Is Your Business Being Sabotaged By Your Own Staff?

Is Your Business Being Sabotaged By Your Own Staff?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Could be, if your staff is using any of these phrases. There are many, many words and phrases that can, and will, sabotage your business. And chances are your staff is saying some of these now, without your even knowing it – on the phone and in person. And worse yet, you’ve probably even said some of these yourself (ouch!). That’s the bad news. The good news is we’re able to bring to you the top five sabotaging phrases and then show you how to neutralize the effects. So get ready. You and your staff are about to be in a much better position to handle the Five Sayings to Sabotage Your Business: 1. I Have No Idea This is normally used as an excuse than anything else. It’s a sure thing that the employee has not been shown how to explain something to the customer (i.e., no product training). This phrase is used as something to say when the employee doesn’t know what to say. When the customer hears “I have no idea” they immediately respond (usually silently) with, “You gotta be kidding me?” Interestingly enough,

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Ten Do’s and Don’ts Of Effective Telephone Skills & More Where These Came From

Ten Do’s and Don’ts Of Effective Telephone Skills & More Where These Came From

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Phone Skills Expert   I work with all kinds of companies, executives and staff. For whatever reason, there’s usually a group of folks who feel they’re exempt from telephone skills training. And yet, one thing they all have agreed on is there’s always room for refreshers and good solid tips. So, without any further ado, here are some good, solid tips for everyone on effective telephone skills. 1. DO acknowledge all your phone calls. If you’re unable to return a phone call yourself, have it returned on your behalf. Not returning a phone call is like not using your turn signal – rude and sometimes dangerous. (Not returning calls also labels you as rude.) 2. DO place your own phone calls. Or if you absolutely need to have someone else place a call for you, at least be ready when the person you called gets on the line. It’s legendary bad taste to get a call from someone’s assistant and then be put on hold to await Mr./Ms. Self-Important. 3. DO handle delivering bad news yourself. Not able to deliver a product on time? Canceling an agreement?

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Making Cold Calls? How to Handle Call RELUCTANCE and Call REJECTION

Making Cold Calls? How to Handle Call RELUCTANCE and Call REJECTION

By: Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   A while back I was speaking at the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table conference and at the end of the presentation, during our Q & A, an insurance salesman asked me, “How can I handle call reluctance?” I was slightly taken aback. I really couldn’t imagine a salesperson (an insurance one especially) having call reluctance and being successful. That’s what I call an oxymoron. The two just don’t go together. I asked him if he meant ‘Call Rejection?’ He did not. Call reluctance – the fear of picking up the phone – and making a cold call, is obviously not a great characteristic of a successful salesperson. On the other hand, I understand and can treat ‘call rejection.’ Well, you’re asking, what’s the difference between the two? Big time difference! If you feel you happen to have call reluctance, for whatever reason, meaning you’re obviously reluctant to pick up the phone and make a cold call, start with little steps.  Call for information at a local store.  Call friends and talk with them.  Call folks you haven’t heard from in a while.  Set an achievable goal. Maybe 10 prospecting calls and

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National Small Biz Week

National Small Biz Week

National Small Biz Week – Starts with good people.  Here are some great new hiring questions to ask. What type of theatre experience have you had? That’s one question I believe that is missing in the hiring process.   If not theatre, continue with sports, chorus, band, cheerleading, even Girl and Boy Scouts. Each of these include and require TEAM work.   And there are many parts of each:   Example: Acting – stage manager – props – grip – lighting – sound – and more.  No one play, or movie can be done without each of these parts. I have a professional theater background and it has helped my career thrive immensely in the customer service arena. Now, it doesn’t mean if you don’t have some sort of theater background you won’t be good in customer service. But it does mean you’ll probably understand the mentality of customer service faster and even better. Some things you’ll learn in theater and the other jobs listed above, that can be applied to customer service are: Learning how to say something even when you forget your lines or script. Learning to work well with others, even if you don’t like them. Knowing the “applause” is

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Do We Owe The Millennials An Apology?

Do We Owe The Millennials An Apology?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training The other day I had the good fortune of presenting one of our basic customer service, telephone skills program to 25 “MILLENNIALS” in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We’ve all read and heard about situations with this group. But if the group I worked with is just a sample of what’s out there, good for everyone! We’re gonna be OK. They were sponges. They couldn’t write the information down fast enough. They had so many good questions. They thanked me over and over at the end of the session. They LinkedIn with me! They were more than AWESOME! They were NOT ‘know-it-all’s.’ They were NOT narcissistic. They didn’t rush me. They weren’t many of the things I’ve read in so many articles that bash them. They were good, hard working 25-35-year old’s trying to do a better job for their customers. They had NEVER had a program on communications or customer service in school. Their employer thought enough of them to bring Nancy (okay, ME) in for their National Sales Meeting. Thank you to all at www.Innereactive.com. Kudos to them. They are our tomorrow. And I’m so glad I got to be a

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My Drug of Choice? LAUGHTER!

