Will Your Customer Service Pass or Fail? Tips to get an “A.”

Will Your Customer Service Pass or Fail? Tips to get an “A.”

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   The holidays are fast approaching. Few times are more important for your customer service. The holidays cannot only make your financial year a huge success, but it’s also a prime opportunity to gain new customers who will return year-round. However, if employees fail at customer service and are not helpful, knowledgeable, or are unpleasant, you not only lose customers and lose future sales, but you also risk the chance of getting slammed on social media. So what can owners and managers do to encourage excellent customer service during and beyond the holiday season? Here are five tips that will help up your game and provide customer service that will generate holiday sales and repeat customers in the new year. * Start some sort of training now, before the holiday shoppers arrive. If you have some customer service training in place, review it with your employees and those seasonal workers you are hiring for the holidays. If you don’t have a customer service plan in place, hire an experienced expert to spend a day training your staff. And if you have no time to train,

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Words that Drive Customers Away

Words that Drive Customers Away

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   We call them conversation diverters. Killer words are words that make your customers and your potential customers (and oftentimes friends and family) 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. In no order of importance, here are five of the top-rated killer words. Remove them from your sales and presentations as well as your customer interactions and watch the scene go smoother. 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 should be: The GOLD STANDARD of: “You’re welcome,” “My pleasure,” “Happy to help,” and a host of other ways to let the customer know you’re glad to do that. “No problem” appears to be a big problem with your

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Should You Use a Script or Have a Conversation?

Should You Use a Script or Have a Conversation?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Scripts were designed for actors. END OF SUBJECT! 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 supposed 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, inbound or outbound, with someone poorly reading their script. Yawn, yawn; barf, barf or worse. With a professional script, there are written words for the other person to respond. In your business script, there’s normally only words for what your employee is saying. There are no words for the customer, the responder (the other actor/or the customer). Oh, there may be some things like ‘if the customer says this; you say that. If the customer says that; you say this.’ (Sort of like “eat this; not that.”) So, what happens if the customer says something that makes the rep go off course in your script? Do we say, “Excuse me, sir, that’s not in my script?” Here’s a big time

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“Hi Bob!” Oh my! Maybe it’s NOT BOB???

“Hi Bob!” Oh my! Maybe it’s NOT BOB???

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Why you need to be VERY CAREFUL using CALLER ID. A short video story on why it’s best to answer all phones – office, home and cell (and whatever other phone you might have), simply with, “Hi, this is….” (I use Nancy. . .you use your own name.) There are too many horror stories of what has happened when you ‘think’ it’s one person and it turns out WHOOPS, it’s not that person. Here’s a 1-minute VIDEO BLOG on why caller ID may be good, but you need to consider the consequences when it’s NOT who you see it is. Enjoy and please share. http://www.nancyfriedman.com/2016/12/20/caller-id-can-dangerous/  

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Short Training Video on Business Friendly Customer Service

Short Training Video on Business Friendly Customer Service

Every call is unique – don’t become desensitized! In most service situations, it’s very common to handle repetitive calls. The same issues over and over. We need to remember that to the customer, this is the first interaction they’ve had with your company today. Always remember that every call is unique. And needs to be treated that way.

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Word of the Day: WACTEO (WAC-TAY-O)

Word of the Day: WACTEO (WAC-TAY-O)

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service and Communication Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   In these days, folks are busy, stressed out and short of time. It can be easy to forget to thank folks. It shouldn’t be. However, sadly, it is. We can usually remember to thank our customers because “we’re supposed to.” We probably don’t have any trouble thanking our family members. However, there is a group of folks that are often left out of the “thank you” pile. And that would be our co-workers. The folks we spend most of the day with side-by-side. I’m dedicating this column to our inside customers. The folks that are thought of as our ‘home away from home’ family. Sure, we argue and disagree with co-workers just like our family. And that’s OK, because most of us have a family environment in our office. We understand that. It’s our office family. The word WACTEO comes from the sentence: We Are Customers to Each Other. Pronounced: WOC-TAY-O If every office, large and small, followed some of these guidelines, I’m thinking it would be a better place to work. Understand Your Role – Each employee should know the mission of

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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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15 Good Old Common Sense Customer Service Tips: Back to Basics

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service speaker – Customer Service, Communications and Sales.  President of 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) it’s healthy to go over the good, old common sense, customer service tips. The ones we all know, yet nice to get a reminder. We have tried so very hard to explain to both sides – the customer and the business – 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. It’s not out there. Customer Service Nightmares, as well as The Good the Bad and the Ugly, two of our 9 popular books, is proof of that. People love to report and vent on how badly they’ve been treated. When asked, they answered in the hundreds, near thousands, with stories about how poor their experience was. We cannot count the number of articles out there on customer service. Some are good, some not; some have new ideas; some speak the old tried and true. Back to Basics – The old tried and true is

