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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What’s Your Customer Service Grade Point Average?

What’s Your Customer Service Grade Point Average?

By Nancy Friedman, Founder & President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, Customer Service Speaker   How would you rate your businesses customer service? On an A to F scale? Do you train your employees or do you just wing-it when it comes to customer service? If employees fail at customer service and are not helpful and knowledgeable, OR are unpleasant, your business not only could lose customers and lose future sales, but you also risk the chance of getting virally slammed on social media. So, what can business owners and managers do to encourage excellent customer service? Here are five tips that will help up your game and provide customer service that will generate sales and repeat customers: *    Start some sort of training now! If you have even a small dose of customer service training in place, review it with your employees, often. And if you don’t have a customer service plan, consider bringing in training for your staff. No time to train? Reminders are helpful – “Thank you for your business,” “Thank you for calling” goes a long way, costs nothing, and leaves a positive lasting impression. *    Meet with your staff at the end of each day. Discuss what went wrong

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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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The Art of Giving Directions

The Art of Giving Directions

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

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Sometimes Even Your Best Friends Won’t Tell You. . .

Sometimes Even Your Best Friends Won’t Tell You. . .

By Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Keynote Customer Service Speaker Customers will walk and take their business elsewhere if they’re not treated properly on the phone or in person. But how does a business owner find out what the customer really likes or dislikes? Over the years, your customers have told Telephone Doctor what they won’t tell you. Here are TEN things they told us that bothers them. We wanted to share with you. All can be avoided. These are NOT all from one customer or one location. Many and varied, over time. Nobody greeted me when I walked into your store. No one said, “Hello,” no one asked if they could help me, and no one said goodbye when I walked out. Well, at least I wasn’t any trouble. Your sales staff looked tired. Yea, they did. Otherwise why wouldn’t they greet me with a big smile and some enthusiasm? It didn’t look like they even wanted me in the place. I bought a lot. I couldn’t believe no one said, “Thank you.” No one told me to “enjoy my purchase.” I did get a perfunctory, lukewarm, “Have a nice day.” Although it was said to

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There is a Definite Difference Between Hearing and Listening

There is a Definite Difference Between Hearing and Listening

By Nancy Friedman, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Nancy is a keynote speaker on sales, communications and customer service Listening is not the same as hearing. Think about a commercial for a product you have no interest in; it’s easy to tune that information out, isn’t it? You may ‘hear’ it as noise in the background, but you’re probably not listening. Hearing is one thing, and listening and mentally absorbing the thoughts is another thing. That’s why we say listening is an art – not a science. While it’s easy to ‘hear’ what the customer says, great customer service begins with great listening skills. Here are easy 6 steps to help you become a better listener. And if you think you’re already a pretty good listener, pass this along to someone who could also benefit from improved listening skills. TIP #1 – DECIDE TO BE A BETTER LISTENER In school, you’re taught to read, write, do math, and dozens of other topics. I don’t know about you, but in all my schooling, I don’t ever recall having a course on listening. And yet, as we all know, listening is an important, some would say even a crucial skill.

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OK? Well, no, okay is NOT okay. Don’t approve a negative.

OK? Well, no, okay is NOT okay. Don’t approve a negative.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training St Louis MO., For a few seasons I was hooked on American Idol. If you’re not familiar with the program (and there are some who aren’t, including my husband!), please keep reading. I believe what we’re talking about here will make sense to you. On the show, when one of the judges ripped into the contestant with negative remarks on how poorly they’ve done and tells them they can’t even imagine how they got this far in the contest and beats them up pretty bad, the contestant usually just said, “OK.” OK? It’s OK I stink? They are approving a negative. What’s wrong with that picture? You and I know they are crying on the inside – mortified and hurt. If your boss told you that you weren’t going to be paid this week, would you say, “OK?” I doubt it! You’d most probably ask, “WHY?” or “What happened?” And, you’d be justified in asking. I’m amazed at the number of people who approve a negative. They say “OK” so quickly without any thought. In customer service when a customer is complaining or wants to cancel an

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Avoiding Excuses

Avoiding Excuses

By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor, Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training What’s the best excuse for not giving great customer service you’ve heard? Love to hear them and my bet is you’ve heard a lot of excuses. Excuses are semi-useless. It’s one of the first things we tell our kids when they try and get out of something – “Don’t give me any of your excuses!” No one likes excuses. Especially your customers. The number one trait employers want in an employee is RESPONSIBILITY; stepping up to the plate. When you do that, the issues, concerns etc., can usually be fixed. It’s the excuses that get in the way.  Don’t be an ‘excuse monger.’

