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.

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Word of the Day: WACTEO (WAC-TAY-O)

Word of the Day: WACTEO (WAC-TAY-O)

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service and Communication Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   In these days, folks are busy, stressed out and short of time. It can be easy to forget to thank folks. It shouldn’t be. However, sadly, it is. We can usually remember to thank our customers because “we’re supposed to.” We probably don’t have any trouble thanking our family members. However, there is a group of folks that are often left out of the “thank you” pile. And that would be our co-workers. The folks we spend most of the day with side-by-side. I’m dedicating this column to our inside customers. The folks that are thought of as our ‘home away from home’ family. Sure, we argue and disagree with co-workers just like our family. And that’s OK, because most of us have a family environment in our office. We understand that. It’s our office family. The word WACTEO comes from the sentence: We Are Customers to Each Other. Pronounced: WOC-TAY-O If every office, large and small, followed some of these guidelines, I’m thinking it would be a better place to work. Understand Your Role – Each employee should know the mission of

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5 Three Word Phrases to Help Your Day Go Better

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Interested in making your day better as well as someone else’s? Read on. There are 5 three word phrases that can do that. Probably more, but we like these a lot. By the way, if YOU have some 3 word phrases that will helps others, let us know. * You’re right. (A contraction I know, but still 3 words.) And are they powerful! Especially when you’ve been in a heated discussion and the other person has legitimate information and you didn’t. To agree and let them know “you’re right” is a powerful statement. You’ll gain a friend, keep a friend and often make a new friend. Especially when you were incorrect and then you let the other person know “you were right.” Powerful. * I love you. Next to “dinner is ready,” this phrase isn’t used enough. Letting those close to you, friends, relatives, and others, know you love them, value them and enjoy them will never go to waste. And we all have heard stories of people who sadly ‘missed the boat’ shall we say and didn’t tell the right person “I love you” in

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How to Prevent “Bad Apples” from Spoiling the Team

Research shows that one “bad apple” – an employee with a negative attitude – can impact your entire team. It doesn’t take long before the gloomy team member infects others with their defeatist behavior. First, we need to understand why anyone would adopt an attitude that seemingly has no professional payoff. The answer is because there can be a social reward. An employee might make a negative comment for a laugh or to attempt to be part of a consensus. So what’s the solution to negativity in the office? It’s isolation. How? Remove the social incentive. Isolate the behavior through direct and assertive responses. For instance, after a wisecrack about a new management focus, one could say, “I understand you feel that way, Chris, but I don’t, and I’m excited to hear about the new direction.” You remove the social incentive by showing that others on the team don’t share it. The goal is to respond politely. It won’t work to challenge the person by saying, “Why are you always so darn negative?” Very few people will agree that they’re negative. Likewise, it doesn’t work to debate: “You’re wrong about management. They have a good handle on things.” The negative

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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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Customer Service vs. Common Sense?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   We’ve all heard the saying: “Hey, customer service is just plain old common sense.” But then we all know, too, common sense is NOT that common.  Decided to make a quick list of a few common sense things that aren’t so common. See if you agree and love to have you ‘add on’ to the list. There are many more. * Cover your mouth when you yawn, cough or sneeze. * Say “you’re welcome” vs. “no problem” when someone tells you “thank you.” * Smile back at others. * Better yet. SMILE FIRST at others. * Write handwritten thank you notes when you receive a gift. Or get a new customer which is a gift! Save the text for a lunch date. Handwritten notes won’t go out of style. Texting will eventually be replaced with something else. * Bump into someone at the mall, in the hall? Say, “Excuse me.” * Remember you get more with sugar than you do with vinegar. * Stand up when a customer walks into your office or place of business. Greet the customer warmly. * Open doors for others. (Physically and emotionally

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8 Sinful Customer Service Actions

  By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Author, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service This is not MY list. These “sins” are from my audiences who share their views when I speak at conferences across the country. We survey the groups to find out what bothers them from companies. And man, how they love to vent. And they love to let me know what bugs them, what frustrates them, how they want to be treated as a customer. Usually a freewheeling discussion and one that gets my attention a lot. It should get yours. So listen up. Your customers are talking to you. And customer service training can help you. Drum roll please…in no particular order. By the way, these go for on the phone or in person. As a matter of fact, all 6 touch points of communication.   Sin #1: Not smiling Man is that important. Our Telephone Doctor motto: “A phony smile is better than a real frown” would have helped the gal who was trying to help me Saturday. What a poopy face she had on her. I refused to let it get me down or let her infect me at all. I smiled all the way through

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Why “Hi, how are you?” is Semi-Useless

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor My mother lived with me in her last years. We enjoyed her sense of humor. Here’s part of what made me realize how useless the phrase, “Hi, how are you?” really is. The house phone rang. Esther answered. The man says, “Hi, Mrs. Friedman, this is Dan from XXX. How are you?” My mother says – without missing a beat, “I’m so glad you called. I have a bad case of diarrhea, a terrible migraine, been vomiting all day, my pacemaker is running slower than normal, and I have a bad rash. How are you?” He said, “Well, compared to you, a hell of a lot better” and hung up. Point being, “Hi, how are you” is semi-useless especially to those we don’t even know. I’ve seen folks pass in the halls, in a mall, in an office, everywhere. One says, “Hi, how are you?” The other says, “Fine, how are you?” No one stops; they’re still walking and nothing was accomplished. I’ve removed “Hi, how are you” from my vocabulary. It’s been replaced with any one of these phrases and I share them with you: Good to see you. Hi, you’re looking well.

