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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4 Useless Words

4 Useless Words

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Oh, I suppose there are dozens, or even more of them, but our surveys have shown that these four words in starting a conversation have the ability to ‘kill’ the conversation.  HI, HOW ARE YOU? Looks harmless, right? Yet it’s been labeled “social noise.” Especially to those we don’t know at all, haven’t met, and may never see again. USELESS! There are dozens of other ways to open and start a conversation in person or on the phone. A few to give you to start 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 on and on and on. “Hi how are you” can reduce effectiveness, especially on a first-time call or first-time meeting. Plus, you risk surrendering control of the conversation at a critically early stage. You pass someone in the hall, on the street, wherever; it usually goes like this: “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, how are you?” “Fine.” Done. Over. Nothing. Nada.

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10 Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You, But Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Will

10 Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You, But Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Will

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Most business owners know that customers will walk, take their business elsewhere, if they’re not treated as they’d like to be; be it a phone call or in person visit. But how does a business owner find out what the customer really likes or dislikes? Surveys are often too late and, as well, often not all that dependable. Here are only a few reasons why you lose customers and they don’t come back. The list is not about one store, but a compilation of many. 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. When they yawned, they didn’t even cover their mouth. It looked as though they didn’t even want me in the place. 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 nice day.” But it was said

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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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Avoid these cellphone deadly sins

Avoid these cellphone deadly sins

Reposted from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/success/inc/tca-avoid-these-cellphone-deadly-sins-20170707-story.html by Cheryl Snapp Conner Inc Magazine Cellphone courtesy month is here, and not a moment too soon. We can thank Jacqueline Whitmore, a business etiquette expert from Palm Beach, Fla., for creating National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in 2002. People using one of the most intrusive devices in history should be courteous all year, of course. But cellphone abuses are rampant, according to customer service expert Nancy Friedman, who is known as the Telephone Doctor. So in honor of the month, Friedman has shared the most irritating cellphone offenses that need to be curbed. Public areas Taking calls in restaurants, during plays, seminars, business meetings, movies or in other public areas is a sure way to annoy others. Keep your ringer off. When the phone vibrates with a call you simply must answer, take your call to a private area or text a note that you’ll reply later. In business, if you absolutely must leave a meeting to take a call, do it skillfully. For example, my colleagues and I will never forget the former employee (emphasis on former) who walked out of a meeting with our chairman with no remark or apology to take a personal

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“OK” is NOT “OK”

“OK” is NOT “OK”

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training For a few seasons I was hooked on American Idol. Not sure if that was good or bad. But I do know it was a whole lot of fun on a Tuesday night for a while. The three judges, Randy, Paula and Simon, were quite a team. They reminded me of the 3 Little Bears. If you’re not familiar with the program (and there are some who aren’t, including my husband!), please keep reading. I’m thinking what we’re talking about here will make sense to you. On the show, when one of the judges rips 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.” And often times ‘thanked’ the judges. 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

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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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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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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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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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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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8 Tips to Help You Negotiate Better

8 Tips to Help You Negotiate Better

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Everyone negotiates – sometime, somewhere, somehow. From telling the kids, “After you eat your dinner, then you can go play” to the highest business deal out there. Negotiation is real. And many times, done without knowing it. Those that have a few tips in their back pocket when negotiating have a better chance to move the ball into their court. Here are a few tips from our back pocket. Enjoy and share. 1. When negotiating price, never discount the price right off the bat. Often a price cut will get the salesperson more excited than the prospect. You may think going in with a lower price will make the prospect grateful and give you an easy ‘go’ right away. It usually won’t. If they take your offer of the lower price, that indicates they might have taken it at the rate card price which is where you SHOULD be quoting from the beginning. 2. When you talk price, be strong and confident. A weak or hesitant delivery makes the salesperson sound soft. Then the price sounds soft and thereby invites a lower offer. 3. Delay giving concessions until the end

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Secrets You Need to Hear from Customers

Secrets You Need to Hear from Customers

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Over the years; we’ve heard a lot from our clients – YOUR CUSTOMERS. Here are a few you’ll identify with. Take heed. #1 – Customers are Grateful for the Chance to Vent Repeatedly, we’ve had clients thank us for the opportunity to tell us how they were mistreated. They wanted to tell their stories to someone who would listen. They seemed pleased for the opportunity to get even. #2 – The Viral Syndrome – It’s Real Years ago, customers would tell jokes about a company who gave poor customer service. Customers were venting their frustrations about their last bad customer service experience and making jokes out of the experience. Today they just don’t go back. Today they only need go to the internet and vent. Woe to businesses that offend their customers with poor service. These organizations become the butt of today’s new era of jokes! And sadly, it’s carved in stone and remains there forever. #3 – The Memory of an Elephant; Customers Don’t Forget When customers tell me about their experiences, we hear a lot of: “This happened three years ago,” or “Let me tell

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Telephone Soft Skills for Everyone

Telephone Soft Skills for Everyone

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   “Even with all the new technology, people skills are actually more important now,” Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said in a recent interview. “Whether it’s providing day-to-day services in our bank branches or managing our data analytics, it’s all about people.” More than ever, what were once known as “soft skills” have become core to economic growth, which implies the need for corporate cultures and values that align with productive, resilient, imaginative people who can be proud of the work they do. In other words, it means becoming a good corporate citizen, whose virtues also bolster the bottom line. We agree, and here’s a LinkedIn comment I happened to receive yesterday and seems appropriate to share: “Nancy knows her stuff when it comes to soft skills training and showing everyone in the organization how to handle phone calls professionally. It may not seem to be that important until you attend her conferences, programs or classroom training. Our organization has used her services and hosted training sessions for thousands of retailers – outstanding results. Thanks, Nancy.” (B.D VP. Digial Comm., BrandSource. Thank you

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5 Rules to “Getting” Good Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Everyone talks about giving good customer service and you can imagine we’re all for that at Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training of course. However, with the upcoming holiday season, nerves get frazzled, tempers get short and frustrations get big. Often for no reason or small reasons. There are a few things we can do to GET better service. If you want to that is. Use our C P R mentality. C – – Stay Calm, Cool and Collected – You’ll get more respect. P – – Be Prepared – Have your receipts ready. R – – And Remember, the person you’re dealing with probably isn’t the person who caused the problem for you. Rule Number one Smile. Even if it’s a phony smile.  When someone is trying to help you and you have this negative vibe coming from you or a down turned expression on your face, it will normally generate right back to you. Yes, it is “their” job to smile at you, but if you want to STAY IN CONTROL, you’ll keep your lips turned upwards. Not down turned. It works. Rule Number Two HUMOR works. When you get the

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Email Frustrations You May Be Making

Email Frustrations You May Be Making

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training We now know email has surpassed voice mail in communications. Not answering emails is, of course, a big frustration. However, we’ve found a bunch of the public’s frustrations on email that’s easier to fix than finding a way to get them to return emails. One of the frustrations may be the reason why you didn’t get an answer. Are you guilty?????? Messages that are too long – As in voice mail, we know that the more succinct the message, the better it’s received. And now, where we can all get our emails not only on our office computers, but on our phones and our iPads, (and OMG now our watches), it’s critically important for our emails to be short, sweet and to the point. Long messages get zapped just as long voice mails used to. Suggestion: If/when there is a long email to send, mention that right in the subject line. This way the recipient A) knows it in advance and B) can save it for when he has time. And consider an attachment. Poor spelling and bad grammar – Inexcusable! And, the wrong use of words.

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