"Of course giving change is not a problem – it’s what you’re paid to do."
I’m a strong believer in customer service. It’s been ingrained in me since birth – virtually a part of my DNA. My father built a successful business on service to the extent that total strangers have told me about service experiences with Dad 35 years later (that’s another story). I wrote and taught customer service courses in Fortune 500 companies like Tupperware, Hughes Supply and Universal Studios, Florida. I published a book about customer service called, Service Heroes in Hospitality.
All of this, I feel, qualifies me to make the following request:
Lose the phrase, “No Problem.”
If I buy something from you and you give me change back, as a good old country boy I usually say, “Thank you.” If you respond with, “No problem,” I’m tempted to reach across the counter and provide you with my own version of the forehead slap.
“No problem,” implies that your efforts to provide service have not inconvenienced you in any way. It is not a problem to provide this minimal level of service. To me, that’s painfully and blatantly obvious. Of course giving change is not a problem – it’s what you’re paid to do.
When I was a training manager at Universal Studios, we competed with the service juggernaut, Disney World. Our goal at Universal was to provide exemplary service – service that was worthy of being an example for other service providers, including Disney. Exemplary service might warrant a “no problem,” but we never said it because any implication that there might be a problem providing service in itself made the service less than exemplary.
“No problem,” should be reserved for doing something highly unusual that requires above-and-beyond effort, but yet, you’re still willing to do it because you want to provide exemplary service. Unless you reached into your own jeans pocket and extracted my change, you’ve not done anything extraordinary. Unless you walked across burning coals to bring me my Flaming Sambuca, you’ve not done anything extraordinary. Unless you’ve done something extraordinary, the response doesn’t deserve a “no problem.”
So when you hand me my change or give me my dry cleaning or slide that McWhatever across the counter, and I say, “Thank you,” respond appropriately by saying, “You’re welcome” (which means; “I’m glad you’re here and please come back”) or, “My pleasure” (which means, “I enjoy providing this service so much that I just may break out in uncontrollable laughter at any moment”).
And I’ll keep my forehead slaps to myself.