Every Business Has A Phone & Someone Answering It

Every Business Has A Phone & Someone Answering It

By Nancy Friedman, Founder/President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker   Who doesn’t want to get great service when you call a company? So much business is done over the telephone. First call, in between. Or ends up in a phone call after a chat or online experience. Before delivering a presentation, be it keynote or workshop, one of my ‘things’ to do is to make a few mystery calls to the company that has hired me. Not to make anyone feel bad or to embarrass anyone (I don’t tell the audiences: “Hey, I called some of you the other day and it was terrible.”) That’s not why I do the mystery calls. I call so I can hear what their customers are hearing. And while often it’s not very pretty or very good, I can always bring them Telephone Doctor GOLD STANDARD customer service techniques. I probably haven’t called your organization, large or small yet, so I’ll share one of our GOLD STANDARD techniques we provide to our clients. It always brings me a great deal of pleasure when I can tell my clients, “Your folks are super!” We only need 3 things when we

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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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“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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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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How Do I Answer a Business call?

How Do I Answer a Business call?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker & President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Ok, no rude comments please. I don’t remember that either, just looked interesting. And they probably had the same question back then. How do I answer a business call? One the most often asked questions I get in all my speaking conferences across the country during our question and answering segment is: “Nancy, what is the best way to answer our business phone?” Well, I’ve never said Telephone Doctor is the best or the only. However, I do stand behind the fact we have the most effective telephone techniques. After all, we’ve been doing this a long time. So if you’re looking for the most effective method in answering your business phone, if you want to be the most effective on the INITIAL greeting, come along with me and listen. We only need 3 things when we answer a business phone: 1.    A buffer 2.    The company or department name 3.    Your name Then stop! Anything after your name erases your name. The initial greeting needs to end with your name. “How can I help you?” is not necessary in the initial greeting. You’re there to help. You’re there to

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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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Words that Drive Customers Away

Words that Drive Customers Away

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   We call them conversation diverters. Killer words are words that make your customers and your potential customers (and oftentimes 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. In no order of importance, here are five of the top-rated killer words. Remove them from your sales and presentations as well as your customer interactions and watch the scene go smoother. 1.  “No Problem” – The customer is thinking, “When was I a problem?” Believe we can thank the ‘islands’ for this one. When we take a cruise and ask for anything, what’s the first thing the waiter says? Right, “No problem.” Well on the cruise it may be okay; however, back home it should be: The GOLD STANDARD of: “You’re welcome,” “My pleasure,” “Happy to help,” and a host of other ways to let the customer know you’re glad to do that. “No problem” appears to be a big problem with your

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“OK” is NOT “OK”

“OK” is NOT “OK”

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training For a few seasons I was hooked on American Idol. Not sure if that was good or bad. But I do know it was a whole lot of fun on a Tuesday night for a while. The three judges, Randy, Paula and Simon, were quite a team. They reminded me of the 3 Little Bears. If you’re not familiar with the program (and there are some who aren’t, including my husband!), please keep reading. I’m thinking what we’re talking about here will make sense to you. On the show, when one of the judges rips 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.” And often times ‘thanked’ the judges. 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

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Telephone Soft Skills for Everyone

Telephone Soft Skills for Everyone

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   “Even with all the new technology, people skills are actually more important now,” Bank of America Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan said in a recent interview. “Whether it’s providing day-to-day services in our bank branches or managing our data analytics, it’s all about people.” More than ever, what were once known as “soft skills” have become core to economic growth, which implies the need for corporate cultures and values that align with productive, resilient, imaginative people who can be proud of the work they do. In other words, it means becoming a good corporate citizen, whose virtues also bolster the bottom line. We agree, and here’s a LinkedIn comment I happened to receive yesterday and seems appropriate to share: “Nancy knows her stuff when it comes to soft skills training and showing everyone in the organization how to handle phone calls professionally. It may not seem to be that important until you attend her conferences, programs or classroom training. Our organization has used her services and hosted training sessions for thousands of retailers – outstanding results. Thanks, Nancy.” (B.D VP. Digial Comm., BrandSource. Thank you

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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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6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service & Communications Expert; and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   FACT: The best weapon for a successful business is customer service. It’s that simple. We will pay more for better service! So whether you’re a small business owner or Hewlett Packard or only looking for ways to improve, read on. We believe in helping businesses get better at communicating with their customers. To get off on the right foot with your customers whether it’s via phone or face-to-face, or any of the other touch points, here are the Telephone Doctor’s Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service. Adapting these easy 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, drop everything for that person. Remember, paper can wait, people should not. We’ve all been abused when we go shopping and been ignored and we know how that feels. Let’s not abuse our own customers. Remember: People before paperwork.   Cardinal Rule # 2 – Rushing Threatens Customers Sure,

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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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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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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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Let’s Not Make Customer Service Harder

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor/Speaker  In a society where poor customer service is rampant, a well-trained company staff can shine if everyone adopts and commits to some simple service approaches. The result can mean not only keeping your customers happy, but also keeping them period! What is the biggest and most costly customer service mistake in business today? My answer is simple – “We’re just not friendly enough.” Customers should be treated as welcome guests when they call your office. Instead, they’re often treated like an interruption or, even worse, an annoyance. More than 90 percent of all customer service starts with a telephone call. That said, customer service mistakes happen anytime and in many ways. Customers can communicate with your company through any one of the six touch points of communication and any one of these touch points can damage a relationship, often permanently. Email Voice Mail Snail Mail Phone Fax Face-to-Face (We left off texting on purpose. Let’s leave that out for now. More on that later.) Two of these communication tools are what is known as “synchronous;” the other four are “asynchronous.” Synchronous is instant communication, when two or more people are able to communicate immediately

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Listen UP!

by Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor Do you know what the number one skill in sales and service is? I gave you a hint in the title. Right – listening skills. Do we really LISTEN? Most of us ‘hear,’ but do we really listen to what people are saying? Are there any methods, tricks, ideas, tips or techniques to make us better listeners? Yes, there are. Listed below are some of the often used skills of better listeners. What do you think the difference is between listening and hearing? Bottom line: Hearing is physical. Listening is mental. What do some folks do that others don’t in order to be a good listener? It’s pretty simple. Take a TV commercial. Most of us normally hear it, but do we always listen to it? Probably not. Especially if it’s about something we’re not particularly interested in for ourselves. Take the Super Bowl. We talk about the commercials before they’re even on TV. How many can you remember now? My guess is you’ll recall those that were of ‘interest’ to you. We probably ‘heard’ them. We may have watched them. But again, how many did we really listen to? Pay attention to? Below

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