I don’t know what is going on with customer service lately. The next time you purchase something, or ask a question, or request a service, listen for the response.
Me: “I’d like to purchase that television.” Clerk: “No problem.”
Me: “Would you give me directions to the shoe department?” Clerk: “No problem.”
Me: “I believe you gave me the wrong bag.” Clerk: “No problem.”
Me: “I’d like to order the lobster with that fine (expensive) bottle of wine.” Clerk: “No problem.”
Me: “Thank you.” (after purchasing $182 of groceries, handing over cash and receiving change). Clerk: “No problem.”
How did the words “no problem” become the go-to response from service providers? How did it get to this point that the service provider uses words that make me feel like I, the customer, have done something wrong, created a “problem” and they are graciously telling me “not to worry about it”?
After interviewing Service Technicians from gases and welding distributorships across the country (See article in September’s Welding & Gases Today), my faith in customer service has been restored. These guys often deal with customers in crisis, as an equipment breakdown has a domino effect, usually ending at the sales numbers.
So when a customer needs it fixed, they need it fixed right now. Service Techs get this. And they do everything they can to get the customer up and running, as fast as they can. Most of them will say they gravitate toward the broken equipment no one else can fix. They like figuring things out, working on complex challenges. Hearing the words “nN problem” from a gases and welding service technician is met with relief.
Independent distributors are quick to say that their customer service sets them apart from the competition. Listen to how your employees respond to customers. They’re saying words like “Thank you,” “You’re welcome,” “Can I help you” rather than “No problem.” Why? Because they know that customer service does set the company apart.
So as I fork over a thousand dollars and change to the clerk at the electronics store for a new TV, and he responds with, “No problem,” I will sigh and hope that this fad goes away like other words (remember the overuse of “paradigm,” “buzzword” and “sea change”).
Perhaps I’ll ask him, “Why would it be a problem for you to accept my money, answer a question, or provide customer service?” and hope he can explain it to me.