KILLER WORDS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE & EVERYTHING ELSE

KILLER WORDS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE & EVERYTHING ELSE

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training This is one of our most popular and request to reprint articles and we felt it was time to share again. As ‘grandma’ use to say, “Anything worth doing well, is worth doing twice.” We call them conversation diverters. Just as ALWAYS and NEVER are. Customer and friends doubt you with those words. Killer words help make your customers and your potential customers veer away from the real point of your conversation. So best we eliminate them from our routine and vocabulary. It’s not easy to do. If it were easy to do, everyone would be doing it…and we know everyone isn’t doing it. Here are 5 of the top-rated killer words. Remove them and watch the scene go smoother. There are more, of course. 1. “No Problem.” – The customer is thinking, “When was I a problem?” Believe we can thank the ‘islands’ for this one. When we take a cruise and ask for anything, what’s the first thing the waiter says? Right, “no problem.” Well on the cruise it may be okay; however, back home it needs to be The GOLD STANDARD: “you’re welcome,” “my pleasure,” “happy to help,” and a

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I’ve Never Seen a Hearse Pulling a U-Haul

I’ve Never Seen a Hearse Pulling a U-Haul

Right! You can’t take it with you. By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   I’m a small business owner. They call folks like us ‘entrepreneurs’ and I’m damned proud to be one. But no matter what they call us, we have a small business that we created, or was handed down to us, or we bought. It’s ours. And we get to do pretty much what we want with our business. There are pitfalls of course, but there are pitfalls in every business. So that doesn’t scare me at all. I’d rather make less money and run my own business than have more business and do what someone wants me to do that I don’t like to do. Does that make sense to you? So, I decided to make this article ‘semi-bulletproof’ if you will, for ‘that day.’ That day when we say, “It’s time.” Be it time to retire, time to slow down, time to sell, or just ‘time.’ Maybe just leave early. Take that trip of a lifetime. While succession planning is critical in all small business, it is also critical to be sure the folks who stand by our

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Why “I Understand How You Feel” isn’t a great empathy statement.

By Nancy Friedman. Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. If I could, I would eliminate this phrase from customer service. There is simply no way on G-Ds green earth one person can understand the feelings of others. We can sympathize, but as an empathy statement. Watch this: You can say: “Gee, I’ve never had that experience.” You can say: “That has got to be very frustrating.” You can say: “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling.” You can say: “I’ve had that experience and agree, it’s frustrating.” But you cannot/should not say: “I understand how you feel.” TRUE STORY At my dads funeral, a friend came up to me and said, “Oh I’m so sorry Nancy, I know how you feel.” I said, “Myrna, your dad is sitting right over there . . . how can you know how I feel?” And even if she had lost her dad, each of our feelings are so different. It’s just not a great statement when trying to say, “I’ve been there too.” Use the positive alternatives shown in our video blog.

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How To Avoid Emotional Leakage – Getting Mad at Peter and Taking it Out on Paul

How To Avoid Emotional Leakage – Getting Mad at Peter and Taking it Out on Paul

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training We’ve all seen it happen. A coworker comes into work storming angry; mouth turned down in a frown; walks through the office without saying hello to anyone; sits down at his desk and starts barking orders to his coworkers; doesn’t come out of his office; and when his phone rings he picks it up and bellows out: “Yea?” Sad, isn’t it? Something must have happened before he got to work and he carried it right inside the building. Telephone Doctor calls this “Emotional Leakage” and we cure it all the time. Hey, it’s no fun to get up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning. And it’s sure not fun to get a flat tire on the way to work or to argue with someone before breakfast. It’s unfortunate that some people can’t shake it off and move on about their business. Emotional leakage is getting mad at Peter and taking it out on Paul. Not right, not fair, not fun. Taking a negative emotion out on someone who wasn’t involved? How RUDE can you get? If emotionally leaking on coworkers certainly isn’t fair,

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Passive? Average? Pro-Active? Which are YOU?

