15 Easy Customer Service Tips for the Holiday (OK, Every Day…)

15 Easy Customer Service Tips for the Holiday (OK, Every Day…)

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training FACT: Customers go out of their way looking for companies that give great customer service. FACT: Some find it; some don’t. Once a year (at least) and especially at holiday time, it’s healthy to go over a few of the good, old common sense, customer service tips. The ones we all know, yet nice to get a reminder. Our books, Customer Service Nightmares, as well as The Good the Bad and the Ugly, two of our 9 popular books, is proof that customers love to report on how badly they’ve been treated. When asked, they answered in the hundreds – near thousands, with stories about how bad their experience was. (We did get a few ‘good ones’ though.) Here are 15 tips . . . fifteen customer service tips that are good old common sense thoughts, ideas, and skills. Short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy. Share – some folks aren’t aware. 1. “Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” always have been, and always will be, powerful words. Seldom overused. 2. “You’re welcome” is simply the best replacement for “no problem” (and no worries). 3. “Sorry ‘bout

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Business Friendly Customer Service

Business Friendly Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert on Sales and Communications; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   When you take the “friendly” out of Business Friendly, the only thing you have left is business – business as usual. And we all know that’s just not good enough. You may be asking yourself, “What exactly is Business Friendly customer service?” We define it as the middle ground between being too cold, impersonal and uncaring, and the other extreme of being too familiar. I’m sure we’ve all experienced both. Here are five points to help you deliver Business Friendly customer service. Every Call is Unique – Don’t Become Desensitized: The customer interaction you perform at the end of the day needs to be as upbeat and helpful as you were with the first one of the day. What happens is often times we get the same questions over and over and it’s easy to become desensitized. We need to remember that to the customer, his question is new to him. And it’s the first time for him; no matter what time of day it is. Solve the Problem – Don’t Argue: You know the old saying “the customer is always right.” Well, the reality is “the

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Will Your Customer Service Pass or Fail This Holiday? 5 Tips to Help.

Will Your Customer Service Pass or Fail This Holiday? 5 Tips to Help.

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert and Keynote Speaker; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   The holidays are fast approaching. Few times are more important for your customer service. The holidays cannot only make your financial year a huge success, but it’s also a prime opportunity to gain new customers who will return year-round. However, if employees fail at customer service and are not helpful, knowledgeable, or are unpleasant, you not only lose customers and lose future sales, but you also risk the chance of getting slammed on social media. So what can owners and managers do to encourage excellent customer service during and beyond the holiday season? Here are five tips that will help up your game and provide customer service that will generate holiday sales and repeat customers in the new year. STARTERS: * Do some sort of training now, before the holiday shoppers arrive. If you have some customer service training in place, review it with your employees and those seasonal workers you are hiring for the holidays. If you don’t have a customer service plan in place, hire an experienced expert to spend a day training your staff. And if you have no time to

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Five Sayings to Sabotage Your Business

Five Sayings to Sabotage Your Business

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   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. And worse yet, you’ve probably even said some of these yourself (ouch!). That’s the bad news. The good news is we’re able to bring you the top five sabotaging phrases 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 Sayings to Sabotage Your Business today: 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,

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Why There Are Customer Service Issues

Why There Are Customer Service Issues

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Worth the read. A while back my insurance agent called me to come show his small office how to be better in customer service. Seems as though they were losing business, getting complaints and not doing as well as he felt they should. Even I had had a spotty experience with them and I told him so. So, when he finally called and asked me to come over, I did. I don’t think he had 15 on staff and of all ages. I presented a short, easy version of a NANCY program to get the ball rolling. Sharing things with them that were common sense. Say please, thank you, you’re welcome. Put that smile in your voice. Don’t argue with the customers. Don’t tell the customer you don’t know. Don’t ‘sigh’ when they ask you a question just because you have heard it before. Don’t tell the customer “we can’t do that.” And a few other important tips. The president of the insurance agency was impressed and called me over before I left. “Thank you,” he said gratefully, “we really learned some new things.” I

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Take the Test – Are you Passive, Average or Proactive?

