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,

Read more

Words that Drive Customers Away

Words that Drive Customers Away

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   We call them conversation diverters. Killer words are words that make your customers and your potential customers (and oftentimes friends and family) veer away from the real point of your conversation. So best we eliminate them from our routine and vocabulary. It’s not easy to do. If it were easy to do, everyone would be doing it and we know everyone isn’t doing it. In no order of importance, here are five of the top-rated killer words. Remove them from your sales and presentations as well as your customer interactions and watch the scene go smoother. 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 should be: The GOLD STANDARD of: “You’re welcome,” “My pleasure,” “Happy to help,” and a host of other ways to let the customer know you’re glad to do that. “No problem” appears to be a big problem with your

Read more

NEVER AGAIN!

NEVER AGAIN!

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Never again will I complain about a simple cold. Never again will I complain I have a headache. Never again will I complain because I broke a fingernail. Never again will I complain because I ran out of milk or toothpaste or hair spray. Never again. The list is endless of what I decided I won’t complain about. And when I forget, and I’m sure I will, I’ll remember Houston, the Florida Keys, Puerto Rico, Mexico City, Las Vegas and now Napa Valley; let alone my friends with cancer and other dreaded diseases who wish a broken nail etc. was all they had to complain about. They’d trade places with me / us in a nano second. I’m tired of those who complain about not having small luxuries. Tired of people complaining when they have so much to be thankful for. A home, a refrigerator, fingers on their hands (let alone a broken nail) a job, a paycheck. Dick and I recently toured the 911 memorial. That experience alone, without the recent tragedies, committed me to consider carefully what I complain about. The little daily inconveniences

Read more

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.

Read more

Have You Ever Called You? Go on, ask for yourself. Do it now. See what happens.

Have You Ever Called You? Go on, ask for yourself. Do it now. See what happens.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   You’ll be amazed at the answers. And what your team knows or doesn’t know. It’s one of the best ways to see how your customers are being treated. I do it a lot. Read what happens when I do. And watch our 1:50 video blog on how important it is. CALL YOUR OFFICE & ASK FOR YOU, A SERVICE or A PRODUCT  

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Should You Use a Script or Have a Conversation?

Should You Use a Script or Have a Conversation?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Scripts were designed for actors. END OF SUBJECT! Actors know how to read a script. Most folks don’t. It’s that simple. When you give a person a script they tend to ‘read’ it. Well what’s wrong with that, Nancy? Aren’t you supposed to read a script? Yes, but it’s the old HOW you read it that counts. We have all been accosted by a phone call, inbound or outbound, with someone poorly reading their script. Yawn, yawn; barf, barf or worse. With a professional script, there are written words for the other person to respond. In your business script, there’s normally only words for what your employee is saying. There are no words for the customer, the responder (the other actor/or the customer). Oh, there may be some things like ‘if the customer says this; you say that. If the customer says that; you say this.’ (Sort of like “eat this; not that.”) So, what happens if the customer says something that makes the rep go off course in your script? Do we say, “Excuse me, sir, that’s not in my script?” Here’s a big time

Read more

Short Training Video on Business Friendly Customer Service

Short Training Video on Business Friendly Customer Service

Every call is unique – don’t become desensitized! In most service situations, it’s very common to handle repetitive calls. The same issues over and over. We need to remember that to the customer, this is the first interaction they’ve had with your company today. Always remember that every call is unique. And needs to be treated that way.

Read more

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

Read more

“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

Read more

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

Read more

Passive? Average? Pro-Active? Which are YOU?

Passive? Average? Pro-Active? Which are YOU?

