Every Business Has A Phone & Someone Answering It

Every Business Has A Phone & Someone Answering It

By Nancy Friedman, Founder/President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker   Who doesn’t want to get great service when you call a company? So much business is done over the telephone. First call, in between. Or ends up in a phone call after a chat or online experience. Before delivering a presentation, be it keynote or workshop, one of my ‘things’ to do is to make a few mystery calls to the company that has hired me. Not to make anyone feel bad or to embarrass anyone (I don’t tell the audiences: “Hey, I called some of you the other day and it was terrible.”) That’s not why I do the mystery calls. I call so I can hear what their customers are hearing. And while often it’s not very pretty or very good, I can always bring them Telephone Doctor GOLD STANDARD customer service techniques. I probably haven’t called your organization, large or small yet, so I’ll share one of our GOLD STANDARD techniques we provide to our clients. It always brings me a great deal of pleasure when I can tell my clients, “Your folks are super!” We only need 3 things when we

Read more

The Customer Experience Starts Here

The Customer Experience Starts Here

By Nancy Friedman, Founder & President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, and Keynote Customer Service Speaker   Every business has a phone and every phone has someone answering it – eventually, in answer to those who are going to say: “what about the automated attendant?” What company doesn’t want to deliver a better customer experience? Not sure anyone will disagree it starts with the first touch of a customer. No matter what channel of communication you use. It’s not rocket science, it’s plain old common sense. And it can start with any of the 6 touch points of customer service. NOT just a phone call. When you talk about the ‘experience’ you’re talking about everything. NOT ONLY ONE THING. You’re talking about EVERYTHING. Here are six touch points of communication and a few ways on how to get it right the first time. Email – There is an art to a great email and delivering a great experience in this channel. Spelling and correct grammar is a key component. Voice Mail – Have you ever called your own cell phone or office phone to hear what your customers hear on the message? It’s an eye-opening experience and normally needs

Read more

What’s Your Customer Service Grade Point Average?

What’s Your Customer Service Grade Point Average?

By Nancy Friedman, Founder & President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, Customer Service Speaker   How would you rate your businesses customer service? On an A to F scale? Do you train your employees or do you just wing-it when it comes to customer service? If employees fail at customer service and are not helpful and knowledgeable, OR are unpleasant, your business not only could lose customers and lose future sales, but you also risk the chance of getting virally slammed on social media. So, what can business owners and managers do to encourage excellent customer service? Here are five tips that will help up your game and provide customer service that will generate sales and repeat customers: *    Start some sort of training now! If you have even a small dose of customer service training in place, review it with your employees, often. And if you don’t have a customer service plan, consider bringing in training for your staff. No time to train? Reminders are helpful – “Thank you for your business,” “Thank you for calling” goes a long way, costs nothing, and leaves a positive lasting impression. *    Meet with your staff at the end of each day. Discuss what went wrong

Read more

Are You a Double Checker?

Are You a Double Checker?

By Nancy Friedman, Founder & President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote & Workshop Speaker at Meetings & Conferences on Customer Service, Communication Skills and Sales   One thing we all know is no one enjoys being rejected. You don’t, I don’t, the folks next door don’t. And certainly, our customers don’t. Negative starts to a sentence are usually poorly received. 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.” Either way, it’s a good habit to get into. Remember – REJECT GENTLY. It speaks VOLUMES. This minute thirty video blog says it best. Watch it, enjoy and please share.

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

A Telephone Doctor Assignment: CALL YOURSELF

A Telephone Doctor Assignment: CALL YOURSELF

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training As an owner, manager, supervisor or any top-level executive, one of your first assignments from the Telephone Doctor is to pick up your telephone, call your office and ask for yourself, a service or a product. That’s right. Call your own office from your home, outside with a cell, or from a friend’s home or office. Ask for yourself, a product or a service your company offers. Be careful, though, it can be very painful. Oh wait? You say you have a very recognizable voice and they’ll know you right away? Then have someone do it for you and be close by so you can hear; or if there’s an extension, use that. Again, be careful. It might be painful. A while back I asked my program audience to do just that when they got back home. A woman came running up to me and yelled, “Well, they’ll recognize my voice.” I said, “Yes, they might if you ask for somebody else, but if you call up and ask for yourself a service or product chances are they won’t.” We cannot fix what we do not know.

Read more

A Little Quiz for You

A Little Quiz for You

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Read the three scenarios below and ask yourself, “Which type am I? And who do I have on my team?” #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

Read more

15 Easy Customer Service Tips for the Holiday (OK, Every Day…)

15 Easy Customer Service Tips for the Holiday (OK, Every Day…)

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training FACT: Customers go out of their way looking for companies that give great customer service. FACT: Some find it; some don’t. Once a year (at least) and especially at holiday time, it’s healthy to go over a few of the good, old common sense, customer service tips. The ones we all know, yet nice to get a reminder. Our books, Customer Service Nightmares, as well as The Good the Bad and the Ugly, two of our 9 popular books, is proof that customers love to report on how badly they’ve been treated. When asked, they answered in the hundreds – near thousands, with stories about how bad their experience was. (We did get a few ‘good ones’ though.) Here are 15 tips . . . fifteen customer service tips that are good old common sense thoughts, ideas, and skills. Short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy. Share – some folks aren’t aware. 1. “Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” always have been, and always will be, powerful words. Seldom overused. 2. “You’re welcome” is simply the best replacement for “no problem” (and no worries). 3. “Sorry ‘bout

Read more

Five Sayings to Sabotage Your Business

Five Sayings to Sabotage Your Business

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   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 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 today: I Have No Idea This is normally used as an excuse more 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?” There normally is a certain blank stare accompanying this statement. Sad. Instead,

Read more

What We Have Here; Is the Failure to Communicate.

