The Art of Giving Directions

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

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Are You Writing Handwritten Thank You Notes After Each Sale?

Are You Writing Handwritten Thank You Notes After Each Sale?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert; Founder and President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, St. Louis, MO Not sure if I’m unusual or not. (Please don’t ask my friends.) However, after each sale (product or service) I’ve ever made, I write a handwritten thank you note. It’s in my DNA. It’s not “I usually do.” It’s not something “I forget to do.” It’s like brushing my teeth; I do it automatically and as close to the sale as possible. That shows excitement. They’re not long notes. And there is no ulterior motive other than a sincere thank you. I don’t mix in asking for a referral in a thank you note. Then it’s not a thank you note. It’s a manipulative move IMO. But I do know, after a handwritten thank you note, the reception I get on follow up calls appear to be very welcomed. It also appears not too many other folks do it. On the other side of the fence, I don’t get many thank you notes from the vendors I use. And when I do, it makes a mental note to me that says ‘nice, thoughtful, company.’ And certainly person. And I remember that

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Email Frustrations

Email Frustrations

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Our surveys are taken at my speaking engagements. I ask the audience what businesses and/or customers want to know. A while back we asked an audience of 350+ what 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 that were frustrating, but these rose to the top. They are not bad; simply useless and unnecessary (i.e., not needed and ineffective). When these phrases are eliminated, emails usually read better; sound stronger. Here we go: * “Just a note to let you know…”or “Just wanted to say…” or “I’m just checking back to see where we are on…..” JUST is a weak, wimpy word. Not necessary. In fact, it is 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 necessary. Confirm the

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Sometimes Even Your Best Friends Won’t Tell You. . .

Sometimes Even Your Best Friends Won’t Tell You. . .

By Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote Customer Service Speaker Customers will walk and take their business elsewhere if they’re not treated properly on the phone or in person. But how does a business owner find out what the customer really likes or dislikes? Over the years, your customers have told Telephone Doctor what they won’t tell you. Here are TEN things they told us that bothers them. We wanted to share with you. All can be avoided. These are NOT all from one customer or one location. Many and varied, over time. Nobody greeted me when I walked into your store. No one said, “Hello,” no one asked if they could help me, and no one said goodbye when I walked out. Well, at least I wasn’t any trouble. Your sales staff looked tired. Yea, they did. Otherwise why wouldn’t they greet me with a big smile and some enthusiasm? It didn’t look like they even wanted me in the place. I bought a lot. I couldn’t believe no one said, “Thank you.” No one told me to “enjoy my purchase.” I did get a perfunctory, lukewarm, “Have a nice day.” Although it was said to

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Three Killer Words That Drive Customers Away

Three Killer Words That Drive Customers Away

By Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service and Keynote Speaker on Sales, Customer Service and Communication Skills Conversation killers. That’s what they really are. Killer words and phrases help make your customers and your potential customers veer away from the real point of your conversation. 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. 3 of the Top-Rated Killer Buzz Words Are: No Problem – The customer is thinking, “Am I a problem?” When someone does something for you and tells you “thank you,” you simply need the GOLD STANDARD of: “you’re welcome.” Overused and abuse: “No problem” appears to be a big problem with your customers. Lose it. It kills the conversation. Calm Down – Telling someone to Calm Down has never calmed them down. This one makes the hair on the back of their neck stand up. In any movie or TV show we’ve seen, when someone is told to “calm down,” the next words from the other actor are usually: “Don’t you tell me to calm down.” Right! It’s not our job to

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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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There is a Definite Difference Between Hearing and Listening

There is a Definite Difference Between Hearing and Listening

By Nancy Friedman, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Nancy is a keynote speaker on sales, communications and customer service Listening is not 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? You may ‘hear’ it as noise in the background, but you’re probably not listening. Hearing is one thing, and 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 easy 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.

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TOP TEN Customer Service Mistakes And THE FIX

TOP TEN Customer Service Mistakes And THE FIX

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Most of us know what the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE feels like.  And some of us know what the Worst Customer Service Mistakes are.  To make it even, we’ve compiled the ten worst customer service mistakes. Take note and don’t let these happen to you! Not Being Friendly Enough          Without exception, not being friendly is the number one customer service mistake. Customers should be treated as welcomed guests when they call or visit your company. As we’ve all experienced, sometimes we’re treated as an annoyance or an interruption. FIX:  A happy smile works wonders, whether you feel like it or not   Poor Eye Contact Heads that twirl on a spindle when you’re working with a customer is a big mistake. Keep your eyes on the customer. It’s a sure sign the person you’re talking with isn’t holding your interest when you’re glancing all around. And they’ll notice it quickly. Obviously, making good eye contact on the phone is a bit difficult, albeit impossible. FIX: When you’re on the phone you need to be completely focused on the call and the customer. Don’t type, unless it pertains to

