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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6 Ways to Be a Success at Failure

6 Ways to Be a Success at Failure

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

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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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Negotiation Cliff Notes for Those in a Hurry

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service & Communications Expert, President – Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Those of us who negotiate normally want short, quick tips to help us. So here are some Cliff Notes to help you in those daily negotiations. And let’s face it, we are always negotiating. Family, business, you name it. I’ve even negotiated with a waitress. Long story. I’ll hold it for another time. But it was negotiating. So here are 8 tips to hang on your wall: 1.      Don’t discount a price right off the bat. 2.      Be strong and confident about your product and price. Your opponent will be seeking price concessions if your delivery is weak. 3.      Delay giving concessions until the end of the conversation. See point 8 below. 4.      Have a “nice” way to reject an offer. There are always feelings involved. 5.      Never underestimate your strength in a negotiation. Your opponent won’t. 6.      Negotiations begin at the beginning of the conversation. From hello on forward. 7.      Avoid ”goodwill” conceding. (i.e., Don’t give things away because ‘the opponent is so nice.’) 8.      When you GIVE something, be sure you GET something back in return. An order? A larger order? A

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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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7 Deadly Email Phrases

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service, Communication Expert, President Telephone Doctor, Customer Service Training  We did a survey a while back at one of my speaking engagements. I wanted to know what really bugged folks about emails they receive. We got a lot of good frustrations, but the top 3 were:  * Poor spelling and grammar (Your, you’re; there, their; here, hear; to, too, two; and many more) * Emails that ramble and are too long * Wrong subject lines  Let’s take them one by one Poor spelling & grammar – Use the old saying “when in doubt, leave it out.” If you’re not sure it’s right – don’t use it. Simple. There are always alternatives. Use those. Emails that are too long – Two to three short paragraphs are perfect. Or if you have a lot of info, use an attachment. Remember, people are getting emails on iPad, iPhone, and even their iWatch. Long rambling emails are deleted or left for later a lot. Wrong subject lines – Yes, not changing the subject line when the information in the email changed from one topic to another was a large irritant. There were many more, but these 3 rose to the

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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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7 Principles of Bad Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   A few years ago we surveyed a group of folks on how they felt about getting bad customer service. We found 7 common threads. We labeled them the 7 Principles of Bad Customer Service. Here are the results:   Principle One: They’re Grateful for the Chance to Vent Customers are always grateful for the opportunity to tell others how they were mistreated. It’s pretty much cathartic.   Principle Two: Tomorrow’s Joke Many people joke to vent their frustration about their bad customer service experience and tell these “jokes” about it to pretty much anyone who will listen!   Principle Three: The Memory of an Elephant Customers often don’t forget. Lots of people quote the time elapsed since the unfortunate incident. We had letters telling us “this happened 20 years ago and I can recall everything that happened.” Bad customer service leaves a real bad taste.   Principle Four: “You’re not going to believe this!” Those abused by poor customer service can never seem to accept the fact that it happened. They remain shocked, continue to agonize and happily repeat the conflict. Each story was an “OMG,

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Customer Service vs. Common Sense?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   We’ve all heard the saying: “Hey, customer service is just plain old common sense.” But then we all know, too, common sense is NOT that common.  Decided to make a quick list of a few common sense things that aren’t so common. See if you agree and love to have you ‘add on’ to the list. There are many more. * Cover your mouth when you yawn, cough or sneeze. * Say “you’re welcome” vs. “no problem” when someone tells you “thank you.” * Smile back at others. * Better yet. SMILE FIRST at others. * Write handwritten thank you notes when you receive a gift. Or get a new customer which is a gift! Save the text for a lunch date. Handwritten notes won’t go out of style. Texting will eventually be replaced with something else. * Bump into someone at the mall, in the hall? Say, “Excuse me.” * Remember you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar. * Stand up when a customer walks into your office or place of business. Greet the customer warmly. * Open doors for others. (Physically and emotionally

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Do You Suffer From Emotional Leakage?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service, Inc.   Emotional Leakage – Getting 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. Taking a

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7 Traits of a Successful Leader

