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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Will Your Customer Service Pass or Fail? Tips to get an “A.”

Will Your Customer Service Pass or Fail? Tips to get an “A.”

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker and 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. * Start 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 train,

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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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4 Useless Words

4 Useless Words

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Oh, I suppose there are dozens, or even more of them, but our surveys have shown that these four words in starting a conversation have the ability to ‘kill’ the conversation.  HI, HOW ARE YOU? Looks harmless, right? Yet it’s been labeled “social noise.” Especially to those we don’t know at all, haven’t met, and may never see again. USELESS! There are dozens of other ways to open and start a conversation in person or on the phone. A few to give you to start 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 on and on and on. “Hi how are you” can reduce effectiveness, especially on a first-time call or first-time meeting. Plus, you risk surrendering control of the conversation at a critically early stage. You pass someone in the hall, on the street, wherever; it usually goes like this: “Hi, how are you?” “Fine, how are you?” “Fine.” Done. Over. Nothing. Nada.

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International Customer Service Week – October 2 – 6, 2017 – Why not celebrate all year long!

International Customer Service Week – October 2 – 6, 2017 – Why not celebrate all year long!

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Many of us are aware that International Customer Service Week is coming soon. Real soon. And most of us are aware we should be celebrating customer service week all year long, not just one week. At least that’s the mentality of Telephone Doctor. But like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the other holidays, it’s special. We all know the day-to-day treatment of how we treat customers, as well as each other, can make or break a business relationship. That’s a no brainer. It’s often the little things that can permanently damage that relationship most of us try so hard to make. Let’s face it, it’s difficult to remain helpful, nice, smiling and patient plus everything else you’re expected to do when the customer isn’t any of those. Sometimes you just wanna say, “What is wrong with you?” But we’re taught to hold our tongue and be nice, polite and helpful. Not sure who said it, but there’s an old saying, “Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Assuming you like your job and most of the time it

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10 Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You, But Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Will

10 Things Your Customers Won’t Tell You, But Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Will

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Most business owners know that customers will walk, take their business elsewhere, if they’re not treated as they’d like to be; be it a phone call or in person visit. But how does a business owner find out what the customer really likes or dislikes? Surveys are often too late and, as well, often not all that dependable. Here are only a few reasons why you lose customers and they don’t come back. The list is not about one store, but a compilation of many. 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. When they yawned, they didn’t even cover their mouth. It looked as though they didn’t even want me in the place. I bought a lot of stuff. I couldn’t believe no one said, “Thank you.” No one told me to enjoy my purchase. I did get a luke warm, “Have a nice day.” But it was said

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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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KILLER WORDS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE & EVERYTHING ELSE

KILLER WORDS OF CUSTOMER SERVICE & EVERYTHING ELSE

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training This is one of our most popular and request to reprint articles and we felt it was time to share again. As ‘grandma’ use to say, “Anything worth doing well, is worth doing twice.” We call them conversation diverters. Just as ALWAYS and NEVER are. Customer and friends doubt you with those words. Killer words help 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. Here are 5 of the top-rated killer words. Remove them and watch the scene go smoother. There are more, of course. 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 needs to be The GOLD STANDARD: “you’re welcome,” “my pleasure,” “happy to help,” and a

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I’ve Never Seen a Hearse Pulling a U-Haul

I’ve Never Seen a Hearse Pulling a U-Haul

Right! You can’t take it with you. By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   I’m a small business owner. They call folks like us ‘entrepreneurs’ and I’m damned proud to be one. But no matter what they call us, we have a small business that we created, or was handed down to us, or we bought. It’s ours. And we get to do pretty much what we want with our business. There are pitfalls of course, but there are pitfalls in every business. So that doesn’t scare me at all. I’d rather make less money and run my own business than have more business and do what someone wants me to do that I don’t like to do. Does that make sense to you? So, I decided to make this article ‘semi-bulletproof’ if you will, for ‘that day.’ That day when we say, “It’s time.” Be it time to retire, time to slow down, time to sell, or just ‘time.’ Maybe just leave early. Take that trip of a lifetime. While succession planning is critical in all small business, it is also critical to be sure the folks who stand by our

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5 Rules to “Getting” Good Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Everyone talks about giving good customer service and you can imagine we’re all for that at Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training of course. However, with the upcoming holiday season, nerves get frazzled, tempers get short and frustrations get big. Often for no reason or small reasons. There are a few things we can do to GET better service. If you want to that is. Use our C P R mentality. C – – Stay Calm, Cool and Collected – You’ll get more respect. P – – Be Prepared – Have your receipts ready. R – – And Remember, the person you’re dealing with probably isn’t the person who caused the problem for you. Rule Number one Smile. Even if it’s a phony smile.  When someone is trying to help you and you have this negative vibe coming from you or a down turned expression on your face, it will normally generate right back to you. Yes, it is “their” job to smile at you, but if you want to STAY IN CONTROL, you’ll keep your lips turned upwards. Not down turned. It works. Rule Number Two HUMOR works. When you get the

