The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Telephone Skills for EVERYONE

The Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Telephone Skills  for EVERYONE

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Telephone Doctor works with all kinds of people. For whatever reason, there’s a group of these folks who feel they’re in that old ivory tower and exempt themselves from telephone skills training. There is one thing, however, they have all agreed on – that there are always a few good tips from the Telephone Doctor. Here are a few good DO’s and DON’Ts and a LINK to our new book below. 1. DO acknowledge all your phone calls. Somehow. If you’re unable to return a phone call yourself, have it returned on your behalf. Not returning a phone call is like not using your turn signal – rude and sometimes dangerous. (Not returning calls label you as rude.) 2. DO place your own phone calls. Or if you absolutely need to have someone else place a call for you, at least be ready when the person you called is on the line. It’s legendary bad taste to get a call from someone’s assistant and then be put on hold to await Mr./Ms. Self-Important. 3. DO give bad news yourself. Not able to deliver on time? Canceling a

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Ten Do’s and Don’ts Of Effective Telephone Skills & More Where These Came From

Ten Do’s and Don’ts Of Effective Telephone Skills & More Where These Came From

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training; Phone Skills Expert   I work with all kinds of companies, executives and staff. For whatever reason, there’s usually a group of folks who feel they’re exempt from telephone skills training. And yet, one thing they all have agreed on is there’s always room for refreshers and good solid tips. So, without any further ado, here are some good, solid tips for everyone on effective telephone skills. 1. DO acknowledge all your phone calls. If you’re unable to return a phone call yourself, have it returned on your behalf. Not returning a phone call is like not using your turn signal – rude and sometimes dangerous. (Not returning calls also labels you as rude.) 2. DO place your own phone calls. Or if you absolutely need to have someone else place a call for you, at least be ready when the person you called gets on the line. It’s legendary bad taste to get a call from someone’s assistant and then be put on hold to await Mr./Ms. Self-Important. 3. DO handle delivering bad news yourself. Not able to deliver a product on time? Canceling an agreement?

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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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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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Why Caller ID Can Be Awkward

Why Caller ID Can Be Awkward

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Be VERY CAREFUL using CALLER ID. Below is a one-minute video blog on why it’s best to answer all phones – office, home and cell (and whatever other phone you might have), simply with either “Hello” or “Hi, this is….” (I use Nancy. Please use your own name.) There are many horror stories of what has happened when you ‘think’ it’s the name showing up and it turns out WHOOPS, it’s not that person. Here’s a 1-minute VIDEO BLOG on why caller ID may be good, but you need to consider the consequences when it’s NOT who you see/think it is. Enjoy and please share to help others. http://www.nancyfriedman.com/2016/12/20/caller-id-can-dangerous/

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Why Tone of Voice is Important

Why Tone of Voice is Important

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   When I do webinars, I like to get questions ahead of time if I can. Requesting questions ahead of time from the attendees is a lot of fun and we’re also answering what’s on their minds. Recently, we received the question below: It was timely and relevant, and I wanted to share it so you all can have the information as well – and share it. Hi Nancy: My question revolves around how my voice sounds on the telephone. I have recorded messages over and over and I can’t get that happy sound to come across as being natural and genuine. I do want my customers to know that the voice they are hearing belongs to me. So, my question is, what can I do to improve my voice quality? Thank you and I look forward to learning at your webinar. TONE OF VOICE has come up several times recently. Which says to me there are other folks talking and thinking about this as well. One of the biggest complaints I hear is, “She/he didn’t sound happy, friendly, or eager to help.” The short and

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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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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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Have You Ever Called You? Go on, ask for yourself. Do it now. See what happens.

Have You Ever Called You? Go on, ask for yourself. Do it now. See what happens.

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote/Workshop Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   You’ll be amazed at the answers. And what your team knows or doesn’t know. It’s one of the best ways to see how your customers are being treated. I do it a lot. Read what happens when I do. And watch our 1:50 video blog on how important it is. CALL YOUR OFFICE & ASK FOR YOU, A SERVICE or A PRODUCT  

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Should You Use a Script or Have a Conversation?

Should You Use a Script or Have a Conversation?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Scripts were designed for actors. END OF SUBJECT! Actors know how to read a script. Most folks don’t. It’s that simple. When you give a person a script they tend to ‘read’ it. Well what’s wrong with that, Nancy? Aren’t you supposed to read a script? Yes, but it’s the old HOW you read it that counts. We have all been accosted by a phone call, inbound or outbound, with someone poorly reading their script. Yawn, yawn; barf, barf or worse. With a professional script, there are written words for the other person to respond. In your business script, there’s normally only words for what your employee is saying. There are no words for the customer, the responder (the other actor/or the customer). Oh, there may be some things like ‘if the customer says this; you say that. If the customer says that; you say this.’ (Sort of like “eat this; not that.”) So, what happens if the customer says something that makes the rep go off course in your script? Do we say, “Excuse me, sir, that’s not in my script?” Here’s a big time

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“Hi Bob!” Oh my! Maybe it’s NOT BOB???

