It’s Always Important, but Never is Customer Service More Important Than the Holidays

It’s Always Important, but Never is Customer Service More Important Than the Holidays

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; Founder, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   The holidays are fast approaching and with it comes hiring additional seasonal workers to meet demand, help shoppers, and increase sales. Starting on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season, retailers, restaurants, etc. will be facing the important challenge of providing excellent customer service. Good customer service will help increase holiday sales and gain repeat customers while poor customer service will leave a lasting negative impression and hurt the chance for return shoppers. “More business is lost due to poor service and poor treatment than poor product,” says Nancy Friedman, one of the leading customer service experts in the county. “Businesses spend considerable promotional and marketing dollars trying to convince us to buy their products, but if that contact is not handled just right by frontline service providers all that money is wasted.”  So how can businesses prepare to meet the holiday’s customer service challenge? Friedman offers these five tips that will help owners and managers up their 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.

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Fixing Customer Service Impediments the EASY Way

Fixing Customer Service Impediments the EASY Way

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; Founder, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Most of us know what the BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE feels like. And some of us know what the Worst Customer Service Mistakes are. To make it even, we’ve compiled the ten worst customer service mistakes. Take note and don’t let these happen to you! Not Being Friendly Enough         Without exception, not being friendly is the number one customer service mistake. Customers should be treated as welcomed guests when they call or visit your company. As we’ve all experienced, sometimes we’re treated as an annoyance or an interruption.         FIX: A happy, friendly smile works wonders, whether you feel like it or not. Poor Eye Contact         Heads that twirl on a spindle when you’re working with a customer is a big mistake. Keep your eyes on the customer. It’s a sure sign the person you’re talking with isn’t holding your interest when you’re glancing all around. And they’ll notice it quickly. Obviously, making good eye contact on the phone is a bit difficult, albeit impossible. That’s where your listening skills are needed.         FIX: When you’re on the phone you need to be completely focused on the

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Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, Interview with Fred LeFebvre – WSPD Toledo, Ohio

Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, Interview with Fred LeFebvre – WSPD Toledo, Ohio

A fun (LOL) 14 minute interview with Fred LeFebvre – WSPD with Nancy. Worth the 14 minutes. Even the commercial in front of the interview is fun. (You can fast forward if you want.) Remember: If there are 100 solutions to a problem and 99 are negative, start with the positive. Thank you Rev. Geoff Rose.   The Global Salesian Leadership Symposium 2019 Mon, Oct 28, 2019, 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM EDT. The third annual Global Salesian Leadership Symposium, a life-changing program steeped in Salesian virtues, based upon the spirituality of Francis de Sales, the Gentleman Saint. GSLS will provide access and proximity to world-class thought leaders in diverse areas of innovation and industry. The event is being held at the SeaGate Center located at 401 Jefferson Ave.,  Toledo, Ohio 43604. Parking is available in the SeaGate Parking Garage located on Summit St. between Jefferson Ave and Monroe St. You can get your tickets at globalsls.org.  

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Complimentary Smiles – Get Yours Now

Complimentary Smiles – Get Yours Now

By Nancy Friedman, Founder, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, Customer Service Keynote Speaker   Had a super question emailed to me recently: 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 hearing from you.  TONE OF VOICE raises its head a lot. Which says to me there are other folks talking and thinking about this as well. One of the biggest complaints I hear is, “They didn’t sound happy, friendly, or eager to help.” The short and easy answer is: SMILE! The LONG answer is: When you’re not smiling you can come across as rude, uninterested, unfriendly and just plain not welcoming. Sadly, many people don’t smile when they’re on the phone. They think they’re smiling, but they’re not. And there are those who say and think, “Well, you can’t tell if I’m smiling or not.” Ah, yes, but we can. “A phony smile is better

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R-T-C: Relationship – Trust – Consistency

R-T-C: Relationship – Trust – Consistency

By Nancy Friedman, Founder & President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Customer Service Speaker – GOLD STANDARD TIPS, IDEAS, SKILLS & TECHNIQUES   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: 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.  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

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Back to Basics – The Gold Standards Of Customer Service

Back to Basics – The Gold Standards Of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Founder, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service, Communications, Sales   FACT: Customers go out of their way looking for companies who provide great customer service. FACT: Some find it; some don’t. It’s healthy to go over the good old common sense GOLD STANDARD 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. Here are our BACK TO BASIC – GOLD STANDARD customer service tips, thoughts, ideas, skills and techniques. Short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy and share. The world needs it. “Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” always have been, and always will be, powerful words. Seldom overused. “You’re welcome” is the best replacement when told, “thank you.”  (NO PROBLEM/NO WORRIES are on the KILLER WORDS of customer service.) “Sorry ‘bout that” is NOT an apology. It’s a cliche. “My apologies” is better, stronger and more effective when there’s a screw up. “I’m sorry” is when you step on someone’s toes. A frown is a smile upside down. Stand on your head if you must but SMILE, darn it! Show me a picture you don’t like &