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How to Handle the Irate Customer

How to Handle the Irate Customer

By: Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Anyone working in the people business (and that’s pretty much everyone) will tell you that occasional upset, angry, irate customers simply come with the territory. It’s a busy time of year so keeping this short. We’re sharing our ASAP techniques in our effective Telephone Doctor four point plan for calming irate customers and maximizing your chances of retaining their business. A short video for your viewing pleasure. Thanks. Feel free to learn and share. Nancy

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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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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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How to be an Island of Excellence in an Ocean of Mediocrity

How to be an Island of Excellence in an Ocean of Mediocrity

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training 8 out of 10 people will never do business with you again and won’t tell you. You’ll never know why. They just go away. 8 out of 10 people will tell 11 others how bad you are and only 1 out of 10 will tell others how good you are. Sad! No one aspires to be mediocre, so we need to learn how to soar above it. We need to keep our customers coming back and singing our praises. How do you create a customer service experience that will put you on the customer service map? What so many folks tend to forget is it’s the first 15 seconds that count; be it a phone call or an in person visit. That’s all the time you get to make that first great impression. So, in a few words, “Ya gotta be quick.” I’m going on vacation, but I wouldn’t leave you hanging without leaving some tips on how to raise the bar. If you know me, you’re probably familiar with these tips. And even if you don’t know me, you may be familiar with them. Point being do you

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Is Your Business Being Sabotaged By Your Own Staff?

Is Your Business Being Sabotaged By Your Own Staff?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Could be, if your staff is using any of these phrases. 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 to 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: 1. I Have No Idea This is normally used as an excuse 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?” Interestingly enough,

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Top 15 Customer Service No No’s

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Throughout the years, Telephone Doctor has gathered all sorts of information using surveys and finding what things frustrate customers. From this information, we’ve been able to bring you the vignettes in our training programs both online at www.serviceskills.com and onsite, www.nancyfriedman.com, with reality that matters. That’s what makes Telephone Doctor programs so ‘real.’ It’s because they are. The segments produced aren’t ‘made up’ – they’re from YOU. Things, events and situations that have happened to you, me or we have witnessed. No pretend; nothing ‘made up.’ I’ve had things happen in a service situation that I know if we produced people would think, “Oh no, nothing as bad as that could ever happen.” But we know it does, right? And, I’m pretty sure some of the scenarios have happened to YOU as well. In no order of importance, here are the TOP 15 NO NO’s in customer service. Yes, there are more. Way too many for this post. 1.    Employees are having a bad day and their foul mood carries over in conversations with customers. (Everyone has bad days, but customer service employees need to keep theirs to themselves.)

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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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How You Can Fight ONLINE Sales

How You Can Fight ONLINE Sales

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Seems so many businesses are feeling the technology disruption. The “Amazon Effect,” the popularity and ease of online shopping, and the related changes in consumer behavior and preferences is forcing businesses of all types, large and small, to take a new look at customer service. More business is lost due to poor service and poor treatment than poor product. Companies spend thousands of marketing dollars trying to convince us to buy their products and services, but if that contact is not handled just right at the point of sale, all that money is wasted. Poor customer service and dissatisfaction not only impact sales and return business, but can damage a brand and lead to shaming on social media. Businesses who are concerned about online sales should now invest in customer service training programs. They are so busy trying to survive that they overlook the importance of customer service as a way to counter the online threat. In all businesses, from retail store salespersons, to a greeter at a restaurant, to representatives at a call center, to manufacturing and more…business owners and managers need to train their employees on

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