Is Your Business Being Sabotaged By Your Own Staff?

Is Your Business Being Sabotaged By Your Own Staff?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Could be, if your staff is using any of these phrases. There are many, many words and phrases that can, and will, sabotage your business. And chances are your staff is saying some of these now, without your even knowing it – on the phone and in person. And worse yet, you’ve probably even said some of these yourself (ouch!). That’s the bad news. The good news is we’re able to bring to you the top five sabotaging phrases and then show you how to neutralize the effects. So get ready. You and your staff are about to be in a much better position to handle the Five Sayings to Sabotage Your Business: 1. I Have No Idea This is normally used as an excuse than anything else. It’s a sure thing that the employee has not been shown how to explain something to the customer (i.e., no product training). This phrase is used as something to say when the employee doesn’t know what to say. When the customer hears “I have no idea” they immediately respond (usually silently) with, “You gotta be kidding me?” Interestingly enough,

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Ten Do’s and Don’ts Of Effective Telephone Skills & More Where These Came From

Ten Do’s and Don’ts Of Effective Telephone Skills & More Where These Came From

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Phone Skills Expert   I work with all kinds of companies, executives and staff. For whatever reason, there’s usually a group of folks who feel they’re exempt from telephone skills training. And yet, one thing they all have agreed on is there’s always room for refreshers and good solid tips. So, without any further ado, here are some good, solid tips for everyone on effective telephone skills. 1. DO acknowledge all your phone calls. If you’re unable to return a phone call yourself, have it returned on your behalf. Not returning a phone call is like not using your turn signal – rude and sometimes dangerous. (Not returning calls also labels you as rude.) 2. DO place your own phone calls. Or if you absolutely need to have someone else place a call for you, at least be ready when the person you called gets on the line. It’s legendary bad taste to get a call from someone’s assistant and then be put on hold to await Mr./Ms. Self-Important. 3. DO handle delivering bad news yourself. Not able to deliver a product on time? Canceling an agreement?

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BEWARE: Caller ID Can Be Dangerous

BEWARE: Caller ID Can Be Dangerous

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training If this hasn’t happened to you yet, my bet is it will. You see the name or a number you recognize on the phone and pick it up with, “Hi Joe” (or whoever it says). And low and behold – guess what? It’s not Joe. Safest bet? Don’t look. Act surprised. Be great on every call. Or if you do look, use your professional greetings. Don’t discriminate! I often hear: Well, it’s JUST “Bob” and poor Bob gets a low grade unprofessional greeting. Not nice. Bob should get the same greeting as you’d give Taylor Swift. (If she called you that is.) I’ve been speaking on customer service a long time and I’m asking you to believe me. It’s not worth it to discriminate on how you answer the phone. Watch this 1-minute Video Blog and you’ll see what I mean. Make each call GREAT! Treat each caller as though it was your favorite movie star. Even if you look and see it’s “Bob Smith” who you know and love, that call should be answered as professionally as you would if it’s not. NOT “Hi Bob” or some other

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Theater Skills for Customer Service

Theater Skills for Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Here’s a GREAT new hire interviewee questions: What type of theater experience have you ever had? Why should you ask that question? REASON: Because someone who has ever been in a play; part of a band, chorus or dance group; stage manager, grip, sound, prompter, make up, lighting, a director; even sports knows that the audience (your customers) are depending on them. My professional theater background has helped my customer service career thrive immensely. And I’ve been honored to share what has helped build Telephone Doctor. Not being in theater, band, chorus and the like, doesn’t mean you won’t be good in customer service. It means those who have had that experience will understand the mentality of customer service faster, and often, better. And regardless of the title or job responsibility in your company, we know everyone is in customer service. Theater 101, as I call it, is a perfect pre-curser to holding a job in customer service. Theater 101 prepares you in the best way for better communications. Below are only a few Theater 101 skills that will enhance your customer service reputation.

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Top 15 Customer Service No No’s

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Throughout the years, Telephone Doctor has gathered all sorts of information using surveys and finding what things frustrate customers. From this information, we’ve been able to bring you the vignettes in our training programs both online at www.serviceskills.com and onsite, www.nancyfriedman.com, with reality that matters. That’s what makes Telephone Doctor programs so ‘real.’ It’s because they are. The segments produced aren’t ‘made up’ – they’re from YOU. Things, events and situations that have happened to you, me or we have witnessed. No pretend; nothing ‘made up.’ I’ve had things happen in a service situation that I know if we produced people would think, “Oh no, nothing as bad as that could ever happen.” But we know it does, right? And, I’m pretty sure some of the scenarios have happened to YOU as well. In no order of importance, here are the TOP 15 NO NO’s in customer service. Yes, there are more. Way too many for this post. 1.    Employees are having a bad day and their foul mood carries over in conversations with customers. (Everyone has bad days, but customer service employees need to keep theirs to themselves.)

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6 Tried & True Listening Tips

6 Tried & True Listening Tips

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Listening isn’t the same as hearing. Think about a commercial for a product you have no interest in; it’s easy to tune that information out, isn’t it? Hearing is one thing, but listening and mentally absorbing the thoughts is another thing. That’s why we say listening is an art – not a science. While it’s easy to ‘hear’ what the customer says, great customer service begins with great listening skills. Here are 6 steps to help you become a better listener. And if you think you’re already a pretty good listener, pass this along to someone who could also benefit from improved listening skills. TIP #1 – DECIDE TO BE A BETTER LISTENER In school, you’re taught to read, write, do math, and dozens of other topics. I don’t know about you, but in all my schooling, I don’t ever recall having a course on listening. And yet, as we all know, listening is an important, some would say even a crucial skill. The first step is all about you – your personal commitment to be a better listener. You need to decide to be a

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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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It Take More Muscles to Frown. Why Overwork?

