Are You a Double Checker?

Are You a Double Checker?

By Nancy Friedman, Founder & President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote & Workshop Speaker at Meetings & Conferences on Customer Service, Communication Skills and Sales   One thing we all know is no one enjoys being rejected. You don’t, I don’t, the folks next door don’t. And certainly, our customers don’t. Negative starts to a sentence are usually poorly received. When something isn’t available, or not ready, or you don’t have it – whatever it is – the words, “Let me double check that for you” will save the day. Every time! Rather than blurting out a negative, start with a positive. Start with, “Let me double check that for you.” Either way, it’s a good habit to get into. Remember – REJECT GENTLY. It speaks VOLUMES. This minute thirty video blog says it best. Watch it, enjoy and please share.

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Let’s Talk Voice Mail

Let’s Talk Voice Mail

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Our surveys are showing voice mail is now running far behind email to reach someone. However, since voice mail is still in use, let’s go over some of the basic guidelines of using voice mail. I often hear “no one returns my voice mails anymore” a lot. Could it be the way your message is left? There was a time, some of us might recall, where there was NO voice mail. No automated attendant. No, “I’m not at my desk right now.” Just good, old fashioned human beings talking with each other. Is there anyone reading this that disagrees, the first voice we hear, when we call a company sets the tone, starts the process, and is the voice that ‘welcome’s the caller’ to the company? I’ve not met anyone who disagrees with that. Then why on earth would we put a dull, monotone, robotic voice on voice mail? Between the automated attendant that greets the public and your own voicemail that says HELLO to the person dialing in direct, why not be GREAT? I’m going to focus on your own voice mail message today. We’ll

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OK? Well, no, okay is NOT okay. Don’t approve a negative.

OK? Well, no, okay is NOT okay. Don’t approve a negative.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training St Louis MO., For a few seasons I was hooked on American Idol. If you’re not familiar with the program (and there are some who aren’t, including my husband!), please keep reading. I believe what we’re talking about here will make sense to you. On the show, when one of the judges ripped 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.” 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 it! You’d most probably ask, “WHY?” or “What happened?” And, you’d be justified in asking. I’m amazed at the number of people who approve a negative. They say “OK” so quickly without any thought. In customer service when a customer is complaining or wants to cancel an

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Avoiding Excuses

Avoiding Excuses

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training What’s the best excuse for not giving great customer service you’ve heard? Love to hear them and my bet is you’ve heard a lot of excuses. Excuses are semi-useless. It’s one of the first things we tell our kids when they try and get out of something – “Don’t give me any of your excuses!” No one likes excuses. Especially your customers. The number one trait employers want in an employee is RESPONSIBILITY; stepping up to the plate. When you do that, the issues, concerns etc., can usually be fixed. It’s the excuses that get in the way.  Don’t be an ‘excuse monger.’

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6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training FACT: The best weapon for a successful business is customer service. It’s all so simple. We will pay more for better service. So whether you’re a small business owner or Hewlett Packard, read on. Here are our Telephone Doctor’s Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service. Adapting any one these 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 else, drop everything. Remember, paper can wait, people should not. We’ve all been abused when we go shopping and been ignored only because the employee is doing something else. Remember: People before paperwork. Cardinal Rule # 2 – Rushing Threatens Customers Sure, you may understand something real quick, but rushing the customer along will only lead to them feeling intimidated and you won’t see them coming back to you. Take it easy. Remember, speed is not success! Trying to be “done” with a customer as quickly as possible is seen as being rude and uncaring. Take your time with

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How to Handle the Irate Customer

How to Handle the Irate Customer

By: Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Anyone working in the people business (and that’s pretty much everyone) will tell you that occasional upset, angry, irate customers simply come with the territory. It’s a busy time of year so keeping this short. We’re sharing our ASAP techniques in our effective Telephone Doctor four point plan for calming irate customers and maximizing your chances of retaining their business. A short video for your viewing pleasure. Thanks. Feel free to learn and share. Nancy

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2018 TOP JOBS FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE – WITH SOME CAVEATS

2018 TOP JOBS FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE – WITH SOME CAVEATS

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service   One of the hottest job sectors in 2018 will be in customer service. According to a story in USA Today, several industries will be hiring and stepping up their customer service to compete and attract and keep customers. Of the top five selected – they all have one thing in common. The need for customer service training. (But then don’t they all????) Computer Support Specialists – IT departments in nearly every office in corporate America depend too much on technology and not enough on personalized service. Many computer support specialists come into the job unprepared in the field of customer service and communication skills. They nail it on the computer and fail it with the human touch side. It’s one of the top areas where customer service skills are desperately needed. Computer schools teach technology, but most don’t teach customer service. Financial Clerks – Those who work in the industry clearly have their numbers down cold. They couldn’t get the job without that. But while they are number experts, many lack communication skills. They tend to talk ‘over’ the customer’s head and miscommunications are high. So, there’s a big need

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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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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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“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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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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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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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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9 Ways to Gain the Competitive Edge

9 Ways to Gain the Competitive Edge

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Tight economy! Reduced staff! Demanding customers! These days it’s extra challenging to satisfy and keep customers. It’s even more important than ever because customer loyalty is generally considered the primary engine today to retain sales levels and gain an advantage over the competition. It’s been this way for a long time; it’s just getting more attention now. There are hundreds of ways to do better. Want better ROI? Want to improve your customer service? Here are nine we like: * Know your product and services . . . inside and out. Not being knowledgeable about what you’re selling or talking about frustrates customers. An uneducated employee is semi-useless to a customer. Job knowledge is key in any position. If for any reason your company doesn’t offer job knowledge training, make it your own priority to find out as much as you can. Job knowledge is a key ingredient to serving customers. * Believe in your product and services 150%. We know of a salesperson who never had any formal sales training. However, based on the belief in the product, services and contagious enthusiasm, this person

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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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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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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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