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3 Easy Rapport Building Tips For Those Having Trouble Rapport Building

3 Easy Rapport Building Tips For Those Having Trouble Rapport Building

By Nancy Friedman, Founder, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service, Customer Service Keynote Speaker Rapport building is an art, not a science. Some of you reading this will pass on this article. Why? Because you already know how to rapport build with someone – client, friend, relative, even a stranger. But as good as you are, you may know someone who isn’t that great at rapport building. This is for them. So if you receive this blog from someone, take it as a compliment. Not an insult. Think of it as ‘closing the gap.’ By the way, these tips are for in-person and on the phone. Don’t limit yourself. Number 1: “Hi, how are you?” is NOT an effective rapport building statement. In many cases it’s an annoyance. It’s social noise. For others, it’s an: “I don’t know what else to say.” For sure: It’s NOT a rapport building statement. These are a bit more effective rapport building comments: “Thank you for the call.” – “Great to see you.” – “You’re looking super.” – “Your voice sounds good, have you been in radio?”-  “You’re looking well.” – “So glad to see (or talk with) you.” The list is endless. And notice none of them are:

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Every Business Has A Phone & Someone Answering It

Every Business Has A Phone & Someone Answering It

By Nancy Friedman, Founder/President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker   Who doesn’t want to get great service when you call a company? So much business is done over the telephone. First call, in between. Or ends up in a phone call after a chat or online experience. Before delivering a presentation, be it keynote or workshop, one of my ‘things’ to do is to make a few mystery calls to the company that has hired me. Not to make anyone feel bad or to embarrass anyone (I don’t tell the audiences: “Hey, I called some of you the other day and it was terrible.”) That’s not why I do the mystery calls. I call so I can hear what their customers are hearing. And while often it’s not very pretty or very good, I can always bring them Telephone Doctor GOLD STANDARD customer service techniques. I probably haven’t called your organization, large or small yet, so I’ll share one of our GOLD STANDARD techniques we provide to our clients. It always brings me a great deal of pleasure when I can tell my clients, “Your folks are super!” We only need 3 things when we

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5 Unique Ways to Get Your Customers to Remember You

5 Unique Ways to Get Your Customers to Remember You

By Nancy Friedman, Founder and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote Customer Service Speaker If you’re in sales, it’s obvious we remember our customers. But how do we get them to remember us? Consider these: Number one – When you call a customer, don’t ask them how they are first thing; ask them if they have a moment to talk. It’s very considerate. Very few others do this. Be the one that DOES, to be remembered. Number two – When you do have a good phone conversation, send a short email acknowledging it as soon as you’re off the phone. And yes, keep it SHORT. That’s not the time to send a squeal to Gone With the Wind. Also, same process after a face-to-face meeting as well. Don’t wait too long to do this. Number three – After each order you get from a customer, send a handwritten thank you note. You will stand out. They will remember you. Number four – Make them laugh. I have never met anybody who didn’t enjoy laughing. You don’t need to tell a joke to make somebody feel good or laugh. When you hear the laughter, they will remember you. Number

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The Customer Experience Starts Here

The Customer Experience Starts Here

By Nancy Friedman, Founder & President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, and Keynote Customer Service Speaker   Every business has a phone and every phone has someone answering it – eventually, in answer to those who are going to say: “what about the automated attendant?” What company doesn’t want to deliver a better customer experience? Not sure anyone will disagree it starts with the first touch of a customer. No matter what channel of communication you use. It’s not rocket science, it’s plain old common sense. And it can start with any of the 6 touch points of customer service. NOT just a phone call. When you talk about the ‘experience’ you’re talking about everything. NOT ONLY ONE THING. You’re talking about EVERYTHING. Here are six touch points of communication and a few ways on how to get it right the first time. Email – There is an art to a great email and delivering a great experience in this channel. Spelling and correct grammar is a key component. Voice Mail – Have you ever called your own cell phone or office phone to hear what your customers hear on the message? It’s an eye-opening experience and normally needs

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What’s Your Customer Service Grade Point Average?

What’s Your Customer Service Grade Point Average?

By Nancy Friedman, Founder & President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, Customer Service Speaker   How would you rate your businesses customer service? On an A to F scale? Do you train your employees or do you just wing-it when it comes to customer service? If employees fail at customer service and are not helpful and knowledgeable, OR are unpleasant, your business not only could lose customers and lose future sales, but you also risk the chance of getting virally slammed on social media. So, what can business owners and managers do to encourage excellent customer service? Here are five tips that will help up your game and provide customer service that will generate sales and repeat customers: *    Start some sort of training now! If you have even a small dose of customer service training in place, review it with your employees, often. And if you don’t have a customer service plan, consider bringing in training for your staff. No time to train? Reminders are helpful – “Thank you for your business,” “Thank you for calling” goes a long way, costs nothing, and leaves a positive lasting impression. *    Meet with your staff at the end of each day. Discuss what went wrong

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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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Sometimes Even Your Best Friends Won’t Tell You. . .

