By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote speaker, President, Telephone Doctor 

OK! OK! Yes, there are certainly more than 21 ways to give GREAT customer service, but rather than overwhelm you, we wanted to start out with a palatable number. And 21 sounded like a good number to me. Sort of like the winning hand of Blackjack. Any one of these tips will produce better relations in your customer service. Here we go. 

  1. Smile! Right. Don’t kid yourself. Just as it can be ‘seen’ in person, the smile can be heard on the phone. So as NIKE says, “Just DO IT.”
  2. Say something nice at least once a day to someone. I was at the St. Louis airport a while back and the skycap came up to me and said, “Hi Mrs. Friedman. Are you going first class or does it just look that way?” That was over 10 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. People remember nice things. Just as they remember the not so nice things. So best to say nice things more often.
  3. Don’t ever argue with a customer. You’ll lose every single time. Don’t even get into the ring with them. No discussion needed here.
  4. If you’re sending something to a customer via any method, add a short personal note. Items received without any note or mention of transaction are perceived as cold and rude. A simple “Thank you” on company note paper or even a post it note will do the trick. It says you stopped to do something special.
  5. Use “WE” vs. “YOU” in your conversations when possible. “We” is consultative and feels friendlier. And it’s far less confrontational.
  6. See someone walking into your store/branch/location/office? Say “HELLO” first; loud and clear. Ignoring people, even fellow employees, isn’t good customer service. A nod of the head is semi-useless.
  7. Keep the fences in your organization low. We all know there needs to be rules, guidelines and policies. However, when there are so many of them, they can make doing business difficult. It’s not worth it. Make it easy to do business with your company.
  8. Be a double checker. Often, we can miss something or not know all the details. Most people appreciate hearing, “The last time I checked, we were out of stock on that; however, let me DOUBLE CHECK for you.” That particular statement is most comforting. Everyone loves a double checker.
  9. We cannot do 2 things well at once. If you’re working with a customer, on the phone or in person, then focus on that person. Trying to type, or file, or do some paperwork while you’re communicating with a customer is dangerous and rude.
  10. If your attitude stinks, change it. No one – absolutely no one – wants to be connected with someone with a bad or negative attitude.
  11. Respond rapidly. When you receive information from a client, it’s a good thing to let them know you did receive it. That’s good communications.
  12. Extend a firm handshake when being introduced to a customer. FIRM is the key word. That loose, fish like handshake is not a sign of confidence. FIRM is key.
  13. Thank you notes are still thought of as GREAT. Take the time to jot several off to new or, better yet, older clients. Very appreciated.
  14. Use your name when you answer the phone. Everyone likes to know who they’re talking with. (Yes I ended with a preposition.)
  15. Use your listening skills more often. We all like to talk, mainly to show off how much we know. But listening to what the customer knows is much better. Let others have the stage. You’ll get the applause.
  16. It shouldn’t take 2 people to give good customer service. Learn how to handle the situation yourself rather than trying to get rid of it by shipping it off to a co-worker or supervisor.
  17. Show some empathy or sympathy when a customer complains. Sincerely. Doing or saying nothing when they feel they have a problem will put you in the doghouse fast.
  18. Learn to say, “I apologize for that” or something that will allow the customer to feel that you are apologizing. That quick, “Sorry ‘bout that” statement sounds as though you’re throwing the statement away.
  19. Be prepared. If you’re in customer service, or any front line position, expect things to happen. Be prepared is not just for the Boy Scouts. It’s for anyone who works with customers. Prepare for the unexpected.
  20. When in doubt, leave it out. Writing a letter or email to a client? Or calling them. If you’re in doubt of using a certain word, leave it out or use something else.
  21. This is reserved for you to put in your own customer service tip. Send us your tip and we’ll include it in our new book with CREDIT to you.

Thanks and please share.

Nancy Friedman was voted one of meeting planners FAVORITE SPEAKERS, 2015 by Meeting Planners Poll (Meetings & Convention Magazine)



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.