The Problem with "No Problem"

As we were out to dinner several nights ago, we had an outstanding waitress. She was friendly, knowledgeable and responsive.
There was only one problem, her response to almost everything was “no problem.” 

  • When we asked if we could have lemon with our water, she said “no problem.”
  • When she brought out our dinner and we thanked her, she said “no problem.”
  • When she handed us our check and I thanked her for the good service, she said “no problem.”

Here are 3 reasons why saying “no problem” in a customer service interaction is less than ideal.
1. Both words, no and problem, are negative. It conveys to the customer ‘you are not bothering me too much.’

2. The phrase ‘no problem’ is too common and mediocre. In the customer service arena, your goal is to delight the customer. ‘No problem’ doesn't convey that message.

3. There are much better phrases to use in the same situation.

Let’s take a look:

  • “Could I have lemon with my water?” “Of course.”
  • As the server brings the meal to our table and we say, ‘thank you.” “You are very welcome. Enjoy!’
  • As I thank the server for the good service. “It was my pleasure.”

Substituting the phrase ‘no problem’ with a few, better alternatives is one of the simplest, easiest and most powerful ways to elevate the customer service experience.

You can easily apply this on a personal or organizational level.

I'm hoping you don't have a problem with that.