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

Read more

Theater 101 for Customer Service and Communication Skills

Theater 101 for Customer Service and Communication Skills

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   So You Wanna Be A Star? READ ON… If you’ve never been in a play, band, chorus, dance group or any other form of theater where the audience is dependent on you and you on them, then you may be in for a shock if you’re new in customer service. And even if you’ve been doing customer service for a while, you might pick up a tip or two. If you have been in any of the groups listed above, you know what I mean. As a professional actress, theater helped prepare me to be a subject matter expert and keynote speaker on customer service. I’m not saying you won’t be good in customer service without a little theater background, but I am saying it’s a bit easier when you have had the experience of some sort of theater background. And not just as an actor. Every part of any play or group activity has elements of customer service. And it will help make your job much easier. It’s clear – the star is the customer, we are in a supporting role, and the stage is your company. Let’s

Read more

I’m The Busboy, But I Will Get It For You

I’m The Busboy, But I Will Get It For You

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   It was in a Las Vegas NON-STRIP hotel restaurant. My husband Dick and I were seated quickly enough, but the wait for silverware, water, menu and a waiter seemed forever. Dick has a lot of patience (he’s never used any). Thankfully, this time he held it in for a while. After a few minutes of no service, no water, no menu, no waiter, he waved the closest person to him and said, “We’ve been here a while and we have no water, no menu, no silverware and no waiter.” Without missing a beat and with giving us 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. There was no: * I’m not a waiter. * It’s not my job. * I’ll get your waiter. * Someone will be with you soon. * I’ll check for you. No excuses. He stepped up to the plate, handled and saved the situation. “I’ll get it for you.” He

Read more

ARE YOU A MULTI-TASKER? REMINDER: We Cannot Do Two Things Well at Once

ARE YOU A MULTI-TASKER? REMINDER: We Cannot Do Two Things Well at Once

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training When my dad handed me the keys to the car he told me, “Nancy, the car is not a salon. Don’t fix your hair while you’re driving. Don’t put makeup on while you’re driving. The car,” he said, “is not a toy. Don’t fiddle around trying to change radio stations. And remember, even the 1 or 2 seconds when you happen to sneeze can cause an accident.” As you’ll see in our one-minute video blog below, the word “WELL” is critical. Most of us try to multitask. It’s human nature. But it’s still very dangerous. Think about driving and texting. I’m told that’s a major reason for accidents. And what about those side conversations you have with a co-worker while you’re on the phone with a customer? Or talking with someone else while trying to help one customer and waiting on another? The list goes on. I’ll keep this blog short, sweet and to the point this week. We know we all can probably multi-task; just not very well. Something can go wrong. It’s dangerous. Focusing is key in helping a customer. And staying safe. Take a

Read more

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

Read more

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,

Read more

5 Email Errors You May Be Making & Don’t Know It

5 Email Errors You May Be Making & Don’t Know It

By: Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. We can all get ‘nailed’ in a bad email. As they say, “It can happen to anyone.” But there are ways to alleviate that issue. Here are 5 areas to improve on and help get you better results. 1. Poor Grammar and Spelling This leads the pack of annoyances and shouts you didn’t proofread your email nor did you use spell check. Your and you’re along with their, there and they’re appear to be the most offensive and widespread. It’s also the ones we hear the most about. Granted, spell check is not your friend with some of these words if they are indeed spelled correctly. That’s why proofing your emails, double checking, is more critical than ever, especially if you’re trying to make a good impression. Want the easy way out? Use the old author trick. When in doubt – leave it out. (Example: I have trouble with “effect and affect.” So guess what? I don’t use them. Sad to say, when you use the wrong your/you’re or their/there/they’re, you appear (and I don’t like this word) stupid. Bad enough normal misspellings come into play. But the wrong use of words we

Read more

Secrets You Need to Hear from Customers

Secrets You Need to Hear from Customers

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Over the years; we’ve heard a lot from our clients – YOUR CUSTOMERS. Here are a few you’ll identify with. Take heed. #1 – Customers are Grateful for the Chance to Vent Repeatedly, we’ve had clients thank us for the opportunity to tell us how they were mistreated. They wanted to tell their stories to someone who would listen. They seemed pleased for the opportunity to get even. #2 – The Viral Syndrome – It’s Real Years ago, customers would tell jokes about a company who gave poor customer service. Customers were venting their frustrations about their last bad customer service experience and making jokes out of the experience. Today they just don’t go back. Today they only need go to the internet and vent. Woe to businesses that offend their customers with poor service. These organizations become the butt of today’s new era of jokes! And sadly, it’s carved in stone and remains there forever. #3 – The Memory of an Elephant; Customers Don’t Forget When customers tell me about their experiences, we hear a lot of: “This happened three years ago,” or “Let me tell

Read more