Two simple words that say so little and so much at the same time. They seem to say so little because of the ubiquitousness of the expression. I hear it a lot now in stores, restaurants, service organizations…everywhere!
And I think that’s unfortunate because they do say so little in that context, but they also can say a lot.
But, first, what does it mean when we say, “No problem”? Especially as part of a retail transaction?
To me, it suggests we – as customer service representatives – are saying, “Don’t worry about it. We are okay doing you this favour.” Or worse – “It’s okay; you didn’t really inconvenience me that much.” Or even worse yet – “Despite how it appears, helping you out wasn’t really a problem for me.”
Let me see if I have this right: We are saying to you, the customer who just supported us by coming to our location versus going to another store, that you should not worry because you are not a problem to us…Really? That just doesn’t seem right!
I’m guessing that, somehow, sometime, these two words migrated from a more conversational, favour-based exchange among friends and family (e.g., John: “Thanks for helping me move the fridge.”/ Jane: “No problem.”) or in response to a request for a change to say to the person making the request that we’re okay with that change (“Can we change our appointment until tomorrow?”/ “No problem.”) to an acceptable part of the exchange between a customer and the people whose job it is to serve that customer.
But whatever happened to appreciating and thanking that customer for choosing us over someone else? For supporting local businesses? For trusting us and placing their faith in our products and knowledge?
Surely, the customers are the ones doing us the favour. Instead of “No problem,” shouldn’t we be saying, “Thank you for supporting us” or “It’s our pleasure”, or, at the very least, “You’re welcome”?
So, if you choose to deal with us, we can’t always guarantee we will have what you’re looking for (but we will do our best to get it for you), but we can assure you that these two, little, insidious words will not be part of our conversation at Up and Out or Kind Living.
Thank you 🙂