Take the Test – Are you Passive, Average or Proactive?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   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 keep 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

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6 Tried & True Listening Tips

6 Tried & True Listening Tips

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Listening isn’t 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? Hearing is one thing, but 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 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. The first step is all about you – your personal commitment to be a better listener. You need to decide to be a

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4 Semi-Useless Words You Use Every Day

4 Semi-Useless Words You Use Every Day

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   HI, HOW ARE YOU? Looks harmless, right? Yet it’s been labeled “social noise.” Especially to those we don’t know, haven’t met, and may never see again. SEMI-USELESS! There are dozens of other ways to open and start a conversation in person or on the phone. A few are: * Nice to hear your voice. * Good to meet you. * Glad to talk with you. * Good to see you. * Thanks for taking my call. * You’re looking great. * Glad to make your acquaintance. * You sound/look chipper. * And so many more. “Hi how are you” can reduce effectiveness, especially on a first-time introduction, call or meeting. And for people you see every day at work, or all the time elsewhere, it’s ineffective as well. Say something creative, unique. You pass someone in the hall at work, on the street, wherever. It usually goes like this: “Hi, how are you?” * “Fine, how are you?” * “Fine.” Done. * Over. * Nothing. * Nada. * SEMI-USELESS. Use a more original, caring comment. You’ll see a big difference. And so will the other person. Again, it’s not bad

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BACK TO BASICS 2018 STYLE

BACK TO BASICS 2018 STYLE

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker – Customer Service, Communications, Sales. President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training FACT: Customers go out of their way looking for companies who provide great customer service. FACT: Some find it; some don’t. Once a year (at least) it’s healthy to go over the good old common sense customer service tips. The ones we all know, yet often get left behind. 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 that common. So, at the start of the year, I re-run our BACK TO BASICS article with the hopes they’ll get shared and used. Here are 15 BACK TO BASIC customer service tips that are good old common sense thoughts, ideas, and skills. Short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy and share. 1. “Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” always have been, and always will be, powerful words. Seldom overused. 2. “You’re welcome” is the best replacement when told “thank you.” (NO PROBLEM/NO WORRIES are on the KILLER WORDS of customer service list.) 3. “Sorry ‘bout that” is NOT an apology. It’s a cliché. “My apologies” is better when there’s a screw up. “I’m sorry” is when you step on someone’s

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The Service Mentality – Does your team have it?

The Service Mentality – Does your team have it?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Telephone Doctor’s www.serviceskills.com online platform offers 12 series of helpful content to help your team communicate better with their customers and coworkers. This is one of the programs. Most ads have a line of type or two about how well you’ll be treated when you shop or call there. Usually the advertisement reads, “We’re the best” or “Service is our middle name” – something like that. TV, radio, newspapers and the internet are loaded with commercials with companies saying they are very customer service minded. Why then, do we hear so many horror stories about how poorly people are treated? Clearly, not everyone has The Service Mentality. The good news is you can learn the skills of the ‘best.’ No one has a monopoly on a great service mentality. Here are 7 traits that exemplify The Service Mentality #1 – Sympathy / Empathy This trait won as one of the most important characteristics when serving customers. In so many cases you get APATHY, the exact opposite of SYMPATHY. True story: On a recent trip my wallet was stolen. Credit cards, driver’s license and a few dollars…all gone. I got ready to make the

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

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

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

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Everyday Fail-Safe Customer Service Tips

Everyday Fail-Safe Customer Service Tips

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service   Because you and your clients are in touch so many ways, all these techniques and tips work in all the various communication touch points – email, voice mail, snail mail, phone, fax and face-to-face. Let’s dive right in: Sales, customer service, telephone skills, and interpersonal skills. Please, NO Gum – I walked into a retail store to buy a TV. There were three salespeople waiting to help me standing proudly in their team shirts. Two were chomping on their gum, open mouthed, saliva dripping out. One was not. Guess who I asked to help me? Right, the one who didn’t look like a cow having dinner. Hey, I’m not alone. Most people don’t want a salesperson chewing gum while they’re being helped. (Worried about bad breath? Mints are fine.) ATTENTION RETAILERS – NO GUM IN THE STORE in person or on the phone. End of story.   Eye Contact– In yet another store a while back, the lady who helped me had her head on a spindle. She seemed to look everywhere but at me. That’s a no-no. If you’re not making eye contact with the customer, it appears as though you’re not

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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.