Passive? Average? Pro-Active? Which are YOU?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Take this little test and find out. 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 try it? You’ll love it.” Customer feels great. Didn’t realize there was an accessory to go with it and buys the Widget and the Widget maker. See the difference? Now, which one are you? FACT: There is absolutely nothing wrong with

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5 Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases that are on Your Phone. Bet they are!

5 Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases that are on Your Phone. Bet they are!

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   When was the last time you checked your own voice mail on your cell phone? Or on your office or home desk phone? My guess? It’s been a while. Check out our 60 second video blog and see if you can move out some of those frustrating phrases. Your callers will appreciate it. 5 Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases 60 SEC VIDEO it. Share and enjoy.

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Theater 101 for Customer Service and Communication Skills

Theater 101 for Customer Service and Communication Skills

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   So You Wanna Be A Star? READ ON… If you’ve never been in a play, band, chorus, dance group or any other form of theater where the audience is dependent on you and you on them, then you may be in for a shock if you’re new in customer service. And even if you’ve been doing customer service for a while, you might pick up a tip or two. If you have been in any of the groups listed above, you know what I mean. As a professional actress, theater helped prepare me to be a subject matter expert and keynote speaker on customer service. I’m not saying you won’t be good in customer service without a little theater background, but I am saying it’s a bit easier when you have had the experience of some sort of theater background. And not just as an actor. Every part of any play or group activity has elements of customer service. And it will help make your job much easier. It’s clear – the star is the customer, we are in a supporting role, and the stage is your company. Let’s

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I’m The Busboy, But I Will Get It For You

I’m The Busboy, But I Will Get It For You

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   It was in a Las Vegas NON-STRIP hotel restaurant. My husband Dick and I were seated quickly enough, but the wait for silverware, water, menu and a waiter seemed forever. Dick has a lot of patience (he’s never used any). Thankfully, this time he held it in for a while. After a few minutes of no service, no water, no menu, no waiter, he waved the closest person to him and said, “We’ve been here a while and we have no water, no menu, no silverware and no waiter.” Without missing a beat and with giving us a big smile, the busboy who he had waved over said with a lovely Hispanic accent, “I’m the busboy, but I will get it all for you.” And within 45 seconds we had everything. Water, menu, silverware and soon, a waiter. There was no: * I’m not a waiter. * It’s not my job. * I’ll get your waiter. * Someone will be with you soon. * I’ll check for you. No excuses. He stepped up to the plate, handled and saved the situation. “I’ll get it for you.” He

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Five Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases

Five Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases

Normally, I bet my audiences the cash that’s in their wallet that they have one or more of these phrases on their cell or office phone at that moment. I’ve never had to pay! When was the last time you checked your own voice mail message? It’s probably been a while. Well, now’s the time to double check it. Because I’m betting you have one or more of the frustrating phrases on your voice mail. I don’t. If you don’t, congratulations! Here they are: 1. Hi, I’m not here right now. DUH? Well, that’s a hot lot of news. What a boring, semi useless statement. Live a little. Let your callers know where you ARE – not where you’re not. Tell them, “I AM in the office all this week” OR “I’m in a sales meeting till 3 pm.” Let them know if you do or don’t check messages. Let them know when you will be back. No one is terribly interested where you’re NOT. They are interested in where you ARE. 2. Your call is very important to me. OMG. Seriously? A big time waster. The caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so darn important, where the heck are you?” And

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How to Take Control of a Conversation With “Chatty Cathy”- A Video Blog for you.

