Tag Archive for 'Thank You'

“Thank you” is golden, “No problem” is a problem

It has happened to all of us: You’re being waited on at a restaurant, buying a product or returning something to a merchant, and as an employee is delivering some kind of service you say, “Thank you.”

Good for you; your mother would be so proud.  But she wouldn’t be impressed by what has become an unfortunate response to thank you. After you say thank you for having your water refilled or your order completed, there is sadly a good chance the employee will say, incredibly, “No problem.”

So, from this response are you now to think that simply allowing service to be delivered is some sort of problem you’ve created, for which forgiveness should be granted?  Should you feel relief that you’ve been redeemed by this person with “No problem” absolution?

Clearly, American English has devolved to a level that makes many of us nostalgic for casual. It’s difficult to pinpoint where things ran off the rails. But somehow the sublime “it’s my pleasure” has deviated into the subpar “no problem.”

Well, my friends, let’s get one thing straight: No problem is a problem. When small business employees say no problem to a customer instead of you’re welcome, it’s a serious problem that over time could be the equivalent of a business death wish.

Think I’m overreacting?  How much money do you spend getting a customer to do business with you?  How much energy and resources do you invest into making sure your products, pricing, display, etc., are just right?  How many sleepless nights do you spend worrying about how to compete with the Big Boxes?

Now that we’ve established the enormity and consequences of these answers, are you sure that no employee of yours ever causes one of your customers to think — even subliminally — that the mere fact that they do business with you could be some kind of problem?

In The Age of the Customer, the only thing unique about your relationship with a customer is the experience they have with you — how they FEEL about doing business with you.  Everything else is a commodity. Everything!

So, pray tell, in what universe does “no problem” help your business maximize the positive emotions of an excellent customer experience? Stop saying it, and train your employees to stop saying it.  If success is your goal, this is non-negotiable!

There must be 39 different ways in the English language to express your delight in serving a customer without saying “no problem.” Use one of them.

Write this on a rock… In The Age of the Customer, “Thank you” is golden, “No problem” is a problem.

Jim Blasingame is the author of the award-winning book, “The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.”

Forge the customer goodwill alloy of “Thank you”

What would you pay for a small business silver bullet to win the fight with Big Boxes and online competitors?

Before you get overwrought about how you would come up with the cash for something so valuable, here’s good news: It’s free and you already possess it.

There are several versions of this silver bullet, each to be used at an appropriate time and engagement, but here’s the default version and the most important one: “Thank you.” I promise, if your customers never leave behind their hard-earned cash without hearing a heartfelt, “Thank you,” your business would become a competitive force to be reckoned with.

Here’s an expanded version: “Thank you for your business.” Long after this sentiment enters the ears of customers, when they’re considering the next purchase of what you sell, they will remember that you looked them in the eye and lodged these words in their heart: “Thank you for your business.”

Here’s one more, in response to a request or when a customer thanks you first: “It’s my pleasure.” And if you really want to pull off the silver bullet hat trick, say, “Thank you. It’s our pleasure to serve you. We really appreciate your business.”

Saying thank you – and making customers believe it – forges what I call the “Customer Goodwill Alloy.” Just as steel is created when you forge iron with other elements, customer goodwill is created when values, commitment and engagement are forged in the crucible of training, practice and execution, causing your employees to say “Thank you.”

We all know what happens when steel is left exposed and unmaintained: Corrosion causes it to revert to its base elements as rust. But do you know what happens when the “Customer Goodwill Alloy” is left unmaintained and exposed to the elements? It sounds like this, “No problem.” Or, “Here you go.” Or, “Have a good one.” Or even worse – nothing! Not even eye contact!

If you want to compete in The Age of the Customer, you can’t allow your business to revert to customer service rust. More than a means to an end, it must become a way of life to forge and maintain the “Customer Goodwill Alloy” every hour of every day of every year.

If your door is open, if your phone is ringing, if your website is working, customers must know how important they are to you. Otherwise, save yourself a lot of money and anguish and close up your business now. The Big Boxes have beaten you.

Paraphrasing Paul Simon so customers don’t leave you, there must be 50 ways to express your delight in serving a customer instead of “No problem.” Use them! Words matter!

“No problem” is a big problem that can be solved by simply saying “Thank you.”

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