John DiJulius | Customer Experience Blog

No Problem is Big Problem; OnStar doesn’t help a non-subscriber who locked baby in car
April 11, 2013, 8:16 am
Filed under: Above & Beyond, Customer Experience, Customer Service, Service Aptitude


LA restaurant tweets Customer’s names that are no shows – The Beverly Hills restaurant is now publicly shaming people who “no-show” reservations by tweeting and Facebooking the names of offending Customers.  Red Medicine tweeted the full names of people who failed to show for their reservation.


“Hi Kyle Anderson (323), I hope you enjoyed your gf’s bday and the flowers that you didn’t bring when you no-showed for your 815 res. Thanks,” snarked one tweet. 


Restaurant manager Noah Ellis defended this approach. “Invariably, the *%#holes who decide to no-show, or cancel 20 minutes before their reservation (because one of their friends made a reservation somewhere else) ruin restaurants (as a whole) for the people who make a reservation and do their best to honor it.” Check out the full story. LA restaurant tweets Customer’s names that are no shows


Brand Assassination – While it is frustrating to have Customers who “no show” prime appointments and the business loses sales as a result, (i.e. I know this first hand…John Robert’s Spa), shaming your Customers is not the answer.  There are numerous other better approaches, i.e. taking a credit card for a guarantee. 


No problem is a Big problem  The biggest street slang terms used in every business today are the responses, “no problem” or “not a problem.”  With all of our consulting clients, we help create their Never & Always list, and 100% of the time, “not a problem” is on the Never list and certainly, “my pleasure,” and “absolutely” are on the Always list as alternatives. Using “certainly” or “my pleasure” is so much more professional than the often heard, “not a problem.”  It elevates the professionalism of your employees’ terminology. It starts establishing a culture of hospitality, where the Customer is first.


I recently read a great blog by Joe Schumacker, No problem, Big problem (read the entire short blog) that articulated this really well. 


“No Problem” is a problem on two levels. The “No Problem” auto-response places the staff member’s comfort ahead of service to the Customer.  Expanding the auto-response for full meaning, “No Problem” becomes; “You are not creating a problem for me”.  As a Customer I want to feel that my interests are first and foremost in the mind of the staff member, not that I may have inconvenienced a staff member by being a Customer. The second problem with “No Problem” is that it consists of two negative words. 


OnStar doesn’t help a non-subscriber who locked baby in car – A Customer had a vehicle with General Motors’ OnStar system that provides emergency and roadside assistance; however, this Customer decided not to continue to subscribe to the service. Then she accidentally locked her purse, car keys, and her infant daughter, in the car. When she contacted OnStar and asked them to help, just this once, because there was a baby in the car, She blogged about the incident:


“I then called and tried to get OnStar to assist us but the bastards wouldn’t help because I didn’t have a subscription. Now, I know they have a connection to my car because OnStar was on it when I bought it but they claimed there was nothing they could do.”


Swing & Miss – This type of hero opportunity is a world-class Customer service organization’s dream. OnStar had an incredible opportunity to deliver a huge above & beyond opportunity with a potential Customer that I am sure would have been shared all over social media. They need to be able to have this capability both technically and by empowering their front-line employees to capitalize on these moments. 




 The experience is remembered long after the price is forgotten


John R. DiJulius III best-selling author, consultant, and keynote speaker, is the President of The DiJulius Group, the leading customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on customer experience trends and best practices. Learn more about The DiJulius Group or The Secret Service Summit, America’s #1 Customer Service Conference.



When I first read the Onstar story it reminded me of the employee that was not allowed to to perform CPR because of corporate policy. However I took the time to read the blog that it orginiated from and the subsequent followup from Onstar with Vanessa, the mother in the story.

I enjoy reading your Blog and always get a lot out of it, but in this case I think it would only be fair to share the follow up as well.

Keep up the great work!

Best regards,

Clay Scanlan
Calico Cottage, Inc.
Manager of Customer Service

Comment by Clay Scanlan

Thanks Clay, I appreciate the follow up. I actually did see the reply from Onstar and i am a big fan of OnStar. That is why in my comments underneath I say OnStar needs to figure out how to be able to do this going forward so they can capitalize and gain new customers as a result

Comment by The DiJulius Group

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