My Pleasure on a sticky note

Customer service in real estate is paramount. It’s a key differentiator promoted by the vast majority of brokerages and agents. It’s vital because real estate is a relationship business.

I’ve written about this before, but growing up and working for my dad in the hotel business, I was taught how essential it was to provide exceptional customer service. That has made me acutely aware of the overall decline in excellent customer service in our society at large.

Just think about your recent experiences when shopping, dining, flying or staying at a hotel. Think about your experiences in any service industry were customer service is its lifeblood.

How many times during those experiences did someone say “No problem” after you thanked him or her for help?

Words do matter: especially in the world of customer service. Using the right words can take an average customer service experience and turn it into something exceptional.

Using the wrong words will likely leave someone at a minimum disinterested or unsatisfied.

The problem with “No problem”

The response “No problem” is one of my biggest pet-peeves when it comes to language use. I am going out on a limb here, but I blame Millennials for driving the popularity of the “No problem” phrase. (See Google Ngram that charts the expression in books over time.)

Saying “No problem” has become so common as a response to replace “You’re welcome” that I have found myself occasionally using it! (The horror.)

What’s the problem? Exactly. Saying “No problem” instead of a more gracious phrase to denote appreciation or acknowledgment suggests that what you just did was a problem!

My family was out the other night in a restaurant in Downtown Seattle. I thanked the server for bringing us our drinks so quickly. Her response, “No problem.” What was the problem to begin with exactly? I complimented a Flight Attendant last week for a being a great crew. “No problem,” she responded. Was there a problem in being able to provide excellent service?

Don’t even get me started on how many times in a single day of Mall shopping I heard the phrase “No problem.” It seems everything we appreciate begins as a problem.

Making the magic happen

Then something magical happened at the new Hyatt Regency in downtown Seattle recently. My family stayed at the hotel overnight after attending The Rolling Stones concert.

Check-in was handled by a front desk “Guest Experience Specialist,” whom I am going to guess was a Millennial. I didn’t ask her age, so I am judging a book by its cover here. After I thanked her for doing a great job checking us in, she said, “My pleasure.”

Wow. I was almost giddy afterward. We grabbed a drink at the Lobby Bar after putting our bags in the room, and all I could talk about was that phrase: “My pleasure.”

I can appreciate that, for some reason as a society, we have grown uncomfortable with the phrase “You’re welcome.” It may be a little too “you” centric, for some.

But the phrase “My pleasure” as a response to acknowledge a compliment for services rendered is simply fantastic.

It makes me sad to think that when I receive even “good” customer service these days, I am delighted. Now I relish those rare occasions when I receive outstanding customer service. That little moment at the Hyatt Regency Seattle was one of those times.
Great agents and brokers know that to provide exceptional customer service, the little things matter. Even the turn of a phrase – replacing “No problem” and instead, genuinely saying “My Pleasure” – can make a huge difference.

Here’s to the phrase “My pleasure” trending up and “No problem” disappearing from our vernacular.

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