Sometimes Even Your Best Friends Won’t Tell You. . .

By Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote Customer Service Speaker Customers will walk and take their business elsewhere if they’re not treated properly on the phone or in person. But how does a business owner find out what the customer really likes or dislikes? Over the years, your customers have told Telephone Doctor what they won’t tell you. Here are TEN things they told us that bothers them. We wanted to share with you. All can be avoided. These are NOT all from one customer or one location. Many and varied, over time. 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. 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. I bought a lot. I couldn’t believe no one said, “Thank you.” No one told me to “enjoy my purchase.” I did get a perfunctory, lukewarm, “Have a nice day.” Although it was said to

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Three Killer Words That Drive Customers Away

Three Killer Words That Drive Customers Away

By Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service and Keynote Speaker on Sales, Customer Service and Communication Skills Conversation killers. That’s what they really are. Killer words and phrases help make your customers and your potential customers veer away from the real point of your conversation. 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. 3 of the Top-Rated Killer Buzz Words Are: No Problem – The customer is thinking, “Am I a problem?” When someone does something for you and tells you “thank you,” you simply need the GOLD STANDARD of: “you’re welcome.” Overused and abuse: “No problem” appears to be a big problem with your customers. Lose it. It kills the conversation. Calm Down – Telling someone to Calm Down has never calmed them down. This one makes the hair on the back of their neck stand up. In any movie or TV show we’ve seen, when someone is told to “calm down,” the next words from the other actor are usually: “Don’t you tell me to calm down.” Right! It’s not our job to

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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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“How Can I Help You?” Is Not Necessary on Initial Greetings

“How Can I Help You?” Is Not Necessary on Initial Greetings

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training “How can I help you?” is not necessary on your initial greeting. You are there to help – that’s why you answered the phone. Besides, “How can I help you?” can get the person who uses it into hot water. Listen to a conversation verbatim that I recently had: I called my bank the few months ago. And that phrase greeted me: “Good Morning, XYZ Bank. This is Mary. How can I help you?” Me: “I just got my statement” I told her, “and it’s wrong.” Mary: “Gee, I can’t help you” came a rapid, bland response. Me: “Then why did you say you could?” I asked. It went downhill from there. The 3-part initial greeting is your handshake – your business card – the open door to your business – it’s what starts the relationship. Sadly, there are way too many companies not paying attention to that area. This is all we need when answering a phone call: “Hi, thanks for calling Telephone Doctor, this is Nancy.” Stop! Anything AFTER your name, erases your name. (Bonus tip: By the way: “Thanks for calling” eliminates saying the

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A Telephone Doctor Assignment: CALL YOURSELF

A Telephone Doctor Assignment: CALL YOURSELF

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training As an owner, manager, supervisor or any top-level executive, one of your first assignments from the Telephone Doctor is to pick up your telephone, call your office and ask for yourself, a service or a product. That’s right. Call your own office from your home, outside with a cell, or from a friend’s home or office. Ask for yourself, a product or a service your company offers. Be careful, though, it can be very painful. Oh wait? You say you have a very recognizable voice and they’ll know you right away? Then have someone do it for you and be close by so you can hear; or if there’s an extension, use that. Again, be careful. It might be painful. A while back I asked my program audience to do just that when they got back home. A woman came running up to me and yelled, “Well, they’ll recognize my voice.” I said, “Yes, they might if you ask for somebody else, but if you call up and ask for yourself a service or product chances are they won’t.” We cannot fix what we do not know.

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You Will Not Get a Great Customer Service Experience Without Great Customer Service Training

You Will Not Get a Great Customer Service Experience Without Great Customer Service Training

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Everyone seems to want to talk about the “customer service experience.” And, yes it’s certainly important. But in order to get to the experience, there needs to be ‘training.’ 8 out of 10 people will never do business with you again and won’t tell you. You’ll never know why. They just go away. 8 out of 10 people will tell 11 others how bad you are and only 1 out of 10 will tell others how good you are. No one aspires to be mediocre, so we need to learn how to soar above it and keep your customers coming back and singing your praises. Learn how to create a customer experience that will put you on the customer service map. There is a direct correlation between a great customer service experience and the training that led to that. Those wonderful companies that give you the great experience you talk about and remember have had some sort of training program. Very few folks have the automatic DNA that makes them great service people without some sort of customer service training. What does your customer service training program

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