Customer ExperienceIndustry

When No Problem is a Problem

By May 11, 2012 No Comments

I’ve got a member service pet peeve. Let’s call it a a rampant “problem” in most service situations these days. And it generally occurs, but is not limited to, someone under the age of 30 providing the service.

It’s the “no problem” problem. If I am at a restaurant, and you are my server, and you bring me a glass of tea, and I say, “thank you,” and you reply, “no problem”…that’s a problem. The server saying no problem is like saying that it could have been a problem but was not a problem this time. It implies that the server does not feel particularly inconvenienced by serving you.

Now I’m not one of those cranky customers that will confront someone who says “no problem” with some curmudgeon response like, “of course it’s not a problem, remember, I’m the customer.” But I do regret the lack of training in the service sector that would teach a well-intentioned employee that how you phrase even the smallest of exchanges can make the difference between customer disappointment and customer delight.

There is the rare occasion where those providing a service might say “you’re welcome.” I can even think of a few customer service superstars who consistently reply to a thank you with “my pleasure,” or “glad to help,”or “you bet,” or even “sure thing” (think Publix, Southwest, and Chick-Fil-A.) What a psychological difference that makes! I savor those exchanges and generally give that person my business card in case they ever want a job.

Disney staff are masters of the positive spin. On a recent trip to Disney I asked a “cast member” what time the park closes. His response was, “our park is open for your pleasure until 9 pm.” That’s pretty different from “we close at 9:00.” Disney takes engagement a step further. Disney cast members are trained to proactively approach guests. If you look a little lost or confused, they don’t wait to see if you ask for directions, they ask “can I help you find something?” (Ummm….No….I was just thinking about how to get past that cart without my daughter seeing that cinderella bubble blowing gun that costs $21.) Disney also has an intensive training program where cast members are cross-trained to answer questions even if it’s not about their particular job. (I’m absolutely certain that training includes specific instructions to never reply to “thank you” with “no problem.”)

For those interested in more positive spin on customer service training, our Director of Support, Matt Popinski, strongly recommends The Disney Way. I’d be satisfied if folks would just say “you’re welcome.”

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