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


Enthusiasm – Defined as “intense and eager enjoyment, interest or approval.”

So bottom line is if your phones aren’t answered with Enthusiasm, “Houston, we have a problem!”

One the most often asked questions I get in my conferences across the country is:

Nancy what is the best way to answer our business phone?

Well, I’ve never said Telephone Doctor is the best. Or the only. Or the first. However I do stand behind the fact we are the most effective. Our telephone techniques, tips, skills and ideas are used worldwide with much success. After all we’ve been doing this a long time.

So if you’re looking for the most effective method in answering your business phone, if you want to be the most effective on the INITIAL greeting, come along with me and listen.

We only need 3 things when we answer a business phone:

  1. A Buffer
  2. The company or department name
  3. Your name

Then stop!

Anything after your name erases your name. The initial greeting needs to end with your name. Why? Because if you speak after your name, the caller will forget it. (Some folks have a sequel to Gone with the Wind.)

Hear me out. “How can I help you” is not necessary in the initial greeting. You’re there to help. You’re there to answer the call. It’s a semi useless statement; an interruptible statement and often an ineffective one as well. (Note: It’s not wrong, it’s not bad – it’s ineffective.)

Just the other day I called my bank.

“Good morning. XXX bank. Mary speaking. How can I help you?”

“Oh good,” I said. “My name is Nancy Friedman and I just got my statement. It appears there’s something wrong.”

“Oh gee. I’m sorry, I can’t help you,” she says sweetly.

“Then why did you say you could?” I said just as sweetly.

We do not need “how can I help you” in the initial greeting. End of subject. It’s useless. The 3 things we need to answer a phone call effectively are:

*   Buffer. That’s “the greeting.” It’s the handshake. The welcoming statement. This can be anything that warms the call. From “thanks for calling,” “good morning,” “good afternoon,” “Merry Christmas,” “happy Tuesday;” even “Hi” is a buffer. Something that sets the company name apart which is the important part. I don’t care what it is. You choose. But it needs to be there.

Answering a call without a buffer is considered cold and rude. Blurting out, “Macy’s” without a warm buffer is ineffective, cold and rude. (Not saying they do it. Just using a recognizable name.)

Most of the time my audiences like to know what buffer we use at Telephone Doctor.

We use “Thanks for calling.” Why? Because many years ago I was hearing. “Good morning” at 4 pm or “Good afternoon” at 9 am. So I suggested to those who answered our phones, “Let’s never make that mistake again. Let’s use thanks for calling.” Now we’re right every time.

*   Your company/department name. That’s the key component. After people have been welcomed, they want to be sure they’ve reached the right place So the company name stands out best after the buffer. That way if anything gets clipped off it’s the buffer, not the company name. Clear?

*   Now your name. And by the way. It should be: “This is Bob.” “This is Nancy.” Not “Nancy Speaking.” Otherwise it’s: “Nancy Speaking is married to Dick Speaking. They have 2 kids, David Speaking and Linda Speaking.” Do not use “speaking” as your last name!

It’s “This is Nancy.” Then STOP. (You, of course, use your own name.) Just saying.

We have found 2 important things happen when you use our Telephone Doctor 3 part greeting.

First, it speeds the rapport building process and second, our surveys found that when you end with your name, if that’s the last thing the caller hears when he calls, 80% of the time he’ll give his name immediately. Cool, isn’t it?

So to recap:

A buffer. Something to welcome the caller.

Your company or department name.

And your name.

Then stop and let the conversation begin. And it will. Now, go have fun!


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.