By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Author, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service

This is not MY list. These “sins” are from my audiences who share their views when I speak at conferences across the country. We survey the groups to find out what bothers them from companies.

And man, how they love to vent. And they love to let me know what bugs them, what frustrates them, how they want to be treated as a customer. Usually a freewheeling discussion and one that gets my attention a lot. It should get yours.

So listen up. Your customers are talking to you. And customer service training can help you.

Drum roll please…in no particular order. By the way, these go for on the phone or in person. As a matter of fact, all 6 touch points of communication.


Sin #1: Not smiling

Man is that important. Our Telephone Doctor motto: “A phony smile is better than a real frown” would have helped the gal who was trying to help me Saturday. What a poopy face she had on her. I refused to let it get me down or let her infect me at all. I smiled all the way through our conversation. I’m pretty sure it aggravated her. As my husband says, “just be glad her head isn’t on your body.”


Sin #2: Coworkers talking to each other and ignoring the customer

That’s an OMG! Stop talking to ‘each other’ when a customer walks into the store. Immediately. Talk with them! Wave to them. Smile at them. If you’re talking with another customer, they’ll see how nice you acknowledge all the others.


Sin #3: Not caring

Your customer can tell, immediately, if you ‘care’ or not. The immediate interaction retailers make with the customer needs to be a ‘caring’ one. Your facial expressions, your tone of voice, your listening skills. They can tell if you judge them as an annoyance or not. It’s usually written all over your face. It’s the old saying “the customer doesn’t care how much you know, until they know you care.”


Sin #4: A poor attitude

There are dozens, ok hundreds, of articles on how important ATTITUDES are in connecting with customers. Almost everyone in customer service has written one. But it’s not something you can easily, if at all, teach. The difference between attitude and moods?

Attitudes are permanent. Moods are temporary. Find staff with the permanent attitudes and you’ll have less bad moods, because those of us with a great attitude don’t like to wallow in the bad mood department. It’s not rocket science. It’s not brain surgery. It’s plain old common sense.


Sin #5: Rushing the customer

Everyone is busy. Ballgames to go to. Appointments to make. Things to do. Yada, yada.

The answer to that? Thank goodness we’re busy. We should be thanking our lucky stars we’re busy. But being busy does not give you carte blanche to rush folks. An easy, fresh smile to the person who’s waiting will go a lonnnnnnnng way! Count on that.


Sin #6: Not listening

Listening skills, my friends, is the number one skill or trait our customers want from us. Time after time that trumps the list of ‘what do I want.” Listen to us talk, to our questions. Listen to our requests. Our LISTENUP article, goes a long way. Take a peek.


Sin #7: Don’t point! Take them.

There are a handful of stores who when you ask them where something is will hand deliver you to the spot. There needs to be more stores like that. Nuf said.


Sin #8: Pushing customers off to the WEBSITE because you’re busy or you don’t want to help

Customers are pretty smart. If they want your website, they normally can find it all by themselves. Pushing them to the website because you’re too busy or don’t feel like helping is a major sin. It’s like asking them to leave your house.

Be more responsive. Interact with the customer. Don’t push them to the WEBSITE at the first chance. Chances are they’ll find a competitor’s site first and never see yours. Bingo! You lost a sale. If you ‘have’ to get them to your site, you might consider going with them and helping them along.


It was a long list. I shortened it and I’ll share more later. This is a lot to think about for now.


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Nancy Friedman is a featured keynote customer service speaker covering communications skills and showing you how to capture & navigate the call.

Nancy is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and hundreds of other radio and TV shows.

The author of eight books on sales and customer service, Nancy is the spokesperson in the popular Telephone Doctor customer service training programs.

Want Nancy to speak at your meeting? Call for a speaking demo & full information packet of Nancy – 314.291.1012 or visit or email

For a complimentary copy of Nancy’s eBook, Hidden Gems of Customer Service, please click here.




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.