Hiring My Pleasure Employees for Super Customer Experience
by Kate Nasser | 14 Comments »
As I read 7 Horrible Phrases Job Applicants Say That Are Warning Signs, I discovered seriously bad advice that can ruin your customer service hiring.
It suggests that if a job applicant uses the phrase my pleasure or no problem, they will not serve customers well. It claims these are bizarre phrases showing the applicant it out of touch with customers.Quite the opposite is true.
In fact, these my pleasure employees deliver super customer experience.
Hiring agents, CSRs, reps, and specialists who find serving a pleasure sustains customer experience in a way that training can’t.
The author and those he consulted have misunderstood this time honored phrase of deep service and civility. The phrase my pleasure is not, as he proposes, a focus on the employees’ needs.
My pleasure is a shortened version of:
- My pleasure to serve you …
- It is a pleasure to serve you
- It is a true pleasure to be in service to you and others
The phrase no problem is a shortened version of no problem doing anything you request.
Many brands use the phrase my pleasure — from high end hotels to fast food chains like Chick-Fil-A restaurants.
Yet even if you believe that your customers would not like these traditional expressions of civility, employees with naturally giving hearts can learn to say other phrases. The retraining is quite simple. Not hiring this natural service talent would be a serious error of omission and disastrous for customer experience and your brand.
Employees who feel it is a pleasure to serve have self-sustaining morale. When you have enough of them on one team, the teamwork shines as they unite in this spirit. Their can-do attitudes make the difficult, easy and the mundane, special.
I would hate a simple misunderstanding about these phrases lead you to exclude the very customer service employees that will treat customers with pleasure and deliver super results.
Unless you detect true signs of selfishness or immaturity in the interview, hire this natural talent.
My pleasure and no problem are not red flags in hiring. In fact, they are green lights to super customer experience!
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™
Related Post: Simply Great Choices Create Super Customer Experience
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on the ultimate customer service experience, teamwork, and leading change. Kate turns interaction obstacles into business success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
Good post, Kate.
It those people who possess that self-sustaining morale boost you want on your front line for the difficult work of serving customer needs, especially when things are not going well. These are the people that can work with even the worst of your customers and make it an ultimately pleasureable experience for everyone. In whihc case they will garner even more business for you.
I totally agree with you and it’s my pleasure to read your fabulous articles which I have no problem in tweeting to others 🙂
“My Pleasure” was consciously brought into modern-day hospitality by the original team (Horst Schulze and co.) who created the modern-day Ritz-Carlton. The idea was that the Ritz could hire people from a wide variety of backgrounds and educational levels based on their people-pleasing traits and join them together in an intentional, cohesive language of service.
However, the Ritz actually gave people a variety of synonyms for “you’re welcome,” so that they wouldn’t sound too scripted (the other options include “certainly,” etc.) ; nonetheless the majority of employees seemed to choose “my pleasure,” so it became a sort of Ritz-Carlton trademark.
Since that time, companies that consciously emulate Ritz-Carlton practices (Chik-fil-A, whom you mention above, is in this group) use the phrase, and more generally, the people who have worked at the Ritz have dispersed throughout the hospitality industry, bringing the phrase with them.
The complete story — and its current-day implications — are on pp 15 onward in my book “Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit.” A free chapter — including this story — is available at the following direct link: http://www.micahsolomon.com/books.html
“A new guru of customer service excellence.” –The Financial Post
Thanks for the background on that one Micah. I’m with you about non-scripted. Things must sound genuine and sincere.
All the best,
I totally agree with your post! In fact, it was my pleasure to read it. When hiring customer service employees what matters most is the feeling they give you when you speak with them, their listening skills, eye contact, smile, and yes, their ‘no problem’ attitude. To turn down applicants who use the exact same phrases used by most people looking for such jobs seems silly and……out of touch with how people speak today.
Silly is right Guy. when you find these “welcomers” as Richard R. Shapiro, author of The Welcomer Edge” would call them, — why would you turn them away from your door?
