Is Responding With "No Problem" Really a Big Problem?

John Krautzel
Posted by

How you phrase a response to a person on the other end of the line may make all the difference when it comes to managing a phone call from a concerned customer. Saying the phrase "no problem" in response to someone's inquiries, dilemmas or comments may not present the best way for a customer service agent to make casual conversation.

The words "no problem," although fine when you engage in banter with your friends or co-workers, may create a counterproductive situation when dealing directly with a customer. Instead, opt for different verbiage when filling space in a conversation. When a customer says, "Thank you," substitute more correct terms, such as "You're welcome," "My pleasure," "Anytime" or "You bet." The last two responses may seem less formal and more relaxed, but they represent better choices than saying there is not a problem.

What's wrong with saying "no problem" anyway? Customer service experts agree that this phrase causes difficulties during customer interactions. Consider the literal meaning of the terms. When you say those words to someone who calls you with a problem, the phrase makes no sense in the context of a dilemma with a product or service.

Saying "no problem" when there most definitely is a problem may put the customer off. This situation may cause a mad customer to get even angrier. Take a look at the opposite effect, when a customer in a perfectly good mood wonders if his simple request causes a problem for the person in front of him. Both interpretations lead to confusion at best and a negative experience that could lead to lost revenue at worst.

The key to solving the "no problem" habit of younger employees is to train them not to say those two words from the beginning of their tenure at the company. Instruct new hires from day one that the proper responses to a request may include "Absolutely," "Of course," "I'm delighted to," or "I would be happy to." These cheerful responses convey a more positive attitude and leave the negative word "no" out of the equation altogether. The difficulty remains in that the phrase is so ingrained in the language of younger people.

One way to cure this verbiage perception problem revolves around an outlined company policy. Off-script calls to deal with unique customer difficulties give agents the authority to speak away from designated manuscripts. However, leaders and trainers should instruct associates to avoid mentioning a problem at all costs. The whole point of serving customers, after all, centers around understanding and solving a problem instead of creating one.

Many companies accept "no problem" as a substitute for other more suitable words. However, there are plenty of ways to say something better in a customer-oriented setting. See if your company's metrics improve following this minor change to your dealings with customers.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

  • dolores p.
    dolores p.

    Sounds like common sense to me

Jobs to Watch