Franchise Today Review: Improving Customer Service
November 25, 2014
Customer service expert Nancy Friedman was the guest on the November 19, 2014 edition of the podcast. Nancy aka the Telephone Doctor has been featured on The Oprah Show, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, Good Morning Canada and Great Britain, CNN, and Fox News. She has also published several books and been featured in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and others. This episode was different from the previous ones in the way in that Paul and Nancy touched on several different topics, but didn’t go in depth with many. But that didn’t stop the episode from being very informative as you will read.
The main takeaway – Social media is important, but don’t discount the power of the phone.
A lot of CEOs and executives have not yet grasped onto social media and what it can do for their franchises as a powerful communications tool. To relay the reality of the changing communication landscape between generations, Nancy relayed a story of a friend who was still using a flip-phone (!). The friend expressed to Nancy some disappointment at not hearing from her kids as much as she’d like. Nancy suggested for her to get a smartphone and text them – reach out to them in a communication form that is more natural to them.
While texting isn’t good for business at this point in time, Nancy stresses, being in touch with modern communication methods is important. “Social media is new… [But] the bottom line is you got to get on the learning curve,” Nancy says. However, since social media is so new in comparison to phone communication, franchises can’t discount the phone’s continuing impact. Nancy offered a reality check for people who despise the phone and don’t like when it rings, “When the phone stops ringing, you lose business.”
In addition, attention to detail makes a difference. When polling customers of various companies, Nancy found that the number 1 attribute customers are looking for from companies/franchises is…listening. Listening encompasses much more than just hearing what a person is saying. In fact, writing as you listen can make you a better listener. Don’t skirt on your presentation when on the phone either. Smiling, even while on the phone, is of paramount importance. “A phony smile is better than a real frown,” says Nancy. Listen to the episode for Nancy’s tips on how to make people hear your smile. “It is more than critical,” she says.
As previously mentioned, our host and guest didn’t go into much depth on the topics they spoke about, but gave a lot of food for thought. Among the other highlights:
- The 6 touch points of communication according to Nancy: email, voice mail, snail mail, phone, fax, and face-to-face. Text and other digital media isn’t mainstream enough yet, she says. The exception to not using text in business communications: “unless the customer demands it.”
- New employee orientation customer service programs are few and far between despite being easy to implement.
- Very few franchise executives call into their own franchise to gauge their own company’s customer service.
- Sales people should be asking themselves “What question can I ask [my client] next?” instead of “When can I talk next?” when listening.
- Franchisors should have 8 questions, prepared in advance of a call with a potential franchisee, which will give them pertinent information about the person on the other end of the line.