Will Your Customer Service Pass or Fail This Holiday? 5 Tips to Help.

Will Your Customer Service Pass or Fail This Holiday? 5 Tips to Help.

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert and Keynote Speaker; 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. STARTERS: * Do 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

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A Great Hiring Tip You Need & May Not Be Using

A Great Hiring Tip You Need & May Not Be Using

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training I usually start with “This is a true story.” However, since all my stories are ‘true,’ someone told me I don’t need to say that. It’s a waste of your time and mine. So, listen up. Whether you’re hiring for someone who will be handling phone calls or a face-to-face situation, this is one tip I believe is missing from all the questions an applicant is asked in the hiring process. Years ago, I had the pleasure of bringing our Telephone Doctor customer service training programs onsite to one of the largest communication companies in the world. From Texas to Minneapolis; from New York to L.A.; we delivered over 20 programs to the call centers across the country. I still hear from some of the CSR’s. One of the concerns Managers had, and why I was helping and consulting, was the way the calls were being handled. They had complaints of no sympathy, empathy, sounding bored, tone of voice, not answering questions sufficiently, and several other comments/complaints from customers. Managers would eventually handle the calls; however, it shouldn’t have happened at all. They had me listen to

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I Can Get it for You

I Can Get it for You

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   It was in a Las Vegas hotel restaurant. My husband Dick and I were seated quickly enough, but the wait for silverware, water, menu and a waiter seemed forever. (Over ten minutes for sure.) Dick has a lot of patience (he’s never used any). Thankfully, this time he held it in for a while. After more than a few minutes of no service, no water, no menu, no waiter, he waved the closest person on the waitstaff he could see and said to him (and nicely I might add), “We’ve been here a quite a while and we have no water, no menu, no silverware and no waiter.” Without missing a beat and with a big smile, the busboy, who he had waved over said with a lovely Hispanic accent, “I’m the busboy, but I will get it all for you.” And within 45 seconds we had everything – water, menu, silverware and soon, a waiter. Did you notice he didn’t demean his job with, “I’m JUST the busboy”? He WAS the busboy. And he was proud of it. There was no: * I’m not a waiter. *

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The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of A.I.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of A.I.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training  Siri hates me.  I know it. When I ask for directions to “123 Main Street, St. Louis, MO”, her answer has been, “I can’t find Main Street in Des Moines.” Now I have a pretty good, clear speaking voice and tone. I don’t mumble or talk too soft. That being said, let’s define A.I. for those that may not be as familiar with it as those that are. The theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages. Fairly simple? Most of us realize, and I believe accept the fact, that computers do make errors. Perhaps not as many as us humans; however, nevertheless, they do. And they certainly are fast when working right and we input correctly. I just do not believe A.I. will take over the world soon. A.I. is good in many cases for finding information, however, what I find it lacks is in the real “need” category. From what I see and hear as I travel the country speaking at conferences and meetings helping

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How You Can Fight ONLINE Sales

How You Can Fight ONLINE Sales

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Seems so many businesses are feeling the technology disruption. The “Amazon Effect,” the popularity and ease of online shopping, and the related changes in consumer behavior and preferences is forcing businesses of all types, large and small, to take a new look at customer service. More business is lost due to poor service and poor treatment than poor product. Companies spend thousands of marketing dollars trying to convince us to buy their products and services, but if that contact is not handled just right at the point of sale, all that money is wasted. Poor customer service and dissatisfaction not only impact sales and return business, but can damage a brand and lead to shaming on social media. Businesses who are concerned about online sales should now invest in customer service training programs. They are so busy trying to survive that they overlook the importance of customer service as a way to counter the online threat. In all businesses, from retail store salespersons, to a greeter at a restaurant, to representatives at a call center, to manufacturing and more…business owners and managers need to train their employees on

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What Does AWESOME Customer Service Look Like? Something like this:

What Does AWESOME Customer Service Look Like? Something like this:

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker – President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training who provides AWESOME CUSTOMER SERVICE Think of all the words used describing good/great/excellent/etc. service provided. Think of all the companies that say they deliver the best customer service and then don’t. So what does AWESOME look like? Well, it’s not one thing. It’s not one person. It’s a little bit of everything. Here’s a good sample. Names are protected although I really should disclose them for the credit one deserves while the other doesn’t. AWESOME: I walked into a grocery store and picked up an item and said to an employee who happened to be close by: “I think I’ll like this, but I’m not sure.” Without missing a beat, she says, “You know you can take it home, try it, and anything you don’t like – you get your money back.” Wow that was awesome. Felt great. And here’s the other side of the coin: We purchased an exercise 65mm ball. We asked if they could pump it up for us and we’d come back the next day to pick it up. It was about 2 pm. “Absolutely,” she says. “It takes about 30 minutes. We open at 11 am tomorrow,

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The Service Mentality – Does your team have it?

The Service Mentality – Does your team have it?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Telephone Doctor’s www.serviceskills.com online platform offers 12 series of helpful content to help your team communicate better with their customers and coworkers. This is one of the programs. Most ads have a line of type or two about how well you’ll be treated when you shop or call there. Usually the advertisement reads, “We’re the best” or “Service is our middle name” – something like that. TV, radio, newspapers and the internet are loaded with commercials with companies saying they are very customer service minded. Why then, do we hear so many horror stories about how poorly people are treated? Clearly, not everyone has The Service Mentality. The good news is you can learn the skills of the ‘best.’ No one has a monopoly on a great service mentality. Here are 7 traits that exemplify The Service Mentality #1 – Sympathy / Empathy This trait won as one of the most important characteristics when serving customers. In so many cases you get APATHY, the exact opposite of SYMPATHY. True story: On a recent trip my wallet was stolen. Credit cards, driver’s license and a few dollars…all gone. I got ready to make the

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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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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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International Customer Service Week – October 2 – 6, 2017 – Why not celebrate all year long!

International Customer Service Week – October 2 – 6, 2017 – Why not celebrate all year long!

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Many of us are aware that International Customer Service Week is coming soon. Real soon. And most of us are aware we should be celebrating customer service week all year long, not just one week. At least that’s the mentality of Telephone Doctor. But like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the other holidays, it’s special. We all know the day-to-day treatment of how we treat customers, as well as each other, can make or break a business relationship. That’s a no brainer. It’s often the little things that can permanently damage that relationship most of us try so hard to make. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to remain helpful, nice, smiling and patient plus everything else you’re expected to do when the customer isn’t any of those. Sometimes you just wanna say, “What is wrong with you?” But we’re taught to hold our tongue and be nice, polite and helpful. Not sure who said it, but there’s an old saying, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Assuming you like your job and most of the time it

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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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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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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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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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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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Selling to Women? Pay Attention Please!

Selling to Women? Pay Attention Please!

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training A few years ago, one of my automotive clients came to me and said, “Nancy, we need a program on Selling to Women. Some of our guys just don’t get it,” he said. I replied, “Even some women don’t know how to sell to women.” This topic became so much more clear to me recently when my husband and I went looking to buy a new car. No names here. No need to embarrass anyone, but it was a great lesson on how NOT to sell to a woman. As a customer service communication expert it was great R & D.  We walked in and asked for the salesman who was recommended to us by a friend. Good start I thought. As he approached and introduced himself I said loud and clear to him, “I’m here to buy a car. Not him,” I said with a smile pointing to my husband, “me!” I was hoping that would give him an edge; OK, a HINT. (Thought wrong.) The salesman immediately started talking baseball and politics with my husband. I snuck off and went to look at the cars in the showroom. He continued

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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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