My Drug of Choice? LAUGHTER!

Hi all. Boring meetings, and not so fun speakers can ruin an expensive time. Proud to have been chosen as one of the 4 ladies who take a unique approach. Enjoy this article from VIRGIN.com Airlines – www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/four-female-entrepreneurs-who-took-unique-approach-succeed Thanks, Nancy Where’s Nancy speaking? Just a few upcoming meetings to entertain the crowd: BGI Systems Innereactive Media Fiesta Auto Insurance FASTSIGNS Louisiana Dept. of Health WIC Like to talk about a program for your company during Customer Service week? Let’s talk! 314.291.1012 or email nancyf@telephonedoctor.com

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BEWARE: Caller ID Can Be Dangerous

BEWARE: Caller ID Can Be Dangerous

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training If this hasn’t happened to you yet, my bet is it will. You see the name or a number you recognize on the phone and pick it up with, “Hi Joe” (or whoever it says). And low and behold – guess what? It’s not Joe. Safest bet? Don’t look. Act surprised. Be great on every call. Or if you do look, use your professional greetings. Don’t discriminate! I often hear: Well, it’s JUST “Bob” and poor Bob gets a low grade unprofessional greeting. Not nice. Bob should get the same greeting as you’d give Taylor Swift. (If she called you that is.) I’ve been speaking on customer service a long time and I’m asking you to believe me. It’s not worth it to discriminate on how you answer the phone. Watch this 1-minute Video Blog and you’ll see what I mean. Make each call GREAT! Treat each caller as though it was your favorite movie star. Even if you look and see it’s “Bob Smith” who you know and love, that call should be answered as professionally as you would if it’s not. NOT “Hi Bob” or some other

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Theater Skills for Customer Service

Theater Skills for Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Here’s a GREAT new hire interviewee questions: What type of theater experience have you ever had? Why should you ask that question? REASON: Because someone who has ever been in a play; part of a band, chorus or dance group; stage manager, grip, sound, prompter, make up, lighting, a director; even sports knows that the audience (your customers) are depending on them. My professional theater background has helped my customer service career thrive immensely. And I’ve been honored to share what has helped build Telephone Doctor. Not being in theater, band, chorus and the like, doesn’t mean you won’t be good in customer service. It means those who have had that experience will understand the mentality of customer service faster, and often, better. And regardless of the title or job responsibility in your company, we know everyone is in customer service. Theater 101, as I call it, is a perfect pre-curser to holding a job in customer service. Theater 101 prepares you in the best way for better communications. Below are only a few Theater 101 skills that will enhance your customer service reputation.

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of A.I.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of A.I.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training  Siri hates me.  I know it. When I ask for directions to “123 Main Street, St. Louis, MO”, her answer has been, “I can’t find Main Street in Des Moines.” Now I have a pretty good, clear speaking voice and tone. I don’t mumble or talk too soft. That being said, let’s define A.I. for those that may not be as familiar with it as those that are. The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages. Fairly simple? Most of us realize, and I believe accept the fact, that computers do make errors. Perhaps not as many as us humans; however, nevertheless, they do. And they certainly are fast when working right and we input correctly. I just do not believe A.I. will take over the world soon. A.I. is good in many cases for finding information, however, what I find it lacks is in the real “need” category. From what I see and hear as I travel the country speaking at conferences and meetings helping

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Top 15 Customer Service No No’s

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Throughout the years, Telephone Doctor has gathered all sorts of information using surveys and finding what things frustrate customers. From this information, we’ve been able to bring you the vignettes in our training programs both online at www.serviceskills.com and onsite, www.nancyfriedman.com, with reality that matters. That’s what makes Telephone Doctor programs so ‘real.’ It’s because they are. The segments produced aren’t ‘made up’ – they’re from YOU. Things, events and situations that have happened to you, me or we have witnessed. No pretend; nothing ‘made up.’ I’ve had things happen in a service situation that I know if we produced people would think, “Oh no, nothing as bad as that could ever happen.” But we know it does, right? And, I’m pretty sure some of the scenarios have happened to YOU as well. In no order of importance, here are the TOP 15 NO NO’s in customer service. Yes, there are more. Way too many for this post. 1.    Employees are having a bad day and their foul mood carries over in conversations with customers. (Everyone has bad days, but customer service employees need to keep theirs to themselves.)

