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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The Art of Giving Directions

The Art of Giving Directions

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert; Founder and President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, St. Louis, MO Yes, it’s an art. If you are a location where people call and ask, “Where are you located?” this is for you. I’ve had to call for directions both locally and out of town recently and the results are frankly disastrous. It’s amazing how some people do not know how to give effective directions. Let me help you: I called a retail location recently and asked, “Hi. Where are you located?” Simple enough. Right? Wrong! The sweet young lady who answered bellowed out, “Bob, where are we located?” Fortunately, BOB knew. But I’ve called many places as we travel the USA to ask that question and here are a few other answers: “Hi. I’m coming to the mall. Where are you guys located?” Answer: “Right under the escalator.” Me: “Super, thank you.” What she neglected to let me know is there were 4 escalators in the mall. It was a massive mall. Took me 20 minutes to find the right one. Agggg. Yes, I could have asked someone in the mall. I know that. But better if she had said, “There

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Are You Writing Handwritten Thank You Notes After Each Sale?

Are You Writing Handwritten Thank You Notes After Each Sale?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert; Founder and President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, St. Louis, MO Not sure if I’m unusual or not. (Please don’t ask my friends.) However, after each sale (product or service) I’ve ever made, I write a handwritten thank you note. It’s in my DNA. It’s not “I usually do.” It’s not something “I forget to do.” It’s like brushing my teeth; I do it automatically and as close to the sale as possible. That shows excitement. They’re not long notes. And there is no ulterior motive other than a sincere thank you. I don’t mix in asking for a referral in a thank you note. Then it’s not a thank you note. It’s a manipulative move IMO. But I do know, after a handwritten thank you note, the reception I get on follow up calls appear to be very welcomed. It also appears not too many other folks do it. On the other side of the fence, I don’t get many thank you notes from the vendors I use. And when I do, it makes a mental note to me that says ‘nice, thoughtful, company.’ And certainly person. And I remember that

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Email Frustrations

Email Frustrations

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Our surveys are taken at my speaking engagements. I ask the audience what businesses and/or customers want to know. A while back we asked an audience of 350+ what 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 that were frustrating, but these rose to the top. They are not bad; simply useless and unnecessary (i.e., not needed and ineffective). When these phrases are eliminated, 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…..” JUST is a weak, wimpy word. Not necessary. In fact, it is 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 necessary. Confirm the

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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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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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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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Administrative Professional’s Day: April 24, 2019 – Don’t forget to say thank you to your ‘right arm’

Administrative Professional’s Day: April 24, 2019 – Don’t forget to say thank you to your ‘right arm’

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Grandparents Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Christmas Day, well, you get the picture. There’s another day that gets overlooked sometimes and I wanted to share why it shouldn’t. You see, before I was the Telephone Doctor, I spent a few years as a secretary and then as an administrative assistant. What’s the difference you ask? It all depends on who you ask. Either way, it’s a day that sadly gets overlooked. Admin folks, good ones, work hard. They’re usually very loyal and very good. Good ones don’t watch the clock. They take a great deal of pride in doing their job. Being someone’s administrative assistant is a good thing. A special thing. It was fun being an admin. I loved being one. When the caller asked for my boss I would say, “Jim is at lunch, he’ll be back around 2:30 pm; my name is Nancy, I’m his administrative assistant and I do all the work anyway, how can I help?” I always got the information I needed. It always got a laugh and melted any rough edges of the caller.

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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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A. S. A. P. – How to Handle the Irate Customer

A. S. A. P. – How to Handle the Irate Customer

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   ASAP has long been the acronym for “As Soon As Possible” and that, of course, is true in handling a frustrated, irate customer. However, it’s also an acronym on one of the better ways to ACTUALLY HANDLE the situation. Our 4-point process has helped thousands of companies and folks make the very best of out some most unpleasant circumstances. Use our ASAP technique to effectively diffuse and handle upset, angry, irate customers: Apologize and acknowledge Sympathize and empathize Accept responsibility Prepare to help Feelings are key. We need to apologize sincerely, immediately, and follow up with action. Insincere responses, such as “Oh, I’m sorry,” won’t help and could even cause additional damage. Imagine you were the customer with that experience and ask yourself how you would want it handled. Let’s break it down step-by-step. Watch this short video. 

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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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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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Let’s Start the Year Off Right

Let’s Start the Year Off Right

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   5 Sayings to Sabotage Your Business There are many, many words and phrases that can and will sabotage your business. And, chances are, your staff is saying some of these now, without your even knowing it – on the phone and in person. You might have even said some of these yourself (ouch!). That’s the bad news. The good news is we’re able to bring to you the top five sabotaging phrases and then show you how to neutralize the effects. “I Have No Idea” This is normally used as an excuse more than anything else. It’s a sure thing that the employee has not been shown how to explain something to the customer (i.e., no product training). This phrase is used as something to say when the employee doesn’t know what to say. When the customer hears “I have no idea” they immediately respond (usually silently) with, “You gotta be kidding me?” There normally is a certain blank stare accompanying this statement. Sad. Instead, try “That’s a great question, let me check and find out.” “It’s Not My Department” Well, then whose is it? Let’s

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6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training FACT: The best weapon for a successful business is customer service. It’s all so simple. We will pay more for better service. So whether you’re a small business owner or Hewlett Packard, read on. Here are our Telephone Doctor’s Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service. Adapting any one these steps will make your day, and more importantly, make the customer’s day, a better experience for you and your company. Cardinal Rule # 1 – People Before Paperwork When someone walks into your place of business or calls you while you’re working on something else, drop everything. Remember, paper can wait, people should not. We’ve all been abused when we go shopping and been ignored only because the employee is doing something else. Remember: People before paperwork. Cardinal Rule # 2 – Rushing Threatens Customers Sure, you may understand something real quick, but rushing the customer along will only lead to them feeling intimidated and you won’t see them coming back to you. Take it easy. Remember, speed is not success! Trying to be “done” with a customer as quickly as possible is seen as being rude and uncaring. Take your time with

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