How to Take Control of a  Conversation With “Chatty Cathy”- A Video Blog for you.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. We’ve all had them. For a variety of reasons, some callers shift from topic to topic or get carried away on one topic that has no connection to why they called in, in the first place. While visiting with a caller may build rapport, often times the caller sidetracks the conversation when time is short as well. Telephone Doctor has a GET BACK ON TRACK technique and it will show you how to refocus the conversation. This 1-minute 46 second fun video blog will help. * Interject – when the caller takes a pause – and they will, with a compliment. * Take control of the conversation with that compliment such as: “Mrs. Jones, (here comes the compliment 🙂 I’d like to hear more about your grandmother’s trip – (or whatever topic they’re onto (NOW the control) however, I know you called in with a question/concern/or comment – how can I help on that? You’ll see that the caller will normally apologize and say something like “oh right, yes… about the credit I was supposed to get; it never came. Can you check that out?” Then, of course, you’re back in control. The

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Why “I Know How You Feel” is Semi Useless

Why “I Know How You Feel” is Semi Useless

By Nancy Friedman. Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. If I could I would eliminate that phrase from Customer Service and other folks who try to help others. Watch this one minute Video Blog and see for yourself. There is no way one person can understand the feelings of others. You can sympathize – you can say: “I’ve never had that experience” – you can say “that has got to be very frustrating” You can say “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling”. You can say: “I’ve had that experience myself and I found it very frustrating”. But you should not say” : I understand how you feel.” TRUE STORY I was dealing with a customer service support person – who was pretty good over all – however, it stopped with the comment: “I understand how you feel”. This from someone who has been well trained on the product – and working with it day in and day out for years….. to someone who is experiencing it for the first time with much anxiety. There was NO WAY she could have understood how I felt. And I resented that statement a lot. Avoid it if you can. It’ll

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How to Get the Best Tone of Voice

How to Get the Best Tone of Voice

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training We present dozens of webinars throughout the year. They’re well attended and, thankfully, very well received. When possible, and time will allow, I request questions ahead of time from the attendees so we can answer what’s on their minds. At one of our more recent webinars, the question below was asked and answered. It was so timely and relevant I wanted to share it so you can have the information as well – and share it. If we use your question on any of our webinars, you’ll receive an autographed copy of one of our popular, customer service books. Here’s a recent email with the winning question. Hi Nancy: My question revolves around how my voice sounds on the telephone. I have recorded messages over and over and I can’t get that happy sound to come across as being natural and genuine. I do want my customers to know that the voice they are hearing belongs to me. So, my question is, what can I do to improve my voice quality? Thank you and I look forward to learning at your webinar. Oddly enough, the topic

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Let Me Double Check That For You

Let Me Double Check That For You

By Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote Customer Service Speaker One thing we all know is no one likes to be rejected. You don’t – I don’t – the folks next door don’t. And certainly, our customers don’t. Yet often we’re not able to satisfy folks – or even ourselves. Today’s blog covers how not to reject folks immediately. We call it “Reject Gently.” And it works. When something isn’t available, or not ready, or you don’t have it – whatever it is – the words, “Let me double check that for you” will save the day. Every time! Rather than blurting out a negative, start with a positive. Start with, “Let me double check that for you.” Sometimes we need to double check ourselves. Either way, it’s a good habit to get into. What it does is . . . well, this 1:30 video blog says it best. Watch it, enjoy and please share.

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ARE YOU A MULTI-TASKER? REMINDER: We Cannot Do Two Things Well at Once

ARE YOU A MULTI-TASKER? REMINDER: We Cannot Do Two Things Well at Once

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training When my dad handed me the keys to the car he told me, “Nancy, the car is not a salon. Don’t fix your hair while you’re driving. Don’t put makeup on while you’re driving. The car,” he said, “is not a toy. Don’t fiddle around trying to change radio stations. And remember, even the 1 or 2 seconds when you happen to sneeze can cause an accident.” As you’ll see in our one-minute video blog below, the word “WELL” is critical. Most of us try to multitask. It’s human nature. But it’s still very dangerous. Think about driving and texting. I’m told that’s a major reason for accidents. And what about those side conversations you have with a co-worker while you’re on the phone with a customer? Or talking with someone else while trying to help one customer and waiting on another? The list goes on. I’ll keep this blog short, sweet and to the point this week. We know we all can probably multi-task; just not very well. Something can go wrong. It’s dangerous. Focusing is key in helping a customer. And staying safe. Take a

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Can I Be Honest With You? No, Lie to Me.