“Hi Bob!” Oh my! Maybe it’s NOT BOB???

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Why you need to be VERY CAREFUL using CALLER ID. A short video story on why it’s best to answer all phones – office, home and cell (and whatever other phone you might have), simply with, “Hi, this is….” (I use Nancy. . .you use your own name.) There are too many horror stories of what has happened when you ‘think’ it’s one person and it turns out WHOOPS, it’s not that person. Here’s a 1-minute VIDEO BLOG on why caller ID may be good, but you need to consider the consequences when it’s NOT who you see it is. Enjoy and please share. http://www.nancyfriedman.com/2016/12/20/caller-id-can-dangerous/  

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Are You a Phubber?

Are You a Phubber?

JULY IS NATIONAL CELL PHONE COURTESY MONTH. WHY NOT ALL YEAR LONG? WE SURE NEED IT. July is also the 10th anniversary of the iPhone. What a phenomenon! And yet we still know folks who are enjoying the solid, old flip phone. Go figure. Well whichever phone you use, there are manners involved. Most of us know them. But like everything else, refreshers and reminders never hurt. Is there anyone left who hasn’t witnessed two people having dinner and both deeply involved in their cell phone? As our picture headline suggests, ‘Phubbing’ is the act of snubbing people you are with and choosing the phone over them. And listen to this. When was the last time you checked your own cell phone voice mail? Are you married to the boring, non-effective message that came with the phone? Do you have any of the 5 Frustrating Voice Mail Phrases on your phone? Easy to fix that. Make it fun. Smile and create a simple, interesting message. There are many frustrations about cell phone manners; I hear ’em all. This list is only a few. Shoot us your frustrations if they’re not on this list. Airports: If you’re sitting next to strangers,

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How To Avoid Emotional Leakage – Getting Mad at Peter and Taking it Out on Paul

How To Avoid Emotional Leakage – Getting Mad at Peter and Taking it Out on Paul

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training We’ve all seen it happen. A coworker 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 can’t 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 negative emotion out on someone who wasn’t involved? How RUDE can you get? If emotionally leaking on coworkers certainly isn’t fair,

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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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I’ve Been Holding “FOREVER”

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service How many times have you called a company and asked, “Please put me on hold.” Right! My bet is ZERO. And how many times have you been told “Hang on a second.” Right. My bet is a lot. For many years being put on hold remained the #1 frustration of the American public. Then a few years ago, dear old “automated attendant” crossed the finish line to become the #1 frustration. Note to self: Both are an irritant to the public. The other day I had an email from a client who asked: “Hi Nancy, I wanted to share a frustration with you. I’m hoping you can educate those you communicate with. When someone has to hold for an extended length of time for you, don’t say, “Yes, we are extremely busy.” Apologize please! Telephone Skills are still so very important. So here’s a few tips to make life a bit easier on both sides in all Communication skills, on the phone or in person. When you put someone on hold: * Let them know you’ll get the information they need. * Ask them if they’re able to hold. * Let

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Does Your Voice Mail or Cell Phone Message Say This? If so, you’re busted!

By: Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service   Merry Christmas? Happy Holidays? Or I’ll be out till June 3?  Hey, Nancy, what’s going on? Well, what’s going on is outdated voice mail messages! In the past few weeks I’ve BUSTED a few of my clients and friends, as well as folks I don’t know, with outdated greetings. It’s done more often that you know. Come on folks, that’s a NO NO. If you’re going to ‘customize’ your voice mail message, that’s great; however, it’s your JOB to double check it at the ‘bewitching’ hour so to speak. Example: If you’re going on vacation and your voice mail says: “Hi, I’m on vacation through June 15. Call Susie at 555-1212 for assistance.” Then make a note on your CALENDAR to DOUBLE CHECK the message on JUNE 16. Make sense? Sure, it’s just common sense. But then we all know, common sense isn’t so common. And, frankly, best you do it yourself rather than giving the job to someone else to do. (One client told me, “Darn it, I told my secretary to change it.” Well guess what? The secretary didn’t do it. There is no good

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How Your Business Phone is Answered is CRITICAL

How Your Business Phone is Answered is CRITICAL

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Enthusiasm – Defined as “intense and eager enjoyment, interest or approval.” So bottom line is if your phones aren’t answered with Enthusiasm, “Houston, we have a problem!” One the most often asked questions I get in my conferences across the country 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. Or the first. However I do stand behind the fact we are the most effective. Our telephone techniques, tips, skills and ideas are used worldwide with much success. 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: A Buffer The company or department name Your name Then stop! Anything after your name erases your name. The initial greeting needs to end with your name. Why? Because if you speak after your name, the caller will forget it. (Some

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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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