“No Problem” is a Problem

Truly Caring

Customer service is something I think about a lot.  All businesses and professionals should.  To that point, how you say something can be just as important as what you say.

Chick-Fil-A, a top national restaurant chain in the US, has the standard for their employees to respond to customers’ thank-yous by saying “my pleasure”.  Personally, I really appreciate this.  Another case is with a small local grocer called Brookshire’s.  Their training manual instructs employees to acknowledge customers’ thanks by saying “happy to help”.  In almost any similar situation, a simple “you’re welcome” will do nicely.

Conversely, there is something that really annoys me when, after I say “thank you” to an employee somewhere, they reply with “no problem”.  It might sound like I am being picky, but let me tell you why I feel this way.  Basically I see it as an immature response, as well as potentially a lack of corporate training.  (Just as irksome is when your expression is entirely ignored by the employee after thanking them).

Familiarity breeds contempt

No problem translates to “taking care of your needs was convenient enough for me this time, but at some point it might be more trouble than you are worth.”

However, “my pleasure”, “happy to help”, and “you’re welcome”, are acknowledgements which intentionally express appreciation to the thanker.  They say, “I am glad to be of service – you are the reason I am here.”

The good news is that it can be taught to those willing to learn.

Beyond Customer Service

This etiquette rightly extends into any context beyond customer service, including with friends and family, and in the office with co-workers.  As a consultant, I work closely with all sorts of other professionals at all levels in the organization.  Regardless of whether it is my boss, my subordinate, a QA tester, the CEO, or the administrative assistant, I endeavor to always practice the utmost courtesy and professionalism.

In such a competitive jobs environment as today’s, it is always best to be the one recognized for going above and beyond – to be welcome instead of just no problem.

– Stephen

2017 January US Jobs Report – 227k Beats Expectations

Good News

175k new [non-farming] jobs per payroll reporting were expected in January, 2017.  But 227k were reported.  4.8% is the current US unemployment rate.

Nov and Dec 2016 numbers were revised downward by 37k.

(source: Forbes & CNBC)

Wage growth is reported as flat.  From a personal standpoint, I can say that my compensation is about the same as it was in 1999.  As an IT consultant, it has seen plenty of ups and downs.

While the jobs numbers are good news for this reporting cycle, remember that such things always eventually swing the other way.  TradingEconomics.com reports an historical low unemployment rate of 2.5%, and a high of 10.8%.

What it means

As an optimist, my outlook is positive.  With evolving technology in energy, electronics, communications, robotics, medical, etc., there will be increasing demand for skilled workers in these fields as well as the ones that are impacted (such as travel, construction,  security, sales, healthcare, and anythings else you can think of).  So, the implications for you are to get prepared.  Keep in touch with the news, and study and learn about these technologies.  The modern workplace is changing faster than ever, and so the modern workforce must do the same!

– Stephen

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