I’m The Busboy, But I Will Get It For You

I’m The Busboy, But I Will Get It For You

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Customer Service Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   It was in a Las Vegas NON-STRIP hotel restaurant. My husband Dick and I were seated quickly enough, but the wait for silverware, water, menu and a waiter seemed forever. Dick has a lot of patience (he’s never used any). Thankfully, this time he held it in for a while. After a few minutes of no service, no water, no menu, no waiter, he waved the closest person to him and said, “We’ve been here a while and we have no water, no menu, no silverware and no waiter.” Without missing a beat and with giving us a big smile, the busboy who he had waved over said with a lovely Hispanic accent, “I’m the busboy, but I will get it all for you.” And within 45 seconds we had everything. Water, menu, silverware and soon, a waiter. There was no: * I’m not a waiter. * It’s not my job. * I’ll get your waiter. * Someone will be with you soon. * I’ll check for you. No excuses. He stepped up to the plate, handled and saved the situation. “I’ll get it for you.” He

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What’s New in Customer Service?

What’s New in Customer Service?

By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training I was just asked that question in an interview the other day. And if I asked for suggestions from you, dear readers, I’m betting some of you could come up with a few good points. I say that because I did ask a few folks in the customer service arena. The bottom line is, or was, most everyone I asked came up with logistics. Barely anything to do with actual customer care. Wonder why that is? My guess is it seems very little new in handling customers has come along over the years. There are new people doing it, but if you’re true to yourself and your company, it’s really fairly easy and simple and not much had changed in being kind, nice and caring. One of the first questions I’m asked when I’m being interviewed on a radio or TV show is: “Nancy, what is the biggest problem in customer service today?” Or even, “What bugs people the most?” Or a variation of those. We’ve been doing this a long time and as many of you know, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training has stayed true to

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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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It’s Never Too Late to Send a Thank you Note

It’s Never Too Late to Send a Thank you Note

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service   The email below, was received recently. (Thursday, June 16, 2016 – MANY years after the incident.) It was still very appreciated, made me feel super and made our day. Enough so I wanted to show you how much it meant. If you can, drop someone a note today and thank them for a gift, a program, a thought, a kind word that helped you. It’s never too late! Here’s mine: Hello Nancy, Many years ago I worked in the travel industry for a company GEM Travel Consortium. The company has merged with several consortiums and became Vacation.com. My first or second Travel Conference with GEM you were a speaker at one of our workshops. Our membership service team ran the registration and assisted with the conference. We all went to your workshop. I will never forget it. On every seat was a mirror in a blue case that said “SHOWTIME” on it. Your session was very interesting and to this very day, I still have your mirror on my desk. I now work in the confectionary business for a large fudge company. I work with many tourist based retailers and

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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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Listen UP!

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

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Scripts vs. Conversations

By Nancy Friedman, President / Keynote Customer Service Speaker / Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   For years I have been working with companies to upgrade, tweak and help with scripts their sales and/or customer service reps. Fast forward. Now we’re trying to get our clients who ask for help with a script to consider going to conversations with aided recall. There is danger and pitfalls to both scripts and conversations though. Let me explain. Scripts were designed for actors. 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 suppose 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 and someone poorly reading their script. Yawn, yawn or worse. And in the professional scripts there are words for everyone (all actors) to respond. In your business script there’s normally only words for what the rep is saying. There are no words for the customer – the responder (the other actor). Oh there may be some things like “if the customer says

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Why “Hi, how are you?” is Semi-Useless

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor My mother lived with me in her last years. We enjoyed her sense of humor. Here’s part of what made me realize how useless the phrase, “Hi, how are you?” really is. The house phone rang. Esther answered. The man says, “Hi, Mrs. Friedman, this is Dan from XXX. How are you?” My mother says – without missing a beat, “I’m so glad you called. I have a bad case of diarrhea, a terrible migraine, been vomiting all day, my pacemaker is running slower than normal, and I have a bad rash. How are you?” He said, “Well, compared to you, a hell of a lot better” and hung up. Point being, “Hi, how are you” is semi-useless especially to those we don’t even know. I’ve seen folks pass in the halls, in a mall, in an office, everywhere. One says, “Hi, how are you?” The other says, “Fine, how are you?” No one stops; they’re still walking and nothing was accomplished. I’ve removed “Hi, how are you” from my vocabulary. It’s been replaced with any one of these phrases and I share them with you: Good to see you. Hi, you’re looking well.