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eCommerce Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Unless you live under a rock, you know we are well into the era of the internet, online and social media. The demands of customers for superior service have intensified. No argument there. Remember: It’s all about the “experience.” To understand the impact, look at customer communication in two categories: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous – meaning that both people communicating need to be on the same device at the same time such as phone, face-to-face, chat, and the like. You ask and you get results immediately. No waiting. Asynchronous, of course, is one-way communication such as fax, voice mail, email and good old snail mail. (Remember that?) When we think of regular customer service, we generally think of face-to-face and telephone interactions. But today suffice to say, there are way more ways to communicate with our customers and the online is a powerful part of that communication. More and more organizations are exploring new opportunities in electronic eCommerce. They sense that they can reach segments of their audiences more quickly and effectively online. With this in mind, there is a greater need than ever before

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Scattered, Random Thoughts

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service   As an admitted A.D.D., I’ve always wanted to do an article like this; sharing thoughts that randomly come into my mind. Some are business thoughts and some are personal. Enjoy.  * I really have a hard time with the person who says, “Oh, ok” when I’ve just logged a complaint. It’s as though they didn’t hear me. That’s not the right thing to say when I’m not a happy camper.  * Don’t you hate it when you let someone in front of you in traffic and they don’t wave a thank you?  * Forrest Tucker of F Troop, for those who remember, once told me, “Some folks get overcome with the smell of their own perfume.” Great statement when you realize what he meant.  * Why does the nurse say, “The doctor will be right with you” and then they don’t show up for 45 minutes.  * How about the person who takes the last cup of coffee from the pot and doesn’t make more?  * Ever wonder why some folks aren’t able to laugh at themselves?  * Someone once told me, “Grow old

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11+ Theatre Skills for Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service   What type of theatre experience have you ever had? Why do I ask you that question? Because if you have ever been on stage in a play, part of a band, chorus, dance group, stage manager, grip, sound, prompter, make up, lighting, director, or any form of theatre where the audience and other co-workers are depending on you, then you probably already know the answer to why I ask. And you probably have a great background for customer service! I have a professional theatre background and it has helped my career thrive immensely in the customer service arena. Now, it doesn’t mean if you don’t have a theatre background you won’t be good in customer service, it just means you’ll understand the mentality of customer service faster, and perhaps better. Theatre 101, as I call it, is a perfect pre-curser to being in customer service. It prepares you in the best way for all these topics and many more. I fibbed, there are more than 11 skills. That’s a good thing though. Here they are. * Interacting with others * Being on time *

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I’m in Customer Service, I Can’t Help You

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Customer Service Expert, Engagement Specialist, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service   So close yet so far away. A true but short story. The good Lord as my witness, these words were said to me the other day at a high end retail store in St. Louis, MO. Yes, those exact words. “Sorry, I’m in customer service, I can’t help you.” I stared blankly at the young man who said that thinking to myself, “He didn’t really say that did he?” But yes, he did. I had asked for some help to look at some jewelry. The first woman I asked said, “I’m so sorry, I’m with another customer.” Ok, fair, not great, but fair. Then I turned to the young man standing behind the counter and said I’d like to see “that” necklace, pointing to the one I wanted. And with a big smile (cuz he was taught that in customer service class) he said, “I’m sorry, I’m in customer service, I can’t help you.” All I thought after my shock was, wow…what a good blog this will make! I realized after he said it that he was in “their” customer service department, upstairs, probably taking

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How NOT to Answer a Phone Call

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Customer Service Expert & Engagement Specialist. Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training A recent email we received below gave us some good ammunition for this blog. While the industry, as you can see, is in the legal profession, believe me, it can happen in every industry. Read on: It’s from an attorney (no jokes, please). “Around 1:00 p.m. today I returned opposing counsel’s telephone call from this morning. The first person that answered the phone took my name and asked me to hold while she checked to see if she was back from lunch. After a short hold she came back on the line and transferred my call. At that point opposing counsel’s assistant answered the phone. She took my name for the second time and put me back on hold. After holding a couple of minutes, opposing counsel’s assistant came back on the line and asked if I could call back in twenty minutes! I am sure that her assistant is telling opposing counsel that I am a jerk because I answered, “No, I am calling her back now.” It’s a well-known fact that the first voice you hear and what they say when you call

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5 Killer Words to Drive Your Customers Away

