Why the word ‘CHANGE’ is so SCARY – And a suggested CHANGE to that.

Why the word ‘CHANGE’ is so SCARY – And a suggested CHANGE to that.

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training DEFINITION: CHANGE; to make different Why is this word so scary to people? The word change is a scary word to some employees. It’s about as welcome as getting an electric shock. Mainly, I believe, it’s because when we hear the word ‘change’ we aren’t sure of what’s going to happen. * We’ll be making some ‘changes’ around here. * This company is going through some ‘changes.’ * Even ‘change’ management is scary. And when I tell my husband, “I’m changing the furniture in the family room” it creates havoc in our house. “Don’t change anything,” he says. Employees particularly get worried when they hear the word ‘change.’ What if you could make the word better? We can! Simply replace the word ‘change’ with a more positive, rewarding word – IMPROVEMENT! * We’ll be making some improvements in this department. * Our company is going through some improvement. * Dick, I’m going to make some improvements in the family room. Who would deny an improvement? Sound much less scary wouldn’t you say? Try it today. Insert ‘improvement’ when you want to use ‘change’ and see the difference. Thank you.

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Mission Critical: 6 Ways to be a Better Communicator

Mission Critical:  6 Ways to be a Better Communicator

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   FACT: No matter what you call your customers (citizens, members, students, clients, taxpayers, etc. etc. etc.), they are the ones who are providing your organization with its income. The single greatest way a company can distinguish itself from its competition is by the level of service it offers and the higher level of service you offer, the more successful you will be. Communications and listening skills are critical in delivering prime customer service. We’re going to give you a big start, 6 ways you can communicate better. *    Welcome the customer on the phone or in person. A big welcome will set the stage. Be obviously friendly. Be business friendly. Leave out friendly and you are just business as usual. Mediocre. *    Be a good listener. That means give good eye contact as well. Remember, hearing is physical; listening is intellectual. *    Concentrate – then concentrate more. Don’t let your mind wander. Stay with the customer. Give the customer undivided attention. *    Keep an open mind. That means let the customer talk. Don’t try and finish their sentence. Don’t interrupt. *    Give verbal feedback you’re listening. Silence is only golden

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The Big Secret to Millennials

The Big Secret to Millennials

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Millennials? What’s new about it? The biggest secret of all? Nothing. Nada. Zip. In my travels, working with this fun, bright, exciting group, I’ve found they’ve simply never been shown certain things. Of all the things they’re called, one is missed. And that is: EAGER. Yes, I found them eager. Eager to be good. To learn. They asked more questions than other groups I’ve spoken to in a while. I didn’t have any ‘know it all’s’ in the audience. Some folks say the millennials feel they are: Entitled Lazy Unfocused Narcissistic And a few other ‘titles.’ Well, you know what? Those are some of the same ‘titles’ used over the years with nearly every generation. And some folks never lose those titles. As they get older, some folks still feel they are still entitled. Some are still lazy, unfocused and narcissistic. I’m not a fan of name calling. It’s the old “sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never harm me.” I have found most of the millennials I’ve had the opportunity to work with to be fun, bright, eager to learn, and

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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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BACK TO BASICS 2018 STYLE

BACK TO BASICS 2018 STYLE

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

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Word of the Day: WACTEO (WAC-TAY-O)

Word of the Day: WACTEO (WAC-TAY-O)

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service and Communication Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   In these days, folks are busy, stressed out and short of time. It can be easy to forget to thank folks. It shouldn’t be. However, sadly, it is. We can usually remember to thank our customers because “we’re supposed to.” We probably don’t have any trouble thanking our family members. However, there is a group of folks that are often left out of the “thank you” pile. And that would be our co-workers. The folks we spend most of the day with side-by-side. I’m dedicating this column to our inside customers. The folks that are thought of as our ‘home away from home’ family. Sure, we argue and disagree with co-workers just like our family. And that’s OK, because most of us have a family environment in our office. We understand that. It’s our office family. The word WACTEO comes from the sentence: We Are Customers to Each Other. Pronounced: WOC-TAY-O If every office, large and small, followed some of these guidelines, I’m thinking it would be a better place to work. Understand Your Role – Each employee should know the mission of

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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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Can I Be Honest With You? No, Lie to Me.

Can I Be Honest With You?  No, Lie to Me.