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9 Ways to Gain the Competitive Edge

9 Ways to Gain the Competitive Edge

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Tight economy! Reduced staff! Demanding customers! These days it’s extra challenging to satisfy and keep customers. It’s even more important than ever because customer loyalty is generally considered the primary engine today to retain sales levels and gain an advantage over the competition. It’s been this way for a long time; it’s just getting more attention now. There are hundreds of ways to do better. Want better ROI? Want to improve your customer service? Here are nine we like: * Know your product and services . . . inside and out. Not being knowledgeable about what you’re selling or talking about frustrates customers. An uneducated employee is semi-useless to a customer. Job knowledge is key in any position. If for any reason your company doesn’t offer job knowledge training, make it your own priority to find out as much as you can. Job knowledge is a key ingredient to serving customers. * Believe in your product and services 150%. We know of a salesperson who never had any formal sales training. However, based on the belief in the product, services and contagious enthusiasm, this person

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Be a Double Checker

Be a Double Checker

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Are You a Double Checker? I am. I learned to be after several things happened where if I had double checked, I would’ve come out ahead. True story. It’s short, you’ll like it. “Can I help you?” came the perfunctory statement from what looked like a statue, as I walked into the shoe store. “Yes, I’d like to see those red pumps you have in the window. 9 1/2 medium.” Without missing a beat she says, “We’re out.” As nicely as I could and with a smile, I said, “You haven’t even looked yet.” She said, without a smile, “Well, I sold the last pair yesterday.” “Humor me,” I said, “would you please go back and double-check. I really would like them.” She said, “I would, but I was the one who sold the last pair. I know we don’t have them.” I said, “Do you go to lunch?” She said, “Of course I do.” I said, “Did you go to lunch today?” She said, “Yes.” “So then I ask you again, to please humor me. Go back and double check. Somebody might’ve returned them and put them in

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Five Ways to Sabotage Your Business

Five Ways to Sabotage Your Business

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   There are many ways to sabotage a business. And chances are your staff is doing some of it, without you even knowing it. That’s the bad news. The good news is here are five mainstream ways that can hurt your business. My guess is you’ve heard them yourselves. Through our Telephone Doctor surveys, we bring you 5 issues that can sabotage your business without your even knowing it. If we can at least get some of these five issues handled, you’re in a much better position to serve your customers. Here we go: It’s Not Our Policy This, unfortunately, is used more as an excuse than anything else. It’s a sure thing that the employee has not been shown how to explain a policy to someone. What happens then is it’s used more as something to say when they don’t know what to say. And the customer calls that an ‘excuse.’ When the customer hears “it’s not our policy,” they translate it to, “WHO CARES?” What a business needs to understand is no one but the management and staff really cares about your policies. Do you really think

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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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Selling to Women? Pay Attention Please!

Selling to Women? Pay Attention Please!

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training A few years ago, one of my automotive clients came to me and said, “Nancy, we need a program on Selling to Women. Some of our guys just don’t get it,” he said. I replied, “Even some women don’t know how to sell to women.” This topic became so much more clear to me recently when my husband and I went looking to buy a new car. No names here. No need to embarrass anyone, but it was a great lesson on how NOT to sell to a woman. As a customer service communication expert it was great R & D.  We walked in and asked for the salesman who was recommended to us by a friend. Good start I thought. As he approached and introduced himself I said loud and clear to him, “I’m here to buy a car. Not him,” I said with a smile pointing to my husband, “me!” I was hoping that would give him an edge; OK, a HINT. (Thought wrong.) The salesman immediately started talking baseball and politics with my husband. I snuck off and went to look at the cars in the showroom. He continued

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8 TIPS on How to Handle Holiday Shopping Stress

By Author and Customer Service Expert Nancy Friedman, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service.   Crowds, complaints, confusion. Yes, these are the big three this time of the year and add in one big “S” for stress.  The good news is there are ways around all of them.  Learn how to be a good customer, and learn how to make a good complaint. Mom said it best. “You get more with sugar than you do with vinegar.” She was right. Hold the temper. No swearing. And, yes, smile. Facial expressions mean so much, especially at this time of the year. Often more than words whether you are on the phone or in person. Sympathize with the one helping you. Yes, this helps since they get hit with a lot of B.S., grumps, crazies, goof balls, and all sorts. You be the good one. A bit of sympathy and empathy goes a long way with the person helping you. Ask about return policies in advance or at the time of purchase. Don’t let it be a surprise two months from now. No returns allowed? Might not want to get the item there. Knowing these matters in advance helps a lot. Some places allow exchanges versus returns. Save receipts. Make

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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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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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