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor  There are really more, we know that. But what we have found after a survey from our clients is these five killer words always seem to rise to the top. They are conversation diverters. Just as ALWAYS and NEVER are conversation diverters, these five killer words will make your customers and your potential customers 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. Remove these 5 Killer Words from your sales and presentations and watch the scene go smoother.  “It’s not our policy.” – Ouch! Okay, okay, most every company has policies and it’s something we need to deal with on a daily basis I’m sure. What we realized was it’s not necessarily the policy that’s frustrating, it’s blurting out first and foremost, “It’s not our policy” or in some cases it’s “their” policy.The policy needs to be rephrased so that it starts off in a more positive way. We like to say “rejecting gently.” And rephrasing policies are a good way

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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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6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman Telephone Doctor  There are a lot of ‘rules’ in customer service, but few more important than the six we’ve listed here. Each makes a valid statement and will increase the satisfaction of your clients.  Cardinal Rule #1 – Personal Responsibility/Accountability: Don’t Pass the Buck  In a recent survey, we found that “responsibility/accountability” is the number one characteristic employers want from their employees.  Oh, there are lots of characteristics they’d like; however, the one that rose to the top consistently was responsibility/accountability.  One of the most important attributes a team player can have is personal responsibility – personal accountability. Those that have it refuse to accuse, blame and complain.  Those that do accuse, blame and complain break one of the most important cardinal rules. “Who” statements accuse and blame. “Who took my stapler?” A more positive manner might be: “I seem to have misplaced my stapler; has anyone seen it?”  Remember to take full responsibility with the customer. The customer doesn’t like to hear accusing, blaming and complaining statements. They know when you’re passing the buck!  Cardinal Rule #2 – People Before Paperwork  When someone walks into your place of business or calls you while you’re working on

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9 Ways to Gain the Competitive Edge

PDF Version By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor Tight economy! Reduced staff! Demanding customers! “These days it’s extra challenging to satisfy and keep customers. It’s even more important than ever because customer loyalty is generally considered the primary engine today to retain sales levels and gain an advantage over the competition. It’s been this way for a long time; it’s just getting more attention now. We just need to do things better. There are hundreds of ways to do better. Here are 9 we like: 1. Know your product and services . . . inside and out. Not being knowledgeable frustrates customers. An uneducated employee is semi-useless to a customer. Job knowledge is key in any position. If for any reason your company doesn’t offer job knowledge training, make it your own priority to find out as much as you can. Job knowledge is a key ingredient to serving customers. 2. Believe in your product and services 150%. We know of a salesperson who has never had any formal sales training. However, based on the belief in the product, services and contagious enthusiasm, this person is a top seller. People LOVE to buy from people who get excited about their

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We Are Customers To Each Other

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor  Everyone’s busy, stressed out and short of time.   Are we forgetting some people?   We usually remember to thank our customers. And we probably don’t have any trouble thanking family. However, there is a group of folks that are often left out of the “thank you” pile.  And that would be our co-workers.  Known as our INTERNAL customers. The folks we spend most of the day with side-by-side. The folks that are thought of as our ‘home away from home’ family.   Sure, we argue and disagree with co-workers just like our family. And that’s OK, because most of us have a family environment in our office. We understand that. It’s our office family.  Our word of the day is: WACTEO.   No need to look it up . . . we made it up. Here are the ground rules for WACTEO: We Are Customers To Each Other:  1.    Understand Your Role – Each employee should know the mission of their organization and the role they play. Those of us who are in a small department of a large company can often times miss the big picture. If you don’t know the mission of your company, ask

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Top 5 Kick Starters to the Great Experience

PDF Version By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor  (Win an iPad!)  How do you make sure every customer’s visit turns into the Almighty Customer Experience, the kind that creates a great lasting impression? You start things off right! Here are the top 5 ways to set the stage with your customers at your establishment, right from the get-go! And it doesn’t matter what industry…the top 5 are the top 5! Here’s what your customers are looking for in those critical first moments:  1. A Proper Greeting  The first words a customer hears really do matter, so make them count! The most common greeting we seem to hear is, “Hi, how are ya?” While it’s not the worst thing you can say, it’s weak and ineffective. Why? Well, because it’s social noise. Let’s face it… most folks don’t care how you are. And it’s usually just returned with, “Fine, how are you?” Again, there’s no substance, and therefore no basis to begin building rapport. Kick start that almighty customer experience with one of these:  • “Nice to see you!” • “Glad you’re here!” • “Nice of you to stop in today!”  The list goes on. Anything but the dull, overused, “Hi,

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Back to Basics – Common Sense Tips

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor®   PDF Version Telephone Doctor Customer Service training has focused an entire career developing ways to help companies communicate better with their customers. We’ve helped thousands. How? With our simple, logical techniques that most folks already know and we bring them to the forefront. Most businesses go out of their way to attempt to give good customer service. Some make it; some don’t. Customers go out of their way looking for companies that give great customer service. Some find it; some don’t. We have tried so very hard to explain to both sides. 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 out there. There is a mass of grey average out there. You don’t wanna be in it. Rise above that mass of grey and come along with Telephone Doctor. Customers love to vent. They love to report on how badly they’ve been handled. And today with the Internet, it’s sad how stuff goes viral so quickly. I cannot count the number of articles out there on customer service. Some are good, some not; some have new ideas; some speak the old

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