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 phone calls from customers. However, when I spotted him, he was behind the counter visiting with other staff.

I’m not naming the store because I don’t like to do that. No need to point fingers. It could have happened anywhere. I was just so very surprised it happened ‘there.’

What could he have said? Or rather, what should he have said?

I KNOW the answer because that’s my business but I’m looking forward to hearing what you think he should/could have said. Let’s hear from you.

I’ll follow up with the best answers shortly.


Nancy Friedman , president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a featured keynote speaker and subject matter expert on customer service and communications skills at franchise, association and corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and hundreds of other radio and TV shows. She has been published in the Wall Street Journal with her column, “Don’t Strike Out with Your Customers.” Nancy is the author of eight books on sales, communications skills and customer service. She is the spokesperson in the popular Telephone Doctor customer service training programs.

For a demo and full keynote speaking packet of Nancy call 314.291.1012 or visit


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.