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor  Do you ever wonder how and why some folks are successful, natural born leaders and some aren’t? How some folks learn to deal with the ups and downs of life and find a way to make things better while others are so down and find the smallest thing to complain about? And keep complaining. They don’t deal or play well with others. Successful leaders seem to have a trait, or several traits as a matter of fact, traits which allows them to move forward in a more positive mode. There are many traits successful leaders have. Here are seven we believe in and want to share.   Your Attitude is Your Choice – Successful leaders have great attitudes. No one else can make you have a great attitude but you. So you are totally in control of this factor. You can wake up, smile, and feel this is gonna be a great day. That’s your choice. Or, you can wake up and decide it’s gonna be a crappy day. Again, your choice. Which would you rather have? And let’s not forget, there is a difference between an attitude and a mood. Know what it

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Let’s Not Make Customer Service Harder

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor/Speaker  In a society where poor customer service is rampant, a well-trained company staff can shine if everyone adopts and commits to some simple service approaches. The result can mean not only keeping your customers happy, but also keeping them period! What is the biggest and most costly customer service mistake in business today? My answer is simple – “We’re just not friendly enough.” Customers should be treated as welcome guests when they call your office. Instead, they’re often treated like an interruption or, even worse, an annoyance. More than 90 percent of all customer service starts with a telephone call. That said, customer service mistakes happen anytime and in many ways. Customers can communicate with your company through any one of the six touch points of communication and any one of these touch points can damage a relationship, often permanently. Email Voice Mail Snail Mail Phone Fax Face-to-Face (We left off texting on purpose. Let’s leave that out for now. More on that later.) Two of these communication tools are what is known as “synchronous;” the other four are “asynchronous.” Synchronous is instant communication, when two or more people are able to communicate immediately

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Listen UP!

by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor Do you know what the number one skill in sales and service is? I gave you a hint in the title. Right – listening skills. Do we really LISTEN? Most of us ‘hear,’ but do we really listen to what people are saying? Are there any methods, tricks, ideas, tips or techniques to make us better listeners? Yes, there are. Listed below are some of the often used skills of better listeners. What do you think the difference is between listening and hearing? Bottom line: Hearing is physical. Listening is mental. What do some folks do that others don’t in order to be a good listener? It’s pretty simple. Take a TV commercial. Most of us normally hear it, but do we always listen to it? Probably not. Especially if it’s about something we’re not particularly interested in for ourselves. Take the Super Bowl. We talk about the commercials before they’re even on TV. How many can you remember now? My guess is you’ll recall those that were of ‘interest’ to you. We probably ‘heard’ them. We may have watched them. But again, how many did we really listen to? Pay attention to? Below

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Are You Passive, Average or Proactive?

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor   Take the Test and Find Out Read the scenarios below and ask yourself…which type am I? # 1. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from a PASSIVE person: “OK, thanks. Have a nice day.” Customer feels nothing. Usually disappointed. # 2. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from an AVERAGE person: “You sure?” Customer feels slighted. Probably could have used a little help. # 3. The customer says (either on the phone or in person): “Tell you what, I’ve decided not to take the Blue Widget.” Answer from a PROACTIVE person: “Wow! Sorry to hear that. Are you aware there’s a Widget maker that goes with it at a discounted price? You’ll have several uses for it. Why not try it? You’ll love it.” Customer feels great. Didn’t realize there was an accessory with it and buys the Widget and the Widget maker. See the difference? Now, which one are you? FACT: There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these

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Is it a Problem or an Inconvenience?

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service There is a huge difference between a problem and an inconvenience. You know it, I know it and your customers know it. Listen to what HAPPENED TO ME the other day. We ordered a new copy machine at Telephone Doctor. Gentleman brings the machine into the office. As he’s installing the machine, one of the ladies sees the screen has a rather large crack on it and tells the installer. The young man who wheeled in the machine came looking for me to tell me and proudly exclaims, “Mrs. Friedman, we have a problem.” Because I am a problem solver I asked, “What is it?” “Well,” he says, “the screen on the copier machine is cracked.” I say, “Can it be fixed?” He says, “yes ma’am.” “Well, then,” I tell him, “we don’t have a problem, we have a minor inconvenience.” He thought about that and then smiled. “When can it be fixed?” I ask. “Oh, today for sure,” he says. Then I assured him, “We don’t even have an inconvenience.” Why even use the word ‘problem?’ Why alert the customer to that? If you really need to let them know something

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What’s 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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