By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker – Customer Service, Communications, Sales. President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training

FACT: Customers go out of their way looking for companies who provide great customer service.

FACT: Some find it; some don’t.

Once a year (at least) it’s healthy to go over the good old common sense customer service tips. The ones we all know, yet often get left behind. It’s not rocket science, it’s not brain surgery; it’s plain old common sense. But you and I know common sense is not that common.

So, at the start of the year, I re-run our BACK TO BASICS article with the hopes they’ll get shared and used.

Here are 15 BACK TO BASIC customer service tips that are good old common sense thoughts, ideas, and skills. Short, sweet and to the point. Enjoy and share.

1. “Please,” “thank you” and “you’re welcome” always have been, and always will be, powerful words. Seldom overused.

2. “You’re welcome” is the best replacement when told “thank you.” (NO PROBLEM/NO WORRIES are on the KILLER WORDS of customer service list.)

3. “Sorry ‘bout that” is NOT an apology. It’s a cliché. “My apologies” is better when there’s a screw up. “I’m sorry” is when you step on someone’s toes.

4. A frown is a smile upside down. Stand on your head if you must, but SMILE darn it!

5. You cannot do two things well at once. Pay full attention to the call or the customer.

6. One word answers anywhere, email, phone or in person, are felt as cold and rude. If you graduated 3rd grade you know: Three words make a sentence; be generous.

7. Learn what phrases frustrate your customers. They’re probably the same ones that bother you.

8. When was the last time you sent flowers or even a ‘note to say hello’ to someone just because? Powerful tip.

9. Drop a personal handwritten note to a client and say, “Thanks for being a good client,” or “good friend” or “thanks for being you.” NO sales pitch. A simple ‘thank you.’

10. “Hey, how are ‘ya?” is not a great way to start up a business conversation. In fact, it’s not any way to start up a conversation. Period. “Good to talk with you” is far better.” Nice to see you.” “Glad you’re here” is great.

11. Out with friends or family? Put the cell phones away. Talk for 30 minutes. (If you remember how.)

12. Email manners? Basically, the same as phone and in person.

13. The old “don’t tell ‘em what you can’t do; tell ‘em what you can do” applies to most, if not all, customer interactions. No one likes “we can’t do that.”

14. Get excited! Enthusiasm is contagious. Start an epidemic. Make sure you say something fun, nice and appropriate in every conversation, on the phone or in person

15. Oh, and smile. YES, that needed to be said twice. A phony smile is better than a real frown.

Start with these tips, skills, ideas and techniques, and you’ll notice a big difference in how your customers respond. Share away.

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.