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Scripts Vs. Conversations

Scripts Vs. Conversations

By Nancy Friedman, President / Keynote Customer Service Speaker / Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   For years I have been working with companies to upgrade, tweak and help with scripts their sales and/or customer service reps. Fast forward. Now we’re trying to get our clients who ask for help with a script to consider going to conversations with aided recall. There is danger and pitfalls to both scripts and conversations though. Let me explain. Scripts were designed for actors. Actors know how to read a script. Most folks don’t. It’s that simple. When you give a person a script they tend to ‘read’ it. Well what’s wrong with that Nancy? Aren’t you suppose to read a script? Yes, but it’s the old ‘HOW’ you read it that counts. We have all been accosted by a phone call and someone poorly reading their script. Yawn, yawn or worse. And in the professional scripts there are words for everyone (all actors) to respond. In your business script there’s normally only words for what the rep is saying. There are no words for the customer – the responder (the other actor). Oh there may be some things like “if the customer says

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Pricing issues and Customer Service

While this is only one industry…we all know it could be any industry.   I’ve “redacted” some of it (cuz I learned a new word)so simply insert any retailer you choose. This is one real person, with one real issue. Imagine the number of people having similar  issues in all sorts of industries. Some people wonder about the cost of customer service and ‘how much money a company’ loses due to poor customer service. FACT:  It’s untold Millions, maybe billions.   Most people won’t write a thesis on what happened..as this person did.  Most just won’t go back.  They vote with their wallet, as we like to say and go elsewhere. And most important – while I don’t doubt the situation happened.. some of the facts might have gotten “lost in translation”.  Most stories repeated usually do.  Sad, but true. Either way, the fact that this went out on a popular blog, will cost the store money.  There’s so many “no no’s in this story,  I almost hesitated to share it.  But what ever NO NO you take out if it… it’s a lesson. Love to hear your thoughts.  Mine is the fact the manager has yet to respond to the woman. 

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What is Your R-T-C Factor

What is Your R-T-C Factor

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor In interviewing our customers, I found that there were several things they value. Things they want before the product or the service. They boiled down to three basic wants comprising of what we now call the R-T-C factor: Relationship, Trust and Consistency. Let’s go over them: 1.  R – – Relationship  Building rapport is an overlooked art. Call many companies and the first word shouted at you is: “Name?” No “nice to meet you by phone” or even a “good morning.” There’s very little rapport building found in today’s customer service. Relationship starts within the first 4 to 6 seconds of a phone call or within 30 seconds for an in-person visit. That sets the stage for the rest of the transaction. Plus, it lays the groundwork for possible future business. Rapport building and relationships are vital to every communication exchange. It’s a simple basic process.  2.  T – – Trust If the customer is unable to trust what you say, the relationship will melt to zero. Gaining the trust of your customer is the KEY to relationship. From following through when you promise to call or fulfilling the company’s guarantee statement, creating trust

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5 Frustrating Voice Mail/Cell Phone Phrases

5 Frustrating Voice Mail/Cell Phone Phrases

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor® Voice mail (business or cell) remains a large frustration in this busy business world. And it’s not just voice mail. The automated attendant is also on the list. In an effort to help reduce voice mail frustration, here are the five most frustrating phrases that your callers don’t want to hear. I’ll discuss the auto attendant in another blog. Here are the big 5 Most Frustrating Voice Mail phrases. 1. I’m not at my desk right now  DUH? 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. 2. Your call is very important to me OMG. Really? A big time waster. The caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so darn important, where the heck are you?” And then again, think about it. Maybe the call isn’t so important to you. You just don’t need this phrase. Semi useless 3. I’m

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Let’s Talk Voice Mail

Let’s Talk Voice Mail

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Our surveys are showing voice mail is now running far behind email to reach someone. However, since voice mail is still in use, let’s go over some of the basic guidelines of using voice mail. I often hear “no one returns my voice mails anymore” a lot. Could it be the way your message is left? There was a time, some of us might recall, where there was NO voice mail. No automated attendant. No, “I’m not at my desk right now.” Just good, old fashioned human beings talking with each other. Is there anyone reading this that disagrees, the first voice we hear, when we call a company sets the tone, starts the process, and is the voice that ‘welcome’s the caller’ to the company? I’ve not met anyone who disagrees with that. Then why on earth would we put a dull, monotone, robotic voice on voice mail? Between the automated attendant that greets the public and your own voicemail that says HELLO to the person dialing in direct, why not be GREAT? I’m going to focus on your own voice mail message today. We’ll