Thanks for your time/comment on this one.
Thank you Kate for this post; it got the blood boiling. This is why the preponderance of customer service is barely good or adequate, and not great. Look at how they are recruiting. I am in agreement with you Kate that “my pleasure” is a perfectly acceptable response.
However, to base the value of a recruit on phrases instead of uncovering behavioral examples of superior service or initiating case questions. Get behavioral examples of the person delivering outstanding service. Discover if the recruit can exercise responsible freedom and be empowered to go next steps. Does the person have a passion for your subject matter?
Stop doing silly things, and maybe you will stop getting silly results.
It’s funny… The author had some good points elsewhere in the list, but I agree he really missed the point with “my pleasure.” It truly is shorthand for all of the sentiments you list above. And as you and Micah point out, Chik-Fil-A and others have built world class service organizations on the back of that very phrase.
I think the trick is not filtering out people who say “my pleasure” in an interview; the trick is knowing which applicants really mean it!
Good stuff Kate!
Kate, I couldn’t agree with you more. I don’t believe either phrase is a red flag for hiring. I’ve never considered “my pleasure” to be inappropriate; quite the contrary: someone enjoyed delivering the service they delivered for me. And as someone who says “no problem” a lot, I take issue with it being a red flag because my meaning is as you state it: not a problem for me to help you, happy to help you, etc.
By the way, when I say “oh really” (another phrase the author mentions), it typically means that I have been listening and have likely learned something new from you, not that I don’t believe you. For “no problem” and “oh really,” I think tone and delivery are key to making them good phrases to use with customers.
However, on those phrases alone, I would not base my hiring decisions.
Thanks for taking the counterpoint to article.
Great article Kate – “My Pleasure” is a philosophy and a strategy. It is especially important in the hiring strategy to get the right people, with the right mindset – or philosophy – in the right job. A person may have the skills, but if they don’t have the right mindset (or morale), he/she will potentially erode your brand.
In addition, the concept of “My Pleasure” is just the right think to do. I talk about confidence builders and one of them is to be polite. Say, “please,” “thank you,” and… “my pleasure!”
Thanks Shep. Mindset including service and teamwork is critical to a brand’s success. Customer service is the heart of a brand in its customers hearts.
Grateful for your focus on its importance.
Best & warmest regards,
As a general manager of luxury resorts, I believed that the superior delivery of our service was the only real differentiator from our competitors. I constantly reminded our leadership team that it’s a lot easier to hire nice people than it is to train people to be nice. Consequently we did judge applicants favorably or unfavorably, in part, based on the candidates’ understanding and practice of common courtesy conveyed in their responses to our interview questions. “My pleasure” put the candidate in the plus column. While Micah Solomon is absolutely right that Ritz-Carlton made “My pleasure” synonymous with their brand, I am so old I remember, when first coming into the hospitality business, being instructed that we were to answer every phone call with “At Your Service” and ended every conversation with “My pleasure” or “You’re very welcome.” Since common courtesy is no longer so common these days, applicants who responded with “My pleasure” certainly stood out as potential hospitality superstars.
While “No problem” did not disqualify the candidate, once selected, we did let the new hire know that “No problem” was on our list of forbidden phrases along with “I don’t know” or “Okay”. We believed that some customers may perceive “No problem,” as “You weren’t as big a problem as I thought you’d be.” From an applicant, though, it was acceptable, much more than an “Uh-huh”, “Sure” or “You bet.”
Ultimately, along with a candidate’s eye contact, genuine smile, and proper attire, a “My pleasure” attitude, as you pointed out, is a significant indicator of an individual’s potential as a hospitality superstar.
Thank you for sharing, Kate. You’re always offering insight on how we can deliver an exceptional customer experience.
My pleasure is music to my ears. No problem, not so much. Neither of those two words are positive. It’s amazing how many people say no problem. I would love to hear them replace that with my pleasure.