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How to Win 5 Telephone Doctor Customer Service Books

How to Win 5 Telephone Doctor Customer Service Books

Oct 1 – 5, 2018 is Int’l Customer Service Week…and it will be here, like the holidays, sooner than we think. During Customer Service week, companies are supposed to do something ‘fun’, exciting and thoughtful for their customers. We’re supposed to do it all year long, every day; but someone thought up a special week…so let’s have some fun! What are you and/or your company planning to do for Int’l. Customer Service Week this year? How to Enter: Send your plans, ideas, thoughts or tips to us at PRESS@telephonedoctor.comby Monday, April 30, 2018 and you could win a library of FIVE Telephone Customer Service & Communication skills books. All books will be autographed by me, Nancy Friedman Golden Nuggets of Customer Service The Hidden Gems of Customer Service 50 Little Tips that Make a BIG Differences Customer Service Defined How to Get Your Customers Swearing by you NOT at you Contest Rules: Enter as many times as you’d like. (YES, it’s Okay) Entry must be post marked by Monday April 30, 2018 Winners will be notified by May 15, 2018 and will also be invited to be our PODCAST GUEST! Include your name, title, company, address & phone number. No blood

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Take the Test – Are you Passive, Average or Proactive?

Take the Test – Are you Passive, Average or Proactive?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Read the scenarios below and ask yourself which type am I? #1. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what…I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from a PASSIVE person: “OK, thanks. Have a nice day.” Customer feels nothing. Usually disappointed.   #2. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what…I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from an AVERAGE person: “You sure?” Customer feels slighted. Probably could have used a little help.   #3. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what…I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from a PROACTIVE person: “Wow! Sorry to hear that. Are you aware there’s a Widget maker that goes with it at           a discounted price? You’ll have several uses for it. Why not keep it? You’ll love it.” Customer feels great. Didn’t realize there was an accessory with it and buys the Widget and the Widget maker. See the difference? Now, which one are you?   FACT: There is absolutely nothing

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How Do I Answer a Business call?

How Do I Answer a Business call?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker & President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Ok, no rude comments please. I don’t remember that either, just looked interesting. And they probably had the same question back then. How do I answer a business call? One the most often asked questions I get in all my speaking conferences across the country during our question and answering segment is: “Nancy, what is the best way to answer our business phone?” Well, I’ve never said Telephone Doctor is the best or the only. However, I do stand behind the fact we have the most effective telephone techniques. After all, we’ve been doing this a long time. So if you’re looking for the most effective method in answering your business phone, if you want to be the most effective on the INITIAL greeting, come along with me and listen. We only need 3 things when we answer a business phone: 1.    A buffer 2.    The company or department name 3.    Your name Then stop! Anything after your name erases your name. The initial greeting needs to end with your name. “How can I help you?” is not necessary in the initial greeting. You’re there to help. You’re there to

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Things NOT to Say to a Customer

Things NOT to Say to a Customer

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training It shouldn’t matter what industry; there simply are things that should NOT – OK, NEVER, be said to customers. I received this email from a LinkedIn friend (@Joan Lerch) about an exasperating answer to a statement she recently experienced. She joins the long list of what not to say to a customer. Read her short, yet great, story. Do not tell an unhappy customer they should NOT be unhappy. Denver hotel clerk at 6:30 am: “How was everything?” Customer: “Well, not great. No hot water and a very early flight. Had to scamper down the hall to the room next door and grab a shower with still chilly, but bearable water.” Clerk: “Oh well! Sometimes the water just takes a while to make the trip. You know, just like at home!” Customer: “No. At home the faucet produces HOT water. Every time.” (The first clerk said “the plumbing in that part of the building is problematic.”) Why is it so difficult to acknowledge a screw-up? Thank you, Joan, for sharing. I hear lots of horror stories; things customers cannot believe people say to them. Here’s my own

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6 Tried & True Listening Tips

6 Tried & True Listening Tips

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Listening isn’t the same as hearing. Think about a commercial for a product you have no interest in; it’s easy to tune that information out, isn’t it? Hearing is one thing, but listening and mentally absorbing the thoughts is another thing. That’s why we say listening is an art – not a science. While it’s easy to ‘hear’ what the customer says, great customer service begins with great listening skills. Here are 6 steps to help you become a better listener. And if you think you’re already a pretty good listener, pass this along to someone who could also benefit from improved listening skills. TIP #1 – DECIDE TO BE A BETTER LISTENER In school, you’re taught to read, write, do math, and dozens of other topics. I don’t know about you, but in all my schooling, I don’t ever recall having a course on listening. And yet, as we all know, listening is an important, some would say even a crucial skill. The first step is all about you – your personal commitment to be a better listener. You need to decide to be a

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Ineffective Email Words & Phrases – Are You Guilty?