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Negotiation Cliff Notes for Those in a Hurry

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service & Communications Expert, President – Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Those of us who negotiate normally want short, quick tips to help us. So here are some Cliff Notes to help you in those daily negotiations. And let’s face it, we are always negotiating. Family, business, you name it. I’ve even negotiated with a waitress. Long story. I’ll hold it for another time. But it was negotiating. So here are 8 tips to hang on your wall: 1.      Don’t discount a price right off the bat. 2.      Be strong and confident about your product and price. Your opponent will be seeking price concessions if your delivery is weak. 3.      Delay giving concessions until the end of the conversation. See point 8 below. 4.      Have a “nice” way to reject an offer. There are always feelings involved. 5.      Never underestimate your strength in a negotiation. Your opponent won’t. 6.      Negotiations begin at the beginning of the conversation. From hello on forward. 7.      Avoid ”goodwill” conceding. (i.e., Don’t give things away because ‘the opponent is so nice.’) 8.      When you GIVE something, be sure you GET something back in return. An order? A larger order? A

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Words that Ruin a Relationship

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service & Communication Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   DANGEROUS WORDS – NEGATIVE WORDS Or known as conversation diverters. Just as ALWAYS and NEVER are also conversation diverters, below are a few more words/phrase that will make your customers, potential customers, along with friends and family veer away from the real point of your conversation. So best we eliminate them from our routine and vocabulary. It’s not easy to do. If it were easy to do, everyone would be doing it and we know everyone isn’t doing it. Remove these disruptions from your sales, service and any communications 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 to explain what’s not gonna happen. Next time

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The WALKING DEAD – Beyond Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service   We all know there are three types of customer service. Those that are passive, those that are average and those that are proactive. A no brainer. We get that. But as happens sometimes, there are those that fall lower than passive. And the other day I found it. When we left the store my husband looked at me and simply said, “The Walking Dead” knowing what I was thinking right away. I was thinking “How can I put this total ‘non experience’ into my speaking engagements? How can I explain what the Walking Dead is, do or are to my audiences?” We decided that other folks run into an experience such as that. Maybe it wasn’t a terrible customer service experience or something the person said or did. Simply put, it was as though you were meeting with the ‘walking dead.’ It was lower than a ‘nothing’ experience. I’ve categorized bad experiences into 2 files. One is SAD; the other is BAD. Recently one of my clients asked what the DIFFERENCE is between the two. A SAD customer experience is when something wasn’t quite right and

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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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7 Principles of Bad Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   A few years ago we surveyed a group of folks on how they felt about getting bad customer service. We found 7 common threads. We labeled them the 7 Principles of Bad Customer Service. Here are the results:   Principle One: They’re Grateful for the Chance to Vent Customers are always grateful for the opportunity to tell others how they were mistreated. It’s pretty much cathartic.   Principle Two: Tomorrow’s Joke Many people joke to vent their frustration about their bad customer service experience and tell these “jokes” about it to pretty much anyone who will listen!   Principle Three: The Memory of an Elephant Customers often don’t forget. Lots of people quote the time elapsed since the unfortunate incident. We had letters telling us “this happened 20 years ago and I can recall everything that happened.” Bad customer service leaves a real bad taste.   Principle Four: “You’re not going to believe this!” Those abused by poor customer service can never seem to accept the fact that it happened. They remain shocked, continue to agonize and happily repeat the conflict. Each story was an “OMG,

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Do You Suffer From Emotional Leakage?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service, Inc.   Emotional Leakage – Getting 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. Taking a

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7 Traits of a Successful Leader

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor  Do you ever wonder how and why some folks are successful, natural born leaders and some aren’t? How some folks learn to deal with the ups and downs of life and find a way to make things better while others are so down and find the smallest thing to complain about? And keep complaining. They don’t deal or play well with others. Successful leaders seem to have a trait, or several traits as a matter of fact, traits which allows them to move forward in a more positive mode. There are many traits successful leaders have. Here are seven we believe in and want to share.   Your Attitude is Your Choice – Successful leaders have great attitudes. No one else can make you have a great attitude but you. So you are totally in control of this factor. You can wake up, smile, and feel this is gonna be a great day. That’s your choice. Or, you can wake up and decide it’s gonna be a crappy day. Again, your choice. Which would you rather have? And let’s not forget, there is a difference between an attitude and a mood. Know what it

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