The Art of Giving Directions

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert; Founder and President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, St. Louis, MO

Yes, it’s an art.

If you are a location where people call and ask, “Where are you located?” this is for you.

I’ve had to call for directions both locally and out of town recently and the results are frankly disastrous.

It’s amazing how some people do not know how to give effective directions.

Let me help you:

I called a retail location recently and asked, “Hi. Where are you located?” Simple enough. Right? Wrong!

The sweet young lady who answered bellowed out, “Bob, where are we located?” Fortunately, BOB knew.

But I’ve called many places as we travel the USA to ask that question and here are a few other answers:

“Hi. I’m coming to the mall. Where are you guys located?”

Answer: “Right under the escalator.”

Me: “Super, thank you.”

What she neglected to let me know is there were 4 escalators in the mall. It was a massive mall.

Took me 20 minutes to find the right one. Agggg. Yes, I could have asked someone in the mall. I know that. But better if she had said, “There are 4 escalators in the mall. We’re very close to the big Apple store which is near California Pizza.”

Give clear, concise directions. You may know it like the back of your hand; however, folks like me who travel need clear good directions.

Another time when I called and asked for directions with, “Where are you located?” The answer came back, “Where are you?” I said, “I’m home!” Yes, it went downhill from there.

My suggestion to retail folks who get the question, “Where are you located” is to TRAIN ALL EMPLOYEES how to give excellent clear, concise directions. It will be so welcomed.

Many times I call for directions when I’m traveling and they just assume I’m familiar with the area. You know what happens when we assume? It makes an Ass out of U and ME. ASSUME. So, don’t assume anything.

You might ask first, “How familiar are you with our city?” That’s a great way to start. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Why don’t I use Google maps or GPS ? Good question! Yes. I’ve done that. Siri isn’t always right. That’s why!

And even if she is, if you’re calling into a store within a mall like I did, you need excellent directions. ‘Under the escalator’ is not good directions when there are 4 escalators in one mall.

Give your name too so when the caller comes in he’s easily welcomed into the location where he arrives. This is Mary. Please ask for me. This makes a big impression.

It’s the little things that count and clear directions is one of them.

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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

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