There is a Definite Difference Between Hearing and Listening

There is a Definite Difference Between Hearing and Listening

By Nancy Friedman, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Nancy is a keynote speaker on sales, communications and customer service Listening is not 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? You may ‘hear’ it as noise in the background, but you’re probably not listening. Hearing is one thing, and 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 easy 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.

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TOP TEN Customer Service Mistakes And THE FIX

TOP TEN Customer Service Mistakes And THE FIX

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; 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 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. FIX: When you’re on the phone you need to be completely focused on the call and the customer. Don’t type, unless it pertains to

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Scripts Vs. Conversations

Scripts Vs. Conversations

By Nancy Friedman, President / Keynote Customer Service Speaker / Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   For years I have been working with companies to upgrade, tweak and help with scripts their sales and/or customer service reps. Fast forward. Now we’re trying to get our clients who ask for help with a script to consider going to conversations with aided recall. There is danger and pitfalls to both scripts and conversations though. Let me explain. Scripts were designed for actors. 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 suppose 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 and someone poorly reading their script. Yawn, yawn or worse. And in the professional scripts there are words for everyone (all actors) to respond. In your business script there’s normally only words for what the rep is saying. There are no words for the customer – the responder (the other actor). Oh there may be some things like “if the customer says

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Pricing issues and Customer Service

While this is only one industry…we all know it could be any industry.   I’ve “redacted” some of it (cuz I learned a new word)so simply insert any retailer you choose. This is one real person, with one real issue. Imagine the number of people having similar  issues in all sorts of industries. Some people wonder about the cost of customer service and ‘how much money a company’ loses due to poor customer service. FACT:  It’s untold Millions, maybe billions.   Most people won’t write a thesis on what happened..as this person did.  Most just won’t go back.  They vote with their wallet, as we like to say and go elsewhere. And most important – while I don’t doubt the situation happened.. some of the facts might have gotten “lost in translation”.  Most stories repeated usually do.  Sad, but true. Either way, the fact that this went out on a popular blog, will cost the store money.  There’s so many “no no’s in this story,  I almost hesitated to share it.  But what ever NO NO you take out if it… it’s a lesson. Love to hear your thoughts.  Mine is the fact the manager has yet to respond to the woman. 

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What is Your R-T-C Factor

What is Your R-T-C Factor

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor 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: 1.  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.  2.  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 following through when you promise to call or fulfilling the company’s guarantee statement, creating trust

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5 Frustrating Voice Mail/Cell Phone Phrases

5 Frustrating Voice Mail/Cell Phone Phrases

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor® Voice mail (business or cell) remains a large frustration in this busy business world. And it’s not just voice mail. The automated attendant is also on the list. In an effort to help reduce voice mail frustration, here are the five most frustrating phrases that your callers don’t want to hear. I’ll discuss the auto attendant in another blog. Here are the big 5 Most Frustrating Voice Mail phrases. 1. I’m not at my desk right now  DUH? That’s a hot lot of news. What a boring, semi useless statement. Live a little. Let your callers know where you ARE – not where you’re not. Tell them, “I AM in the office all this week” OR “I’m in a sales meeting till 3 pm.” Let them know if you do or don’t check messages. Let them know when you will be back. 2. Your call is very important to me OMG. Really? A big time waster. The caller is thinking, “Well, if I’m so darn important, where the heck are you?” And then again, think about it. Maybe the call isn’t so important to you. You just don’t need this phrase. Semi useless 3. I’m

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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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Why Caller ID is Not a Great Idea

Why Caller ID is Not a Great Idea

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote 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! Don’t discriminate. 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 personal note. Because, remember, it

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Let Me Double Check That For You

Let Me Double Check That For You

By Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote Customer Service Speaker One thing we all know is no one likes to be rejected. You don’t – I don’t – the folks next door don’t. And certainly, our customers don’t. Yet often we’re not able to satisfy folks – or even ourselves. Today’s blog covers how not to reject folks immediately. We call it “Reject Gently.” And it works. 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.” Sometimes we need to double check ourselves. Either way, it’s a good habit to get into. What it does is . . . well, this 1:30 video blog says it best. Watch it, enjoy and please share.

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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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Who is the Telephone Doctor?

Who is the Telephone Doctor?