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Five Ways to Sabotage Your Business

Five Ways to Sabotage Your Business

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   There are many ways to sabotage a business. And chances are your staff is doing some of it, without you even knowing it. That’s the bad news. The good news is here are five mainstream ways that can hurt your business. My guess is you’ve heard them yourselves. Through our Telephone Doctor surveys, we bring you 5 issues that can sabotage your business without your even knowing it. If we can at least get some of these five issues handled, you’re in a much better position to serve your customers. Here we go: It’s Not Our Policy This, unfortunately, is used more as an excuse than anything else. It’s a sure thing that the employee has not been shown how to explain a policy to someone. What happens then is it’s used more as something to say when they don’t know what to say. And the customer calls that an ‘excuse.’ When the customer hears “it’s not our policy,” they translate it to, “WHO CARES?” What a business needs to understand is no one but the management and staff really cares about your policies. Do you really think

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GRADUATES:Ten Timely Interview Job Tips for YOU& Others Looking for a Job

GRADUATES:Ten Timely Interview Job Tips for YOU& Others Looking for a Job

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote speaker, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Resumes are key, of course, and there are dozens of helpful sites and folks that can help you with those. I’m taking it one step further. Ok, you’ve got the interview. They liked the resume. Now what? Now comes the critical point. What to do/say/how to act in the interview. Now they gotta like YOU. It’s SHOWTIME. Follow these interviewing tips to help you stand above the rest. Even ONE will make you better. When making a phone call to a prospective employer you need to ask for time to talk when they get on the line. Immediately. And “are you busy?” isn’t asking for time to talk. You need to ask, “Mr. Jones, did I reach you at a good (or bad) time?” Or “Mr. Jones, is this a good time to talk?” Something that says I respect your time, I am a respectful person, or I care about your time. Ask for time to talk. Without fail.Just barging into their life, starting up a conversation, thinking your phone call is the most important one, will get you right to the bottom of the list. Remember you

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Do You Use These DIRTY Words?

Do You Use These DIRTY Words?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training It seems as though many families have words they don’t like their kids to use. Forbid them! (Anyone wash their mouth out with soap anymore?) Certainly the ‘dirty’ 4 letter words are first and foremost in many families. And with good reason. While admittedly they can pack a punch in telling a story, and might even get a laugh, it’s not nice. I liken that to Jerry Seinfeld who keeps a clean show and packs the house. As does Harry Connick Jr. and many others. Andrew Dice Clay may be funny at times, but loses its punch after so many dirty words. But it appears there are lots of dirty words that have more than 4 letters in them. And while they’re not really DIRTY – DIRTY they are bad – wrong – hurtful. Here are a few: * Stupid. This is not a nice word to say to someone. If you don’t like an idea someone has, you can simply say, “I’m not impressed with your idea.” Or “You’ve had better ideas than that.” Something to that effect. You don’t need to tell someone it’s a

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Do You Suffer From Emotional Leakage?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service & Communication Keynote Speaker & President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service, Inc. Emotional Leakage – Getting at mad at Peter and taking it out on Paul. Not right, not fair, not fun. We’ve all seen it happen. A co-worker 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 aren’t able to 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.

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6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service & Communications Expert; and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   FACT: The best weapon for a successful business is customer service. It’s that simple. We will pay more for better service! So whether you’re a small business owner or Hewlett Packard or only looking for ways to improve, read on. We believe in helping businesses get better at communicating with their customers. To get off on the right foot with your customers whether it’s via phone or face-to-face, or any of the other touch points, here are the Telephone Doctor’s Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service. Adapting these easy steps will make your day, and more importantly, make the customer’s day a better experience for you and your company.   Cardinal Rule # 1 – People Before Paperwork When someone walks into your place of business, or calls you while you’re working on something, drop everything for that person. Remember, paper can wait, people should not. We’ve all been abused when we go shopping and been ignored and we know how that feels. Let’s not abuse our own customers. Remember: People before paperwork.   Cardinal Rule # 2 – Rushing Threatens Customers Sure,

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Customer Service Week

COMING SOON Customer Service Week By Nancy Friedman, Keynote speaker, Customer Service, Communication Expert. President Telephone Doctor; Customer Service  Customer Service Week is October 5 thru 9, 2015.  Yet with what’s going on around the world, don’t you agree we all should be celebrating customer service week all year round, not just one week. At least that’s our mentality at Telephone Doctor. But for the time being, let’s at least make it one week. So what will you be doing Customer Service Week for your team members? For your customers? Think about it now if you haven’t; it’ll be here shortly. The day-to-day treatment of how we treat each other, as well as customers, can make or break a business relationship. And since we don’t get a whole lot of time to create that bond of friendship, we need to be aware of the little things that can permanently damage that relationship we try so hard to make. A few ideas: Make that week – negative free. No negative words, thoughts or deeds to anyone Make smiling a condition of employment for that week. Frowners sit in a corner. A phony smile is better than a real frown. (Telephone Doctor motto)

