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


We all know there are three types of customer service. Those that are passive, those that are average and those that are proactive. A no brainer. We get that.

But as happens sometimes, there are those that fall lower than passive. And the other day I found it.

When we left the store my husband looked at me and simply said, “The Walking Dead” knowing what I was thinking right away. I was thinking “How can I put this total ‘non experience’ into my speaking engagements? How can I explain what the Walking Dead is, do or are to my audiences?”

We decided that other folks run into an experience such as that. Maybe it wasn’t a terrible customer service experience or something the person said or did. Simply put, it was as though you were meeting with the ‘walking dead.’ It was lower than a ‘nothing’ experience.

I’ve categorized bad experiences into 2 files. One is SAD; the other is BAD.

Recently one of my clients asked what the DIFFERENCE is between the two.

A SAD customer experience is when something wasn’t quite right and a simple “tweak” might have pushed the entire experience into ‘good,’ maybe even ‘very good’ stature. Maybe the person wasn’t well trained. It’s a ‘sad’ thing. Perhaps they didn’t say “thank you” when you spent a ton. Or just spent. That’s sad.

But a “BAD” customer experience? That’s a whole ‘nother’ matter. A BAD experience takes on a whole new meaning. Not sure I need to explain it. We all know a ‘bad experience’ when we get one. It’s as though nothing can help the situation. No smile, no help, no name, no attempt to help. Just business as usual. Move on.

So then, what about the Walking Dead?

That’s beneath bad, poor, passive or anything. You wonder how they got to work. All by themselves yet. I wonder how they even got hired.

I know sometimes folks hire people because they’re breathing. But there is help for many.

The SAD customer experience. In most cases, not all, the SAD experience needs some coaching; sometimes just some tweaking in handling the situation. Usually there’s not a lot of things wrong. In most cases it’s even acceptable customer service, yet “sad.” It could have been so much better with some help. Some tweaking.

The BAD customer experience? Well that’s a training issue. Those who provide the BAD experience are normally put into the situation without much ‘help.’ Without much training. A customer service training program would be one way to help that BAD experience.

The WALKING DEAD? They in all probability should never have been hired. It’s normally a losing proposition. Statues that make simple moves only when absolutely necessary. Statues that tell the floor to “have a nice day.” Statues that simply don’t have a clue. Statues don’t look like they enjoy their job. Almost as though they were forced to be there.

Look, if you know anything about me and Telephone Doctor, you know we’ve been doing this a while. And I’ve said it many times. What we do isn’t rocket science, it’s not brain surgery. It’s plain old common sense. And you and I know common sense is not that common.

When I run into the WALKING DEAD I’m caught off guard. What on earth have we got here? Now I know. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

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.