What’s New in Customer Service?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training

I was just asked that question in an interview the other day.

And if I asked for suggestions from you, dear readers, I’m betting some of you could come up with a few good points. I say that because I did ask a few folks in the customer service arena. The bottom line is, or was, most everyone I asked came up with logistics. Barely anything to do with actual customer care.

Wonder why that is? My guess is it seems very little new in handling customers has come along over the years. There are new people doing it, but if you’re true to yourself and your company, it’s really fairly easy and simple and not much had changed in being kind, nice and caring.

One of the first questions I’m asked when I’m being interviewed on a radio or TV show is: “Nancy, what is the biggest problem in customer service today?” Or even, “What bugs people the most?” Or a variation of those.

We’ve been doing this a long time and as many of you know, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training has stayed true to themselves from the start.

From my interview with Oprah to the smallest radio station in the U.S., the answer to those questions throughout the years has been, and in my humble opinion, will continue to be, “We’re just not friendly enough.” Customers should be treated as a welcome guest when they come to you by phone or in person, email or pony express, and so often we’re treated as an interruption or annoyance.

If you try our F-E-C homemade model of customer service, you’ll see improvement rating scores go up, better return on your ROI and happier customers. I promise.

Follow our F-E-C technique.

F – Friendly. If you need to teach someone how to be friendly, you’re already behind the 8-ball. Like attitude, it’s a homegrown skill. Organic is the new word, I believe. Those that have the FEC mentality, know what’s involved. And more important, they use it – often. Being friendly is an art, not a science.

E – Easy. Be easy to do business with on a daily basis. Why don’t we go back to a certain place? The answer I hear so many times is “They’re too difficult to do business with.” Re-examine your methodology of doing business. Ask WHY are we doing it this way? Ask “Is there a better, easier way to do this? Can we fix this?”

C – The CARE Gene. We all have it. Just some don’t use it. Sad, because caring is critical in customer service. The phrase “I don’t care” is a negative one. Those who say “I don’t care” to simple questions like, “Where would you like to go to lunch?” would have a difficult time in customer service. I believe what they mean, and perhaps might say, is “I’m pretty good with most places, why don’t you choose?” Or even, “I chose last time. It’s your turn.” Or “Anything but Mexican please.” At least you’re being friendly and showing you do care versus not caring with a negative statement.

The FEC service model is easy to implement and usable by all. It’s my Tuesday gift to you. Enjoy and share!

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Nancy Friedman, customer service keynote speaker, is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and a featured speaker at franchise, association, and corporate meetings around the world. A popular TV guest, she appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, as well as hundreds of other radio, television and print outlets around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The author of 9 books on her chosen topics, Nancy helps corporate America improve their communications with their customers & co-workers. You can see her 9 books here. For more information, log on to Nancy Friedman's website www.nancyfriedman.com or call (314) 291-1012. Oh yeah you can email her at nancyf@telephonedoctor.com. Nancy is a recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame Award - St. Louis Small Business Monthly