What We Have Here; Is the Failure to Communicate.

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Communications: Define the word Noun 1. The imparting or exchanging of information or news. “Direct communication between the two countries will produce greater understanding.” Synonyms: transmission, conveyance, divulgence, disclosure A letter or message containing information or news. plural noun: communications synonyms: Message, statement, announcement, report, dispatch, communiqué, letter, bulletin, correspondence “an official communication” 2. Means of connection between people or places, in particular. The means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers. plural noun: communications Hmmmmm. Notice anything missing? mis·com·mu·ni·ca·tion ˌmiskəˌmyo͞onəˈkāSHən/ noun plural noun: miscommunications 3. Failure to communicate adequately. Communication. Failure to communicate adequately. Many of us may recall the famous line in the Paul Neuman / George Kennedy Movie; “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” (CoolHand Luke if you haven’t seen it.) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061512/mediaviewer/rm956369152 You can repeat something over and over and if the person still doesn’t get it; it’s pretty obvious then it’s time to re-phrase it for clearer communications. I hear about failure to communicate, a lot, within companies. And even sometimes, within our own company. If I were to have written the definition of “communications” I might have

Read more

Why the word ‘CHANGE’ is so SCARY – And a suggested CHANGE to that.

Why the word ‘CHANGE’ is so SCARY – And a suggested CHANGE to that.

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training DEFINITION: CHANGE; to make different Why is this word so scary to people? The word change is a scary word to some employees. It’s about as welcome as getting an electric shock. Mainly, I believe, it’s because when we hear the word ‘change’ we aren’t sure of what’s going to happen. * We’ll be making some ‘changes’ around here. * This company is going through some ‘changes.’ * Even ‘change’ management is scary. And when I tell my husband, “I’m changing the furniture in the family room” it creates havoc in our house. “Don’t change anything,” he says. Employees particularly get worried when they hear the word ‘change.’ What if you could make the word better? We can! Simply replace the word ‘change’ with a more positive, rewarding word – IMPROVEMENT! * We’ll be making some improvements in this department. * Our company is going through some improvement. * Dick, I’m going to make some improvements in the family room. Who would deny an improvement? Sound much less scary wouldn’t you say? Try it today. Insert ‘improvement’ when you want to use ‘change’ and see the difference. Thank you.

Read more

Mission Critical: 6 Ways to be a Better Communicator

Mission Critical:  6 Ways to be a Better Communicator

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   FACT: No matter what you call your customers (citizens, members, students, clients, taxpayers, etc. etc. etc.), they are the ones who are providing your organization with its income. The single greatest way a company can distinguish itself from its competition is by the level of service it offers and the higher level of service you offer, the more successful you will be. Communications and listening skills are critical in delivering prime customer service. We’re going to give you a big start, 6 ways you can communicate better. *    Welcome the customer on the phone or in person. A big welcome will set the stage. Be obviously friendly. Be business friendly. Leave out friendly and you are just business as usual. Mediocre. *    Be a good listener. That means give good eye contact as well. Remember, hearing is physical; listening is intellectual. *    Concentrate – then concentrate more. Don’t let your mind wander. Stay with the customer. Give the customer undivided attention. *    Keep an open mind. That means let the customer talk. Don’t try and finish their sentence. Don’t interrupt. *    Give verbal feedback you’re listening. Silence is only golden

Read more

The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Telephone Skills for EVERYONE

The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Telephone Skills  for EVERYONE

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Telephone Doctor works with all kinds of people. For whatever reason, there’s a group of these folks who feel they’re in that old ivory tower and exempt themselves from telephone skills training. There is one thing, however, they have all agreed on – that there are always a few good tips from the Telephone Doctor. Here are a few good DO’s and DON’Ts and a LINK to our new book below. 1. DO acknowledge all your phone calls. Somehow. 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 label 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 is 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 give bad news yourself. Not able to deliver on time? Canceling a

Read more

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,

Read more

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?

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

BACK TO BASICS 2018 STYLE

BACK TO BASICS 2018 STYLE

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker – Customer Service, Communications, Sales. President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training FACT: Customers go out of their way looking for companies who provide great customer service. FACT: Some find it; some don’t. Once a year (at least) it’s healthy to go over the good old common sense customer service tips. The ones we all know, yet often get left behind. It’s not rocket science, it’s not brain surgery; it’s plain old common sense. But you and I know common sense is not that common. So, at the start of the year, I re-run our BACK TO BASICS article with the hopes they’ll get shared and used. Here are 15 BACK TO BASIC customer service tips that are good old common sense thoughts, ideas, and skills. Short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy and share. 1. “Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” always have been, and always will be, powerful words. Seldom overused. 2. “You’re welcome” is the best replacement when told “thank you.” (NO PROBLEM/NO WORRIES are on the KILLER WORDS of customer service list.) 3. “Sorry ‘bout that” is NOT an apology. It’s a cliché. “My apologies” is better when there’s a screw up. “I’m sorry” is when you step on someone’s

Read more