NANCY FRIEDMAN The Telephone Doctor 1. Your story is so interesting; primarily because you never really wanted to start a telephone sales and service consulting business. Take us back to those early days and tell everyone the story of how you started down the road to becoming America’s Telephone Doctor. It’s a fun story and takes a good hour to tell it right; but let me give you the highlights. I was working at my husband’s advertising business. One day I had to call my insurance agent to discuss something. When I reached the office and asked for him, it was all downhill. The staff could not have been worse. No please, no thank you, no you’re welcome. No nothing. Frustrated after I hung up from the call, I waited until I was in a better frame of mind and called the agent back. When he answered I told him, “Cancel all our accounts.” (We were one of, if not the largest client he had.) I’m pretty sure I heard him fall off his chair and he said, “My gosh Nancy! What happened?” Without missing a beat, I told him. “Your people stink! They’re so rude, they’re so unfriendly, so

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311 Conference Presents Nancy Friedman

311 Conference Presents Nancy Friedman

311 Conference Presents Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor Monday, April 8, 2019 Phoenix, AZ CALL CENTER MANAGERS Exciting News Call Center Magic is what Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, will bring to our 311 conference in Phoenix this coming April. Nancy, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is our keynote speaker. She has been working with call centers around the country throughout her career to help improve communications. Her program, GOLDEN NUGGETS of CUSTOMER SERVICE, is filled with fun, interaction, and tons of ideas, tips, skills and techniques you will take back to your staff and use immediately and forever. Get ahead of the game, and check out Nancy’s website, at www.nancyfriedman.com. Connect with her on LinkedIn so she can tag you with the many pictures she loves to take at conferences. (www.linkedin.com/in/nancyfriedmanspeaker/) Nancy’s program is engaging, interactive and fun. You’ll be laughing and learning throughout the hour. Prizes and surprises throughout. It’s a real don’t miss program opener for 311.

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Ineffective Email Words & Phrases – Are You Guilty?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service 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 received. Without hesitation, the top 3 were: * Poor spelling and grammar – Your, you’re; there, their, they’re; here, hear; to, too, two and the list goes on. * Email that are too long; too wordy. * Wrong subject lines that don’t match the body copy. There were others, but these rose to the top. I’m about to share a few of the phrases used in emails that are not very effective. They are not bad; simply useless and unnecessary (i.e., not needed). When these phrases are eliminated, the emails usually read better; sound stronger. Here we go: “Just a note to let you know…”or “Just wanted to say…” or “I’m just checking back to see where we are on the order.” JUST is a weak, wimpy word. Not necessary. In fact, lame and useless. Eliminate the word JUST in your sentences. Read those sentences without the word “just” and see how much stronger they become. “As I (or you) mentioned on the phone”or “Pursuant to our call (conversation, whatever).” Double work, not needed, not

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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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Are You Positive or Negative?

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor; Keynote Customer Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Either way, one needs to practice. It’s easy to practice being positive and it’s much more difficult to practice being negative. Besides it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile. Why overwork? Our short video on being positive can help you do the right thing.

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Boothmanship Customer Service 101

Boothmanship Customer Service 101

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor; Keynote speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Anyone who has ever worked a booth at a trade show knows it’s just that – “WORK.” Lots of work. And sometimes, no lunch. Often long hours and the long hours are sometimes not very busy. And believe it or not, not being very busy can make you more tired than when you are busy. Bottom-line, put all those items together and sometimes we forget our customer service manners while working a booth.  Booth customer service is an overlooked art. Here are Telephone Doctor’s top five tips on GREAT booth customer service: EYE CONTACT– This is a face-to-face situation. Eye contact is a must. Looking around the floor show, trying to see who else is around, isn’t good customer service to the person you’re interacting with. Lock eyes with your prospect and give them your complete and undivided attention. Don’t let your head turn on a spindle. FOCUS! EXTEND YOUR HAND – Way too many booth folks don’t do this. Think of it as an in-person store or office visit. Shake hands.Offer yours first. (HUG if you know them. And don’t forget, they have a badge, so use their

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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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Sometimes We Hire People Because They’re Breathing. Some New Tips for You.

Sometimes We Hire People Because They’re Breathing. Some New Tips for You.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training We all get desperate. And it’s not fair to anyone – the prospective employee, the current employee, the employer, the entire company and eventually the customer. If you interview applicants, you know, of course, there are rules, guidelines, laws, things you can never ask them; things you shouldn’t ask them and they’re usually the questions you really want to ask. Most of us know the difference between legal and illegal questions. A few simple examples:   Illegal: Do you have a car? Legal: How will you get to work?   Illegal: How many sick days did you take last year at your last job? Legal: How many days of work did you miss last year?   Illegal: Have you ever been arrested? Legal: Have you ever been convicted of fraud or theft?   Years ago, I came up with some out of the box interviewing questions. They’re simple questions that will get a bit more information than, “Where do you want to be in 3 or 5 years?” “What did you think of your former boss?” Or “What will your former employer say about you?” All good

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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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Have You Called You Recently?

Have You Called You Recently?

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.” I do it all the time. I call my office and ask, “Is Nancy there?” in a slightly disguised voice

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