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By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor 

(Win an iPad!) 

How do you make sure every customer’s visit turns into the Almighty Customer Experience, the kind that creates a great lasting impression? You start things off right! Here are the top 5 ways to set the stage with your customers at your establishment, right from the get-go! And it doesn’t matter what industry…the top 5 are the top 5! Here’s what your customers are looking for in those critical first moments: 

1. A Proper Greeting 

The first words a customer hears really do matter, so make them count! The most common greeting we seem to hear is, “Hi, how are ya?” While it’s not the worst thing you can say, it’s weak and ineffective. Why? Well, because it’s social noise. Let’s face it… most folks don’t care how you are. And it’s usually just returned with, “Fine, how are you?” Again, there’s no substance, and therefore no basis to begin building rapport. Kick start that almighty customer experience with one of these: 

• “Nice to see you!”

• “Glad you’re here!”

• “Nice of you to stop in today!” 

The list goes on. Anything but the dull, overused, “Hi, how are you?” 

2. A Few Good Manners 

Please. Thank you. You’re welcome. Come on…your mother taught you these! But sadly, they’re underused, replaced by casual, sloppy language and just plain bad manners. 

• “No problem” is NOT “You’re welcome”

• “Here ya go” is NOT “Thank you”

• Any instruction you give that doesn’t begin or end with “please” is an order (“Pull forward to the next window.”) 

Please. Thank you. You’re welcome. These are words that every customer needs to hear. Add them into your conversations, phone calls, emails…wherever and whenever you’re working with a customer. Darn it, I shouldn’t have to tell you this! It would be nice to hear a “Thank you for holding,” when you come back after putting a caller on hold, too. 

3. Turn Your Ears On 

Your customers must believe they’re being heard, and that means you need to listen! When a customer has to repeat themselves, they get frustrated. Why? Because they feel you’re not listening. So even if you need pen and paper to jot notes as they talk, be sure you’ve listened and heard what they have to say. Then ask questions. Building rapport begins with good listening skills. Your customers need to be heard. 

4. Show What You Know (Job Knowledge

Customers want to deal with people who know what they’re doing, and that’s why the phrase, “I don’t know” must be banished from your vocabulary. As most of our Telephone Doctor clients know, “I don’t know” is a forbidden phrase. It’s not allowed. At Telephone Doctor, it’s a condition of employment, grounds for termination. That’s right, you will never hear, “I don’t know” from a Telephone Doctor employee. You might hear, “Gee, that’s a great question! Let me find out for you.” Don’t derail yourself with that one forbidden phrase! Show your customers that you’re knowledgeable and competent. 

5. Smile 

Right, smile! You knew that, didn’t you? And smiling means we want to see those pearly whites! (Otherwise, you’re just grinning, and that makes you look goofy.) Here’s the coolest thing about a smile…it’s contagious! Once you start one, your customers catch it. Your co-workers catch it, and maybe even your grumpy ol’ boss catches it! Pretty soon, you have a full-on smile epidemic, and the world is a better place! 

The list of things that go into creating that Almighty Customer Experience goes on, but I promise you, these Top 5 Kick Starters will set you on the right path! 

Now… read on about our ***CONTEST*** on the Customer Experience. You’ll love it! 

50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience

Telephone Doctor Customer Service Experience Contest 

By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor 

They come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. They are the 50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience! 

We all love a good story, and of course, Telephone Doctor loves good customer service. Put the two together and, well, it’s a slice of heaven! Great service stories need to be shared with the world, so we’re holding a contest. Send in your great customer service experience story, and you’ll have a chance to win! 

For some folks it’s one big thing. For others, it might be several little things that worked together to create that wonderful customer experience. We want to hear about it…the service experience that made you feel the WOW, the POW, the X, the Y, and the Z factor! 

We’re not talking about Disney, the Ritz, Nordstrom, or any of the big dogs who’ve already staked their claim to superior customer service. I want to hear from folks who’ve enjoyed a fabulous customer experience from companies or service providers who don’t get much attention, but who just plain understand how to do it right! 

Your stories of real experiences can make the world a better place by helping all service providers see just what it takes to be good to the customer. Small or large, tell us about the experience that makes you want to return to that wonderful place, encounter that helpful person again, or re-live that special moment. 

Stories should be from 250–1,000 words. Telephone Doctor will publish the best 50 stories, so by entering this contest you consent to having your work published. Oh, and my team reserves the right to do a little editing if necessary (they do it to me all the time!), but we promise not to alter the content of your story. If your story is chosen for 50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of the book. But wait! There’s more! The authors of the three best stories will win more prizes: 1st prize = iPad, 2nd prize = $250, 3rd prize = $100. 

Your odds of winning depend on how many of you submit a story. Anyone can send a story, and you can even send more than one, if you’ve been that lucky! The contest is open throughout the whole month of February through March 15, 2014. I can’t wait to read about your experiences, so get busy on that keyboard and send in your story today! 

50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience Contest At-A-Glance: 

Story criteria: Above-and-beyond customer experience stories (the really good ones!) 

Publishing: 50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience will be published. 

Eligibility: Anyone can enter as many stories as they like…no restrictions here! 

Prizes: All published story authors will receive a copy of 50 Shades of the Customer Service Experience. The top three stories will be awarded prizes: 1st prize = iPad, 2nd prize = $250, 3rd prize = $100. 

Contest dates: February 1 through March 15, 2014. 

How to enter: Send your story to Press@TelephoneDoctor.com, and please include your name, address, and best contact phone number (we promise not to call unless it’s really, really important news about the contest!) 

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Nancy Friedman is a frequent speaker at association, corporate and franchise meetings. The author of 8 books on her service expertise, she has appeared on Fox News, CNN, Today Show, and Oprah, as well as many other shows. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today along with many major dailies. President of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, she can be reached at 314-291-1012 or www.nancyfriedman.com.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at nancyf@telephonedoctor.com; through the website at www.nancyfriedman.com, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.