“How Can I Help You?” Is Not Necessary on Initial Greetings

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

“How can I help you?” is not necessary on your initial greeting. You are there to help – that’s why you answered the phone. Besides, “How can I help you?” can get the person who uses it into hot water. Listen to a conversation verbatim that I recently had:

I called my bank the few months ago. And that phrase greeted me: “Good Morning, XYZ Bank. This is Mary. How can I help you?”

Me: “I just got my statement” I told her, “and it’s wrong.”

Mary: “Gee, I can’t help you” came a rapid, bland response.

Me: “Then why did you say you could?” I asked.

It went downhill from there.

The 3-part initial greeting is your handshake – your business card – the open door to your business – it’s what starts the relationship.

Sadly, there are way too many companies not paying attention to that area.

This is all we need when answering a phone call:

“Hi, thanks for calling Telephone Doctor, this is Nancy.”

Stop! Anything AFTER your name, erases your name.

(Bonus tip: By the way: “Thanks for calling” eliminates saying the wrong time of day. (ie, good morning when it’s 5 PM etc.)
80% of the time when you end with your name, the caller gives you theirs. And that’s golden.

Look this isn’t rocket science, it’s not brain surgery, it’s plain old common sense. However, we all know there’s just not a lot of common sense going around.

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Nancy Friedman, customer service keynote speaker, is founder/chairman 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