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10 Secrets Your Customers Won’t Tell You But We Will

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor; Customer Service & Communication Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Most business owners know that customers will walk and take their business elsewhere if they’re not treated as they’d like to be. But how does a business owner find out what the customer really likes or dislikes? Surveys are “OK” but in my opinion, not 100% on target. Your customers have told Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training what they won’t tell you. Here are TEN things only your best friend will tell you. (By the way, that would be us).  Dear Telephone Doctor – 1.   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. 2.   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. 3.   I bought a lot of stuff. I couldn’t believe no one said, “Thank you.” No one told me to enjoy my purchase. I did get a luke warm, “Have a

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Words that Ruin a Relationship

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service & Communication Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   DANGEROUS WORDS – NEGATIVE WORDS Or known as conversation diverters. Just as ALWAYS and NEVER are also conversation diverters, below are a few more words/phrase that will make your customers, potential customers, along with friends and family 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. Remove these disruptions from your sales, service and any communications and presentations and watch the scene go smoother. “It’s not our policy.” – Ouch! Okay, okay, most every company has policies and it’s something we need to deal with on a daily basis I’m sure. What we realized was it’s not necessarily the policy that’s frustrating, it’s blurting out first and foremost, “It’s not our policy” or in some cases it’s “their” policy. The policy needs to be rephrased so that it starts off in a more positive way. We like to say ‘rejecting gently.’ And rephrasing policies are a good way to explain what’s not gonna happen. Next time

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How to Prevent “Bad Apples” from Spoiling the Team

Research shows that one “bad apple” – an employee with a negative attitude – can impact your entire team. It doesn’t take long before the gloomy team member infects others with their defeatist behavior. First, we need to understand why anyone would adopt an attitude that seemingly has no professional payoff. The answer is because there can be a social reward. An employee might make a negative comment for a laugh or to attempt to be part of a consensus. So what’s the solution to negativity in the office? It’s isolation. How? Remove the social incentive. Isolate the behavior through direct and assertive responses. For instance, after a wisecrack about a new management focus, one could say, “I understand you feel that way, Chris, but I don’t, and I’m excited to hear about the new direction.” You remove the social incentive by showing that others on the team don’t share it. The goal is to respond politely. It won’t work to challenge the person by saying, “Why are you always so darn negative?” Very few people will agree that they’re negative. Likewise, it doesn’t work to debate: “You’re wrong about management. They have a good handle on things.” The negative

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The WALKING DEAD – Beyond Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service   We all know there are three types of customer service. Those that are passive, those that are average and those that are proactive. A no brainer. We get that. But as happens sometimes, there are those that fall lower than passive. And the other day I found it. When we left the store my husband looked at me and simply said, “The Walking Dead” knowing what I was thinking right away. I was thinking “How can I put this total ‘non experience’ into my speaking engagements? How can I explain what the Walking Dead is, do or are to my audiences?” We decided that other folks run into an experience such as that. Maybe it wasn’t a terrible customer service experience or something the person said or did. Simply put, it was as though you were meeting with the ‘walking dead.’ It was lower than a ‘nothing’ experience. I’ve categorized bad experiences into 2 files. One is SAD; the other is BAD. Recently one of my clients asked what the DIFFERENCE is between the two. A SAD customer experience is when something wasn’t quite right and

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Top 30 Reasons Sales People Fail

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Sales, Customer Service, Communications; President Telephone Doctor Customer Service. We run a pretty good sales team at Telephone Doctor. Several team members have been with us over 15 – 20 years. One even longer. Some have left after 3 weeks. My guess is those that have left, left due to one of these ‘reasons.’ Actually it’s not a guess. One of these reasons is definitely why they left. Like all lists, it’s not final. There are other reasons, however, I believe you’ll agree this is a good start. Share with your sales team.  They don’t practice their skills They’re not flexible They’re not a team player They don’t use their sense of humor They don’t use their imagination They don’t listen to management They make no effort They get too comfortable, too fast They interrupt too often They don’t ask enough open-ended questions They make too many assumptions They’re not sales minded in all areas They’re not able to handle corrective criticism They don’t have enough enthusiasm They have poor time management skills They don’t use their Saturday night personality during the week They don’t have a “Whatever It Takes” mentality They lose their focus They’re not able

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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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