Do You Suffer From Emotional Leakage?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service & Communication Keynote Speaker & President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service, Inc. Emotional Leakage – Getting at mad at Peter and taking it out on Paul. Not right, not fair, not fun. We’ve all seen it happen. A co-worker comes into work storming angry; mouth turned down in a frown; walks through the office without saying hello to anyone; sits down at his desk and starts barking orders to his coworkers; doesn’t come out of his office; and when his phone rings he picks it up and bellows out: “Yea?” Sad isn’t it? Something must have happened before he got to work and he carried it right inside the building. Telephone Doctor calls this “Emotional Leakage” and we cure it all the time. Hey, it’s no fun to get up on the wrong side of the bed in the morning. And it’s sure not fun to get a flat tire on the way to work or to argue with someone before breakfast. It’s unfortunate that some people aren’t able to shake it off and move on about their business. Emotional leakage is getting mad at Peter and taking it out on Paul. Not right, not fair, not fun.

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Are You Passive, Average or Proactive?

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor   Take the 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 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 any of these

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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 *

Read more

Do We Need to Agree With Customers?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote speaker, Customer Service expert, Engagement Specialist, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   As most of you are aware, all the stories we share with you at our onsite programs and in our newsletters, blogs, etc., are ‘true.’ Nothing is made up. They either happened to me personally, I witnessed them, or I verified the information if I am going to share it. Credibility is key to Telephone Doctor. We don’t make anything up. That being said, I want to share a story that happened to me the other weekend. It’s a clear example of WHY we don’t need to agree with the customer all the time. I went into my bank prepared to make some minor changes to a few accounts. It was a Saturday and the only other folks in the bank were the teller and the one lady (who never gave me her name and had no badge) who tried to help me. I say ‘tried’ because it was a comedy of errors. Now, please know, just because I’m the Telephone Doctor I do not make a big deal out of poor service. I don’t try and teach the person what to do

Read more

Are You Really Engaged?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert & Engagement Specialist.   A short, but ongoing course. Are you really engaged? Do you and your staff really know how to engage and interact with the customers? Do they even know what it means.   Seems as though every year there’s a “new” word in Customer Service. And this year it’s been “engagement.” Engage the customer. What’s it mean? Or better yet: What does it not mean? The answer to what it’s NOT, is – – it’s NOT the customer service experience. Don’t confuse the two. They are quite different. It is: Just as you might imagine….when you might have popped “the question,” (or said “yes” if you were the one being asked), you normally went into what is called an ‘engagement’ period. That’s the time before the marriage. Time to better know and understand someone you’re supposed to spend a lifetime with. Sometimes it’s short and sometimes it’s a longer period of time. But usually there’s an ‘engagement’ period. And so it is with our customers. Before they can “BUY,” before they can become our customer (before we ‘marry’ them), we need to get ‘engaged.’ Make sense? Or starting to?

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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,

Read more

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

Read more

Five Ways to Sabotage Your Business

by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor There are many, many ways to sabotage your business. And, chances are, your staff is doing some of these now on the phone and in person. And worse yet, you’ve probably even heard some of this yourself (ouch!). That’s the bad news The good news is we’re able to bring to you the top five sabotage practices and then show you how to neutralize the effects. So get ready. You and your staff are about to be in a much better position to handle the Five Ways to Sabotage Your Business today: 1. I Have No Idea This is normally used as an excuse more than anything else. It’s a sure sign that the employee has not been shown how to explain something to the customer. 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?” Interestingly enough, there normally is a certain blank stare accompanying this statement. Sad. 2. It’s Not My Department Well, then whose is it? Let’s remember one of our Telephone Doctor mottos: Tell the

Read more

The Customer Experience – What is it?

by Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor The other day, someone asked me, “What’s Customer Experience, Nancy?” They had not heard the expression yet. And as I went on to explain, I realized it’s not just one item, it’s many things. How can you put the entire ‘experience’ into one word? Not sure we can. And since ‘customer experience’ seems to be the new hot buzz word of the day, we wanted to share a few of the tips that will help make a better customer experience for you and your customer. Common sense that they are, they’re not often done. 1. “No problem” is not a substitute for the gold standard of “you’re welcome.” “My pleasure” or “glad to help” will save the day and make a better customer experience. 2. “Sorry ’bout that” is not a replacement for “I apologize.” When an error occurs, “sorry ’bout that” won’t work. “I apologize” always helps make a better customer experience. 3. “Hey, how ya doing?” is not a good greeting, on the phone or in person. “How nice to talk/or see you/or meet you” brings the customer experience to the forefront. 4. Want to spoil a good customer experience quickly? Chew

Read more

Essential Telephone Skills

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor  Recently a Telephone Doctor client said to me, “Nancy, congratulations. Some people take a simple idea and complicate it; you have taken a simple idea and kept it simple.” We don’t believe you should scratch your head and wonder when you’re being shown an idea or technique. That old KISS method (Keep it simple Simon) is the best. So we have purposely kept all of the material in our programs simple – yet very effective. I’ve heard: “Hey what you do is just plain old common sense.” You bet it is. You won’t get an argument out of us. But you and I all know that common sense just isn’t that common. If it were, everyone would be doing it and we know everyone isn’t. Our DVD program ESSENTIAL TELEPHONE SKILLS is just that. A basic, common sense program – uncomplicated, yet effective. Ideas, tips, skills and techniques that everyone should be doing, but they’re not. So, this article is for those that simply want basic, common sense, healthy, usable techniques. Below are 5 of our 10 basic skills that are ESSENTIAL for better communications and handling of customers and, believe it or not,

Read more

7 Steps to Satisfied Customers

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor Every business has one thing in common. Phone calls. Inbound or outbound…service or sales. How these phones are answered and handled is critical. New software and hardware is constantly coming into the marketplace…and yet, the one thing that remains constant is how these phone are answered, no matter WHO answers it. Telephone Doctor has a near full proof plan on improving customer service that will boost your employees moral – and more importantly – your callers will feel they have definitely “called the right place”. By using only a few of these Telephone Doctor tips – you will raise awareness and increase customer satisfaction. Here goes: We’ll start with the obvious. SMILE. And be sure you use our Telephone Doctor motto, SMILE BEFORE you answer the phone. Often times, it is too late to smile after you know who it is. There can be no discrimination when you answer the phone. Everyone gets a smile before you know who it is. Assure the caller they have “called the right place”. This needs to be said before you ask for any information. It’s very frustrating to be interrogated before you welcome the caller. If you

Read more