Ineffective Email Words & Phrases – Are You Guilty?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training We did a survey a while back at one of my speaking engagements. I wanted to know what really bugged folks about emails they received. Without hesitation, the top 3 were: * Poor spelling and grammar – Your, you’re; there, their, they’re; here, hear; to, too, two and the list goes on. * Email that are too long; too wordy. * Wrong subject lines that don’t match the body copy. There were others, but these rose to the top. I’m about to share a few of the phrases used in emails that are not very effective. They are not bad; simply useless and unnecessary (i.e., not needed). When these phrases are eliminated, the emails usually read better; sound stronger. Here we go: “Just a note to let you know…”or “Justwanted to say…” or “I’m just checking back to see where we are on the order.” JUST is a weak, wimpy word. Not necessary. In fact, lame and useless. Eliminate the word JUST in your sentences. Read those sentences without the word “just” and see how much stronger they become. “As I (or you) mentioned on the phone”or “Pursuant to our call (conversation, whatever).” Double work, not needed, not

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2018 TOP JOBS FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE – WITH SOME CAVEATS

2018 TOP JOBS FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE – WITH SOME CAVEATS

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service   One of the hottest job sectors in 2018 will be in customer service. According to a story in USA Today, several industries will be hiring and stepping up their customer service to compete and attract and keep customers. Of the top five selected – they all have one thing in common. The need for customer service training. (But then don’t they all????) Computer Support Specialists – IT departments in nearly every office in corporate America depend too much on technology and not enough on personalized service. Many computer support specialists come into the job unprepared in the field of customer service and communication skills. They nail it on the computer and fail it with the human touch side. It’s one of the top areas where customer service skills are desperately needed. Computer schools teach technology, but most don’t teach customer service. Financial Clerks – Those who work in the industry clearly have their numbers down cold. They couldn’t get the job without that. But while they are number experts, many lack communication skills. They tend to talk ‘over’ the customer’s head and miscommunications are high. So, there’s a big need

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It Take More Muscles to Frown. Why Overwork?

It Take More Muscles to Frown. Why Overwork?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   “Nancy, can you really hear a smile?” Yes, you really can hear a smile. And more important, you can also hear the lack of a smile as well. If you happen to already be a smiler, you might want to pass this article on to those who aren’t smiling (or not). SMILE from Webster’s dictionary: SMILE: To smile, be astonished; to have or take on a facial expression, showing pleasure, amusement, affection, friendliness, irony, etc…and characterized by an upward curving of the corners of the mouth and a sparkling of the eyes I like the “sparkling” part. And smiling is something most everyone can easily do. Don’t you wonder why more people don’t smile?  Show me a picture of you that you don’t like and I’ll bet it’s a picture of you without a smile. Say: Eggplant or Cheese? A New York Times review by Roxana Popescu of the book A Brief History of the Smile written by Angus Trumble asks a very good question: “Why do English speaking people say CHEESE to make you smile, but Chinese speakers say Eggplant?”  And Trumble continues, “The spontaneous smile of the little child is essentially truthful.” I’m not

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4 Semi-Useless Words You Use Every Day

4 Semi-Useless Words You Use Every Day

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   HI, HOW ARE YOU? Looks harmless, right? Yet it’s been labeled “social noise.” Especially to those we don’t know, haven’t met, and may never see again. SEMI-USELESS! There are dozens of other ways to open and start a conversation in person or on the phone. A few are: * Nice to hear your voice. * Good to meet you. * Glad to talk with you. * Good to see you. * Thanks for taking my call. * You’re looking great. * Glad to make your acquaintance. * You sound/look chipper. * And so many more. “Hi how are you” can reduce effectiveness, especially on a first-time introduction, call or meeting. And for people you see every day at work, or all the time elsewhere, it’s ineffective as well. Say something creative, unique. You pass someone in the hall at work, on the street, wherever. It usually goes like this: “Hi, how are you?” * “Fine, how are you?” * “Fine.” Done. * Over. * Nothing. * Nada. * SEMI-USELESS. Use a more original, caring comment. You’ll see a big difference. And so will the other person. Again, it’s not bad

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How You Can Fight ONLINE Sales

How You Can Fight ONLINE Sales

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Seems so many businesses are feeling the technology disruption. The “Amazon Effect,” the popularity and ease of online shopping, and the related changes in consumer behavior and preferences is forcing businesses of all types, large and small, to take a new look at customer service. More business is lost due to poor service and poor treatment than poor product. Companies spend thousands of marketing dollars trying to convince us to buy their products and services, but if that contact is not handled just right at the point of sale, all that money is wasted. Poor customer service and dissatisfaction not only impact sales and return business, but can damage a brand and lead to shaming on social media. Businesses who are concerned about online sales should now invest in customer service training programs. They are so busy trying to survive that they overlook the importance of customer service as a way to counter the online threat. In all businesses, from retail store salespersons, to a greeter at a restaurant, to representatives at a call center, to manufacturing and more…business owners and managers need to train their employees on

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