an issue. We may even be so accustomed to hearing it that we use the phrase ourselves. Whether you bristle at "no problem" or take the term in stride, it's important to remember that word choices matter, especially in a professional setting. Clients show their loyalty with their feet...every detail counts in business, and your communication style may be offensive to a valued consumer.
It's worth the effort to drop the "no problem" habit. Here are a few alternatives:
- "You're very welcome." Classic and simple.
Regardless of the words chosen, three other factors go into a successful exchange of appreciation. If any of these components are missing, the response you deliver will fall flat.
- Sincerity. A genuine, heartfelt response will let customers know that they are heard and respected.
The bottom line is that words matter. Choose them carefully, especially when acknowledging a "thank you."