It Take More Muscles to Frown. Why Overwork?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   “Nancy, can you really hear a smile?” Yes, you really can hear a smile. And more important, you can also hear the lack of a smile as well. If you happen to already be a smiler, you might want to pass this article on to those who aren’t smiling (or not). SMILE from Webster’s dictionary: SMILE: To smile, be astonished; to have or take on a facial expression, showing pleasure, amusement, affection, friendliness, irony, etc…and characterized by an upward curving of the corners of the mouth and a sparkling of the eyes I like the “sparkling” part. And smiling is something most everyone can easily do. Don’t you wonder why more people don’t smile?  Show me a picture of you that you don’t like and I’ll bet it’s a picture of you without a smile. Say: Eggplant or Cheese? A New York Times review by Roxana Popescu of the book A Brief History of the Smile written by Angus Trumble asks a very good question: “Why do English speaking people say CHEESE to make you smile, but Chinese speakers say Eggplant?”  And Trumble continues, “The spontaneous smile of the little child is essentially truthful.” I’m not

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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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BACK TO BASICS 2018 STYLE

BACK TO BASICS 2018 STYLE

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker – Customer Service, Communications, Sales. President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training FACT: Customers go out of their way looking for companies who provide great customer service. FACT: Some find it; some don’t. Once a year (at least) it’s healthy to go over the good old common sense customer service tips. The ones we all know, yet often get left behind. It’s not rocket science, it’s not brain surgery; it’s plain old common sense. But you and I know common sense is not that common. So, at the start of the year, I re-run our BACK TO BASICS article with the hopes they’ll get shared and used. Here are 15 BACK TO BASIC customer service tips that are good old common sense thoughts, ideas, and skills. Short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy and share. 1. “Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” always have been, and always will be, powerful words. Seldom overused. 2. “You’re welcome” is the best replacement when told “thank you.” (NO PROBLEM/NO WORRIES are on the KILLER WORDS of customer service list.) 3. “Sorry ‘bout that” is NOT an apology. It’s a cliché. “My apologies” is better when there’s a screw up. “I’m sorry” is when you step on someone’s

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Why Tone of Voice is Important

Why Tone of Voice is Important

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   When I do webinars, I like to get questions ahead of time if I can. Requesting questions ahead of time from the attendees is a lot of fun and we’re also answering what’s on their minds. Recently, we received the question below: It was timely and relevant, and I wanted to share it so you all can have the information as well – and share it. Hi Nancy: My question revolves around how my voice sounds on the telephone. I have recorded messages over and over and I can’t get that happy sound to come across as being natural and genuine. I do want my customers to know that the voice they are hearing belongs to me. So, my question is, what can I do to improve my voice quality? Thank you and I look forward to learning at your webinar. TONE OF VOICE has come up several times recently. Which says to me there are other folks talking and thinking about this as well. One of the biggest complaints I hear is, “She/he didn’t sound happy, friendly, or eager to help.” The short and

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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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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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Well, It’s Not Cooperstown or Canton, But I’ll Take It With Thanks

Well, It’s Not Cooperstown or Canton, But I’ll Take It With Thanks

Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote Customer Service Speaker   It’s difficult for me to post about ‘me.’ I’m normally sharing tips, techniques, skills and ideas. Recently I was asked why we hadn’t posted the recent honor of being selected a member of the St. Louis Small Business Hall of Fame (only 6 were selected) on LinkedIn and my other social media. It’s certainly not because I’m embarrassed or ashamed; just that I didn’t think folks were that interested in me. So I held off – until now. A close friend convinced me. He thought you should be aware. So this is written from the heart, and frankly, may not be a very focused blog. It is, however, a heartfelt one. I’ve spent a lifetime building a company whose mission is helping companies communicate better with their customers and coworkers. Simple. Not complicated. And 30 some odd years later we’re still here doing the same old, same old with lots of new and updated material. We hear over and over again: “Thank you Telephone Doctor! The techniques work.” As a member (and maybe even president) of the “keep it simple” club, our focus and dedication remains and will continue to remain, helping companies raise their customer service bar and

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Are You a Phubber?

Are You a Phubber?

JULY IS NATIONAL CELL PHONE COURTESY MONTH. WHY NOT ALL YEAR LONG? WE SURE NEED IT. July is also the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. What a phenomenon! And yet we still know folks who are enjoying the solid, old flip phone. Go figure. Well whichever phone you use, there are manners involved. Most of us know them. But like everything else, refreshers and reminders never hurt. Is there anyone left who hasn’t witnessed two people having dinner and both deeply involved in their cell phone? As our picture headline suggests, ‘Phubbing’ is the act of snubbing people you are with and choosing the phone over them. And listen to this. When was the last time you checked your own cell phone voice mail? Are you married to the boring, non-effective message that came with the phone? Do you have any of the 5 Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases on your phone? Easy to fix that. Make it fun. Smile and create a simple, interesting message. There are many frustrations about cell phone manners; I hear ’em all. This list is only a few. Shoot us your frustrations if they’re not on this list. Airports: If you’re sitting next to strangers,

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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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