Can I Be Honest With You?  No, Lie to Me.

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   A week or so ago I posted this short comment and the response was a good amount of agreement that the phrase is not a good one. So we’re delving a bit deeper. What are the ramifications of saying, “can I be honest with you?” to a customer, prospect or anyone for that matter? To name a few: * It’s a ‘trust’ violator. * It’s considered ‘social noise.’ * It reduces your credibility because people expect honesty. We call it a credibility buster. * There’s a hidden message in what you’re saying. And there are plenty of ‘cousins’ to that phrase that are annoying phrases. Do these sound familiar? * Can I tell you the truth? * Let me be perfectly frank. * You want the truth? * I’m gonna level with you. * Can I be candid with you? Do you feel there is an appropriate time when it’s OK to use this phrase? Here are 3 reasons why NOT. * It’s simply not effective. Avoid the phrase. * It’s a totally useless phrase. * This phrase questions your own integrity. Customers, family, and friends

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Dear Graduate – Tips you’ll need for getting a job.

Dear Graduate – Tips you’ll need for getting a job.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote speaker, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Please share if you know someone who just graduated or will be graduating high school or college, this may be of great help to them. I’ve spent nearly a lifetime helping companies communicate better with their customers; both on the phone and face-to-face interactions. Recently, I had a rather in depth conversation with a few graduates who were seeking employment. They were asking “how do I” type questions. It was obvious the skills needed for an interview weren’t all there. I asked if they had any classes in school to help them with this process. After a few seconds to think about it, it was more obvious they hadn’t had too much training in that area. Not the nitty gritty. Not the actual questions and tips that will make them stand out from the other applicants. Oh, hey, they had a class on how to do a resume and got information online about interviewing. But the BIG 5 weren’t there. The 5 tips that will really help them get a 2nd interview and perhaps the job itself. So here they are. Tips for the graduates. *   When making a phone

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What’s New in Customer Service?

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

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6 Ways to Be a Success at Failure

6 Ways to Be a Success at Failure

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Not sure who said it, but the old saying, “Nothing happens until someone sells something” stands true. Being in sales is a privilege; an honor. Making a sale is my personal ‘drug’ of choice. It’s a high that keeps on giving. Sadly there are many folks out there who are negative and I don’t do too well with that mentality. Too hot, too cold, too short, too tall, too fat, too thin – the song goes on. So without further adieu, here are 6 ways to be a success at failure. * Avoid contacting existing customers. No matter how long ago they bought from you. Don’t even call or email them a nice note (hmmm, and certainly don’t send a hand written one; that would take too much time) telling them they’re still appreciated. After all, they already bought from you once; they probably don’t need anything else. It’s more fun to struggle and find new prospects, right? Who wants a pushover sale? * Ignore your customer’s needs. Just tell them what you have – over and over again. If they’re interested they may buy. And by all means,

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5 Email Errors You May Be Making & Don’t Know It

5 Email Errors You May Be Making & Don’t Know It

By: Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. We can all get ‘nailed’ in a bad email. As they say, “It can happen to anyone.” But there are ways to alleviate that issue. Here are 5 areas to improve on and help get you better results. 1. Poor Grammar and Spelling This leads the pack of annoyances and shouts you didn’t proofread your email nor did you use spell check. Your and you’re along with their, there and they’re appear to be the most offensive and widespread. It’s also the ones we hear the most about. Granted, spell check is not your friend with some of these words if they are indeed spelled correctly. That’s why proofing your emails, double checking, is more critical than ever, especially if you’re trying to make a good impression. Want the easy way out? Use the old author trick. When in doubt – leave it out. (Example: I have trouble with “effect and affect.” So guess what? I don’t use them. Sad to say, when you use the wrong your/you’re or their/there/they’re, you appear (and I don’t like this word) stupid. Bad enough normal misspellings come into play. But the wrong use of words we

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