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   A week or so ago I posted this short comment and the response was a good amount of agreement that the phrase is not a good one. So we’re delving a bit deeper. What are the ramifications of saying, “can I be honest with you?” to a customer, prospect or anyone for that matter? To name a few: * It’s a ‘trust’ violator. * It’s considered ‘social noise.’ * It reduces your credibility because people expect honesty. We call it a credibility buster. * There’s a hidden message in what you’re saying. And there are plenty of ‘cousins’ to that phrase that are annoying phrases. Do these sound familiar? * Can I tell you the truth? * Let me be perfectly frank. * You want the truth? * I’m gonna level with you. * Can I be candid with you? Do you feel there is an appropriate time when it’s OK to use this phrase? Here are 3 reasons why NOT. * It’s simply not effective. Avoid the phrase. * It’s a totally useless phrase. * This phrase questions your own integrity. Customers, family, and friends

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Secrets You Need to Hear from Customers

Secrets You Need to Hear from Customers

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Over the years; we’ve heard a lot from our clients – YOUR CUSTOMERS. Here are a few you’ll identify with. Take heed. #1 – Customers are Grateful for the Chance to Vent Repeatedly, we’ve had clients thank us for the opportunity to tell us how they were mistreated. They wanted to tell their stories to someone who would listen. They seemed pleased for the opportunity to get even. #2 – The Viral Syndrome – It’s Real Years ago, customers would tell jokes about a company who gave poor customer service. Customers were venting their frustrations about their last bad customer service experience and making jokes out of the experience. Today they just don’t go back. Today they only need go to the internet and vent. Woe to businesses that offend their customers with poor service. These organizations become the butt of today’s new era of jokes! And sadly, it’s carved in stone and remains there forever. #3 – The Memory of an Elephant; Customers Don’t Forget When customers tell me about their experiences, we hear a lot of: “This happened three years ago,” or “Let me tell

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Email Frustrations You May Be Making

Email Frustrations You May Be Making

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training We now know email has surpassed voice mail in communications. Not answering emails is, of course, a big frustration. However, we’ve found a bunch of the public’s frustrations on email that’s easier to fix than finding a way to get them to return emails. One of the frustrations may be the reason why you didn’t get an answer. Are you guilty?????? Messages that are too long – As in voice mail, we know that the more succinct the message, the better it’s received. And now, where we can all get our emails not only on our office computers, but on our phones and our iPads, (and OMG now our watches), it’s critically important for our emails to be short, sweet and to the point. Long messages get zapped just as long voice mails used to. Suggestion: If/when there is a long email to send, mention that right in the subject line. This way the recipient A) knows it in advance and B) can save it for when he has time. And consider an attachment. Poor spelling and bad grammar – Inexcusable! And, the wrong use of words.

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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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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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5 Three Word Phrases to Help Your Day Go Better

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Expert, Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training Interested in making your day better as well as someone else’s? Read on. There are 5 three word phrases that can do that. Probably more, but we like these a lot. By the way, if YOU have some 3 word phrases that will helps others, let us know. * You’re right. (A contraction I know, but still 3 words.) And are they powerful! Especially when you’ve been in a heated discussion and the other person has legitimate information and you didn’t. To agree and let them know “you’re right” is a powerful statement. You’ll gain a friend, keep a friend and often make a new friend. Especially when you were incorrect and then you let the other person know “you were right.” Powerful. * I love you. Next to “dinner is ready,” this phrase isn’t used enough. Letting those close to you, friends, relatives, and others, know you love them, value them and enjoy them will never go to waste. And we all have heard stories of people who sadly ‘missed the boat’ shall we say and didn’t tell the right person “I love you” in

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Do you return all your emails & phone calls?

Do you return all your emails & phone calls?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   A while back, folks used to ask me, “Nancy what do you think of people who don’t return their phone calls?” My answer was simple – “NOT VERY MUCH!” Not return a phone call? How rude can you get? “Well, you don’t understand Nancy, I get a lot of phone calls.” Oh, I understand. I really do. I understand a lot more than you realize. I get a lot of phone calls too. Thankfully. That’s normally a good thing. Yes, getting a lot of phone calls is normally a very good thing. And certainly all of us, ok, most of us, aren’t able to return all our calls immediately, but most of us can have them returned on our behalf. That we can do. Not returning a phone call is as wrong as going from lane to lane on the highway without using your turn signal. Just RUDE. How can you not return a phone call or not have it returned on your behalf? Sorry, just don’t understand that. (Yes, granted, there are a few exceptions.) Looking to get off a call list or not have that person call

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10 Secrets Your Customers Won’t Tell You But We Will

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor; Customer Service & Communication Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   Most business owners know that customers will walk and take their business elsewhere if they’re not treated as they’d like to be. But how does a business owner find out what the customer really likes or dislikes? Surveys are “OK” but in my opinion, not 100% on target. Your customers have told Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training what they won’t tell you. Here are TEN things only your best friend will tell you. (By the way, that would be us).  Dear Telephone Doctor – 1.   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. 2.   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. 3.   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

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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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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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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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