No Problem Is a Problem.

I’ve noticed the phrase “No Problem” has become the defacto response to “Thank You” in many business transactions.  When I was a young customer service representative,  I was taught  it’s bad customer service to say “No Problem”. By saying, “No problem“, you are implying that if  there had been a problem, you wouldn’t  have reciprocated your appreciation.

In a 2009 blog post on Conferoinc.com,  Elaine Buxton gives t her reaction when her “Thank You” was greeted with “No Problem” at an airport restaurant.

 

As a customer of this quick service restaurant, was I expected to cause a problem? Did the employee think I, in particular, might cause a problem? Is it a good thing that I did not cause one? Or was the employee somehow pleasantly surprised?”

 

The phrase “No Problem” seemed to catch her off guard and left her feeling a little unappreciated . Especially, when it was contrasted to the response she overheard from four US servicemen when someone told them “Thank You for your service”. Read the blog post

Professional communication trainer Dan O’Conner says it this way, “While we certainly don’t mean to sound unprofessional when we say, “No problem,” to do so implies that there may have been a problem to begin with, but you’re forgiving the aggravation. Furthermore, it simply sounds unprofessional. If you listen to savvy, powerful communicators respond to people thanking them, you’ll note they simply say, “You’re welcome.”

I think that sums it up nicely. “Your Welcome”. It’s simple, straight forward and conveys the intended appreciation toward others.  In fact, here are three phrases that are better than “No Problem”
  1. You’re welcome.

  2. It’s my pleasure.

  3. Glad I can be of service

While it may be tempting to use the casual  response “No Problem”, give the above three responses a try. You may just find that you sound more professional, more appreciative and more original.

3 Comments

  1. Well said, that is one phrase I don’t use and I don’t like it when someone says it to me. I think the next time someone does say that to me I’ll respond with a very politie “did you expect a problem from me?” If they say “no” then I’ll just say “you are welcome”… 🙂

  2. spurnell

    Glenn,
    Thanks for your comment. You actually inspired me to mention it to a customer rep yesterday at work. She gave me blank stare and I had to explain my blog post. Let me know how your crusade against this phrase goes.

  3. sired22

    ‘I think that sums it up nicely. “Your Welcome”. It’s simple, straight forward and conveys the intended appreciation toward others’

    Because ‘No problem’ is more honest. This did not inconvenience me. I am doing this for a pay check not to make you happy or because i appreciate you. We are all equal and i get no pleasure in serving you so why lie?

    If you where a friend and i had just helped you paint your house then i would say ‘Your welcome’ because i cherish our relation ship more then the inconvenience caused to me. Saying ‘Your welcome’ to every little thank you cheapens it when it really matters.

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