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

However, you communicate with your customers, on the phone, in person, chat or email, there are some guidelines to make it easier, better and more effective. Let’s jump right in.

1. Please NO Gum – I walked into a retail store to buy a TV. There were three salespeople waiting to help me standing proudly in their team shirts. Two were chomping on their gum open mouthed. One was not. Guess who I asked to help me? Right, the one who didn’t look like a cow having dinner. Hey, I’m not alone. Most people don’t want a salesperson chewing gum open mouthed while they are helped. (Worried about bad breath? Mints are fine.) RETAILERS – NO GUM IN THE STORE, in person or on the phone. End of story.

2. Eye Contact – In yet another store a while back, the lady who helped me had her head on a spindle. She seemed to look everywhere but at me. That’s a no-no. If you’re not making eye contact with the customer it appears as though you’re not interested. You don’t need to stare into their eyes 100% of the time (that would be weird); however, maintaining some sort of eye contact with them every so often is a very good idea. On the phone? Put your listening bunny ears on.

3. Don’t Point – Go Show –Whole Foods does it right. No matter who you ask about a product, they walk with you to find what you need. And on the way they make some sort of rapport building conversation. It could be about the item you’re looking for or it might be about the great weather we have outside. Thank you Whole Foods. You ‘get it.’

4. “Can I help you?” is Mediocre – Trite and useless. Weak and ineffective. When someone comes into your retail establishment, rather than, “can I help you?” to which 80% of the time the answer is “No thanks, I’m just looking,” be more proactive. Something like, “We’re glad you’re here. My name is Nancy. Please ask for me when you’re ready, and if that’s now, let me know.” Something that says ‘we’re not average, we’re special.’

5. Compliment Their Purchase – On the phone or in person. If you’re with them at the close of their purchase, it’s nice to say something positive about what they’ve bought. Doesn’t matter if it’s a new hammer or a new dress; loaf of bread or a gift card. There’s always something we can say that will make them feel as though they made the right purchase. And if you have a ‘fact’ about the product that helps, that cements it even further.

6. Don’t Deny Your Customer the Choice –Whether you’re in a large retail chain or a small boutique type store, not offering or suggesting what can help the customer is a big mistake. If someone has chosen an item and you know of something else that would complement it or be helpful to the purchase, it’s your duty to mention it. This is NOT BEING PUSHY. This is being helpful.

You, in all probability, know the stock and product pretty well. If someone purchases a Widget and you know that there’s a Widget organizer, it’s the right thing to ‘mention’ it as you’re closing out the purchase. Try it. It’s a great feeling when the customer says, “Yeah, I’d like that. Thanks!” Good Luck!

Nancy’s Keynote and workshop programs are filled will real world, common sense, answers. Her no nonsense, relevant, high energy, straight talk, off the cuff information will energize, entertain and keep your audiences wanting more. Call today for a complimentary DEMO and see for yourself.

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.