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Five Phrases to Sabotage Your Business

By Nancy Friedman, President Telephone Doctor, Customer Service Expert & Engagement Specialist   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 Phrases to Sabotage Your Business today: 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, there normally is a certain blank stare accompanying this statement.

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eCommerce Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Unless you live under a rock, you know we are well into the era of the internet, online and social media. The demands of customers for superior service have intensified. No argument there. Remember: It’s all about the “experience.” To understand the impact, look at customer communication in two categories: synchronous and asynchronous. Synchronous – meaning that both people communicating need to be on the same device at the same time such as phone, face-to-face, chat, and the like. You ask and you get results immediately. No waiting. Asynchronous, of course, is one-way communication such as fax, voice mail, email and good old snail mail. (Remember that?) When we think of regular customer service, we generally think of face-to-face and telephone interactions. But today suffice to say, there are way more ways to communicate with our customers and the online is a powerful part of that communication. More and more organizations are exploring new opportunities in electronic eCommerce. They sense that they can reach segments of their audiences more quickly and effectively online. With this in mind, there is a greater need than ever before

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11+ Theatre Skills for Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert and President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service   What type of theatre experience have you ever had? Why do I ask you that question? Because if you have ever been on stage in a play, part of a band, chorus, dance group, stage manager, grip, sound, prompter, make up, lighting, director, or any form of theatre where the audience and other co-workers are depending on you, then you probably already know the answer to why I ask. And you probably have a great background for customer service! I have a professional theatre background and it has helped my career thrive immensely in the customer service arena. Now, it doesn’t mean if you don’t have a theatre background you won’t be good in customer service, it just means you’ll understand the mentality of customer service faster, and perhaps better. Theatre 101, as I call it, is a perfect pre-curser to being in customer service. It prepares you in the best way for all these topics and many more. I fibbed, there are more than 11 skills. That’s a good thing though. Here they are. * Interacting with others * Being on time *

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I’m in Customer Service, I Can’t Help You

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Customer Service Expert, Engagement Specialist, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service   So close yet so far away. A true but short story. The good Lord as my witness, these words were said to me the other day at a high end retail store in St. Louis, MO. Yes, those exact words. “Sorry, I’m in customer service, I can’t help you.” I stared blankly at the young man who said that thinking to myself, “He didn’t really say that did he?” But yes, he did. I had asked for some help to look at some jewelry. The first woman I asked said, “I’m so sorry, I’m with another customer.” Ok, fair, not great, but fair. Then I turned to the young man standing behind the counter and said I’d like to see “that” necklace, pointing to the one I wanted. And with a big smile (cuz he was taught that in customer service class) he said, “I’m sorry, I’m in customer service, I can’t help you.” All I thought after my shock was, wow…what a good blog this will make! I realized after he said it that he was in “their” customer service department, upstairs, probably taking

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How NOT to Answer a Phone Call

By Nancy Friedman, Speaker, Customer Service Expert & Engagement Specialist. Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training A recent email we received below gave us some good ammunition for this blog. While the industry, as you can see, is in the legal profession, believe me, it can happen in every industry. Read on: It’s from an attorney (no jokes, please). “Around 1:00 p.m. today I returned opposing counsel’s telephone call from this morning. The first person that answered the phone took my name and asked me to hold while she checked to see if she was back from lunch. After a short hold she came back on the line and transferred my call. At that point opposing counsel’s assistant answered the phone. She took my name for the second time and put me back on hold. After holding a couple of minutes, opposing counsel’s assistant came back on the line and asked if I could call back in twenty minutes! I am sure that her assistant is telling opposing counsel that I am a jerk because I answered, “No, I am calling her back now.” It’s a well-known fact that the first voice you hear and what they say when you call

