By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor
I love to read short blogs sometimes and I love to write them too. Blogs don’t always need to be long. This is one of those short ones. It’s about strangers and customers.
We know we have paid customers.
We know we have internal customers.
We know we have potential future customers.
We even know we have lost customers.
But what about strangers as customers?
What do you mean, Nancy?
I mean, are strangers your customers? Let me explain. We sit next to strangers on an airplane, in movie theaters, buses, trains, restaurants, all sorts of places. We interact with them. Often in depth. Some tell us their life story before we even get a name and sometimes we never do get a name. We often tell strangers our darkest secrets. Therapeutic that it is; strange isn’t it?
We shop next to strangers, we talk to all sorts of strangers. Even though we were warned as a child NEVER TALK TO STRANGERS. Ever!
We say “excuse me” to strangers when we bump into them at the mall. We say “thank you” to a stranger who might help us carry a package or pick up something we dropped or hold a door for us. When a stranger says “thank you” to us, we invariably tell them “you’re welcome.”
There is even a great old movie called Strangers on a Train. Remember it? It is about two strangers who meet up on a train and decide they should kill each other’s spouses. (I’m not saying it’s a good idea; simply revealing the plot.)
Often times at Christmas there are folks running around giving money to strangers; people they don’t know and will probably never see or talk with again. We donate money to strangers all the time. We tip strangers at restaurants. Sure, they do a job for us. But nevertheless they are still strangers.
So I ask you, are you nicer to strangers than you are your customers? Or are you strangers your customers?
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Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a featured keynote speaker and subject matter expert on customer service, engagement opportunities and communications skills at franchise, association and corporate meetings.
Nancy 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 Wall Street Journal with her column, “Don’t Strike Out with Your Customers.”
The author of eight books on sales, communications skills and customer service, Nancy is a subject matter expert on these topics. She is the spokesperson in the popular Telephone Doctor customer service training programs.