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Why Caller ID is Not a Great Idea

Why Caller ID is Not a Great Idea

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote 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! Don’t discriminate. 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 personal note. Because, remember, it

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Administrative Professional’s Day: April 24, 2019 – Don’t forget to say thank you to your ‘right arm’

Administrative Professional’s Day: April 24, 2019 – Don’t forget to say thank you to your ‘right arm’

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Grandparents Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Christmas Day, well, you get the picture. There’s another day that gets overlooked sometimes and I wanted to share why it shouldn’t. You see, before I was the Telephone Doctor, I spent a few years as a secretary and then as an administrative assistant. What’s the difference you ask? It all depends on who you ask. Either way, it’s a day that sadly gets overlooked. Admin folks, good ones, work hard. They’re usually very loyal and very good. Good ones don’t watch the clock. They take a great deal of pride in doing their job. Being someone’s administrative assistant is a good thing. A special thing. It was fun being an admin. I loved being one. When the caller asked for my boss I would say, “Jim is at lunch, he’ll be back around 2:30 pm; my name is Nancy, I’m his administrative assistant and I do all the work anyway, how can I help?” I always got the information I needed. It always got a laugh and melted any rough edges of the caller.

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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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OK? Well, no, okay is NOT okay. Don’t approve a negative.

OK? Well, no, okay is NOT okay. Don’t approve a negative.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training St Louis MO., For a few seasons I was hooked on American Idol. If you’re not familiar with the program (and there are some who aren’t, including my husband!), please keep reading. I believe what we’re talking about here will make sense to you. On the show, when one of the judges ripped into the contestant with negative remarks on how poorly they’ve done and tells them they can’t even imagine how they got this far in the contest and beats them up pretty bad, the contestant usually just said, “OK.” OK? It’s OK I stink? They are approving a negative. What’s wrong with that picture? You and I know they are crying on the inside – mortified and hurt. If your boss told you that you weren’t going to be paid this week, would you say, “OK?” I doubt it! You’d most probably ask, “WHY?” or “What happened?” And, you’d be justified in asking. I’m amazed at the number of people who approve a negative. They say “OK” so quickly without any thought. In customer service when a customer is complaining or wants to cancel an

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Who is the Telephone Doctor?

Who is the Telephone Doctor?

NANCY FRIEDMAN The Telephone Doctor 1. Your story is so interesting; primarily because you never really wanted to start a telephone sales and service consulting business. Take us back to those early days and tell everyone the story of how you started down the road to becoming America’s Telephone Doctor. It’s a fun story and takes a good hour to tell it right; but let me give you the highlights. I was working at my husband’s advertising business. One day I had to call my insurance agent to discuss something. When I reached the office and asked for him, it was all downhill. The staff could not have been worse. No please, no thank you, no you’re welcome. No nothing. Frustrated after I hung up from the call, I waited until I was in a better frame of mind and called the agent back. When he answered I told him, “Cancel all our accounts.” (We were one of, if not the largest client he had.) I’m pretty sure I heard him fall off his chair and he said, “My gosh Nancy! What happened?” Without missing a beat, I told him. “Your people stink! They’re so rude, they’re so unfriendly, so

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311 Conference Presents Nancy Friedman

311 Conference Presents Nancy Friedman

311 Conference Presents Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor Monday, April 8, 2019 Phoenix, AZ CALL CENTER MANAGERS Exciting News Call Center Magic is what Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, will bring to our 311 conference in Phoenix this coming April. Nancy, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is our keynote speaker. She has been working with call centers around the country throughout her career to help improve communications. Her program, GOLDEN NUGGETS of CUSTOMER SERVICE, is filled with fun, interaction, and tons of ideas, tips, skills and techniques you will take back to your staff and use immediately and forever. Get ahead of the game, and check out Nancy’s website, at www.nancyfriedman.com. Connect with her on LinkedIn so she can tag you with the many pictures she loves to take at conferences. (www.linkedin.com/in/nancyfriedmanspeaker/) Nancy’s program is engaging, interactive and fun. You’ll be laughing and learning throughout the hour. Prizes and surprises throughout. It’s a real don’t miss program opener for 311.

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