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Do We Need to Agree With Customers?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote speaker, Customer Service expert, Engagement Specialist, President Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training   As most of you are aware, all the stories we share with you at our onsite programs and in our newsletters, blogs, etc., are ‘true.’ Nothing is made up. They either happened to me personally, I witnessed them, or I verified the information if I am going to share it. Credibility is key to Telephone Doctor. We don’t make anything up. That being said, I want to share a story that happened to me the other weekend. It’s a clear example of WHY we don’t need to agree with the customer all the time. I went into my bank prepared to make some minor changes to a few accounts. It was a Saturday and the only other folks in the bank were the teller and the one lady (who never gave me her name and had no badge) who tried to help me. I say ‘tried’ because it was a comedy of errors. Now, please know, just because I’m the Telephone Doctor I do not make a big deal out of poor service. I don’t try and teach the person what to do

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Are You Really Engaged?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert & Engagement Specialist.   A short, but ongoing course. Are you really engaged? Do you and your staff really know how to engage and interact with the customers? Do they even know what it means.   Seems as though every year there’s a “new” word in Customer Service. And this year it’s been “engagement.” Engage the customer. What’s it mean? Or better yet: What does it not mean? The answer to what it’s NOT, is – – it’s NOT the customer service experience. Don’t confuse the two. They are quite different. It is: Just as you might imagine….when you might have popped “the question,” (or said “yes” if you were the one being asked), you normally went into what is called an ‘engagement’ period. That’s the time before the marriage. Time to better know and understand someone you’re supposed to spend a lifetime with. Sometimes it’s short and sometimes it’s a longer period of time. But usually there’s an ‘engagement’ period. And so it is with our customers. Before they can “BUY,” before they can become our customer (before we ‘marry’ them), we need to get ‘engaged.’ Make sense? Or starting to?

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7 Characteristics of the Best of the Best

Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Telephone Doctor  Pick up any ad and there’s probably a line or two of type on how well you’ll be treated when you shop there. Usually the advertisement reads, “We’re the best” or “Service is our middle name” or something like that. The TV, radio and the internet are loaded with commercials for being very customer service minded. Why then, do we hear so many horror stories about how people were treated? Telephone Doctor recently surveyed several companies to seek out the traits, the characteristics, of those that have the service mentality. Clearly not everyone does. The good news is you can learn the skills of the “best.” No one has a monopoly on a great service mentality.  Telephone Doctor culled together the seven traits that were among the highest in the survey. Here are the results.  #1   Empathy This trait won hands down as the most important characteristic when serving customers. In so many cases you get APATHY, the exact opposite of EMPATHY. Simply put, empathy is putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel if what happened to them, happened to you? True story: On a recent trip, my wallet

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5 Killer Words to Drive Your Customers Away

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor  There are really more, we know that. But what we have found after a survey from our clients is these five killer words always seem to rise to the top. They are conversation diverters. Just as ALWAYS and NEVER are conversation diverters, these five killer words will 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. Remove these 5 Killer Words from your sales 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

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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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6 Cardinal Rules of Customer Service

By Nancy Friedman Telephone Doctor  There are a lot of ‘rules’ in customer service, but few more important than the six we’ve listed here. Each makes a valid statement and will increase the satisfaction of your clients.  Cardinal Rule #1 – Personal Responsibility/Accountability: Don’t Pass the Buck  In a recent survey, we found that “responsibility/accountability” is the number one characteristic employers want from their employees.  Oh, there are lots of characteristics they’d like; however, the one that rose to the top consistently was responsibility/accountability.  One of the most important attributes a team player can have is personal responsibility – personal accountability. Those that have it refuse to accuse, blame and complain.  Those that do accuse, blame and complain break one of the most important cardinal rules. “Who” statements accuse and blame. “Who took my stapler?” A more positive manner might be: “I seem to have misplaced my stapler; has anyone seen it?”  Remember to take full responsibility with the customer. The customer doesn’t like to hear accusing, blaming and complaining statements. They know when you’re passing the buck!  Cardinal Rule #2 – People Before Paperwork  When someone walks into your place of business or calls you while you’re working on

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9 Ways to Gain the Competitive Edge

PDF Version By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor 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. We just need to do things better. There are hundreds of ways to do better. Here are 9 we like: 1. Know your product and services . . . inside and out. Not being knowledgeable 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. 2. Believe in your product and services 150%. We know of a salesperson who has never had any formal sales training. However, based on the belief in the product, services and contagious enthusiasm, this person is a top seller. People LOVE to buy from people who get excited about their

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