Does “No Problem” Belong on the Stop Words List?
This article was originally published on the FCR blog on June 15, 2017 and received a lot of great comments on both sides of the argument. Click here to read the original post.
I wrote an article several months ago discussing the concept of Stop Words. These are words that we should stop saying in customer service and there are other, more positive words and phrases we should use in their place. I’ve had a number of great conversations about this concept in the aftermath of that article — one in particular that I keep returning to.
One person commented that “no problem” should be added to the list of stop words. This one stopped me in my tracks because no problem is kind of my go to phrase for a lot of situations. You know, “Hey Jeremy, I had something come up and need to reschedule our meeting.” I respond with, “That’s no problem.” Or what about, “Thanks again for your help today”? It’s so easy to respond with “It was no problem.”
What’s wrong with no problem? Some would argue nothing. Granted, the words no and problem are both negative on their own. Could the mention of either of these words in any context trigger negative feelings for a customer? Others would argue that saying no problem somehow implies that it could have been a problem — that in some way you’re doing the customer a huge favor by helping them out. You’re going out of your way to do something that’s not necessarily required and you could just as easily have been inconvenienced.
Admittedly, no problem is a fairly common expression in the English language, and most likely 99.9% of the time it’s accepted by customers. But then again nope, can’t, won’t, unfortunately, and policy (my other stop words) are also fairly common in a lot of customer service conversations. What we’re angling for here isn’t the common or ordinary. We’re looking for WOW, extraordinary, awesome, or whatever word you’d like to insert to demonstrate the level of customer service we provide.
Let’s think about a few alternatives to no problem. What about some of these?
- My pleasure
- Of course
- You bet
None of these phrases could be construed as negative and that same can be said about individual words within those phrases as well.
I still don’t think I have strong feelings for or against the phrase. I tend to agree that if you can avoid saying no or problem to customers, that’s a really good thing. So what say you? Are you for or against no problem? It’s your turn to leave a comment and tell me if I should add it to our list of stop words or if I’m completely overthinking this one.