By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor 

Everyone’s busy, stressed out and short of time.  

Are we forgetting some people?  

We usually remember to thank our customers. And we probably don’t have any trouble thanking family. However, there is a group of folks that are often left out of the “thank you” pile. 

And that would be our co-workers.  Known as our INTERNAL customers. The folks we spend most of the day with side-by-side. 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. 

Our word of the day is: WACTEO.  

No need to look it up . . . we made it up. Here are the ground rules for WACTEO: We Are Customers To Each Other: 

1.    Understand Your Role – Each employee should know the mission of their organization and the role they play. Those of us who are in a small department of a large company can often times miss the big picture. If you don’t know the mission of your company, ask for it. Keep it at your desk. It will help you with the big picture. You may start to understand the ‘why’ of the things you’re asked to do sometimes and ‘why’ internal customer service is everyone’s responsibility from president to maintenance. If management isn’t doing their part, often times the entire customer service program will go out the window. We don’t want double standards. Remember it starts at the top!  

2.    Respect Employee Differences – Cub fan? Cardinal fan? Republican? Democrat? Rock music, classical, whatever. Just because we don’t agree with someone doesn’t make us right. Differences are crucial for an organization. Differences are key to understanding people. If everyone thought the same way, most of us wouldn’t be needed. It’s not healthy to argue just because a co-worker isn’t doing it the way you would or thinking the way you do. Learn to respect the differences. That’s why we have chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  

3.    Recognize the Personal Space of Others – Simply put, this boils down to the golden rule. Those who can work with a radio playing music may disturb others around them who aren’t able to concentrate. Loud voices around someone who’s on the phone with an external customer can be annoying also. If you’re working in a cubical or sharing an office or area, we need to recognize there are others around you. Be sensitive to their wishes, as you would hope they would be to yours. 

4.    Work to Resolve Conflicts – Who hasn’t had unkind words with another employee? Or perhaps you and a co-worker strongly disagree on a project or idea. Not trying to make it work can only lead to more stress and frustration. Learn to work it out (notice I didn’t say ‘try’ and work it out), even if you need to call in a professional in the area. Normally someone from HR or another trusted employee can usually be of help on conflict resolutions.  

5.    Show Appreciation – We saved this for last because being appreciated, showing you care with a genuine ‘thank you,’ is critical to WACTEO. It can be a note, a phone call or just stopping by an office and letting someone know they did a great job. This makes a huge difference in our internal relationships. There are surveys upon surveys that show how much a genuine pat on the back of appreciation is thought of as a way of special compensation.

Nancy Friedman, is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and a speaker at association, franchise and corporate meetings. She can be reached in St Louis at 314 291 1012 or email her at

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; through the website at, 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.