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

FACT: The best weapon for a successful business is customer service.

It’s all so simple. We will pay more for better service.

So whether you’re a small business owner or Hewlett Packard, read on.

Here are our Telephone Doctor’s Six Cardinal Rules of Customer Service.

Adapting any one these steps will make your day, and more importantly, make the customer’s day, a better experience for you and your company.

Cardinal Rule # 1 – People Before Paperwork

When someone walks into your place of business or calls you while you’re working on something else, drop everything. Remember, paper can wait, people should not. We’ve all been abused when we go shopping and been ignored only because the employee is doing something else. Remember: People before paperwork.

Cardinal Rule # 2 – Rushing Threatens Customers

Sure, you may understand something real quick, but rushing the customer along will only lead to them feeling intimidated and you won’t see them coming back to you. Take it easy. Remember, speed is not success! Trying to be “done” with a customer as quickly as possible is seen as being rude and uncaring. Take your time with each and every contact.

Cardinal Rule # 3 – Company Jargon

Ever get a report from a company and not understand it? Some companies have company jargon that makes the CIA jealous. Be careful not to use your own company jargon on your customers. You and your employees may understand it very well, but the customer may not. You’ll cause a lot of unnecessary confusion. Spell things out for your customers. Don’t abbreviate or assume they are familiar with your jargon. Simply put: don’t use military language on civilians.

Cardinal Rule # 4 – Don’t Be Too Busy To Be Nice

Hey, everyone’s busy! Bad excuse. Being busy does not give you the right to be rude. Remember, you meet the same people going down, as you do going up. They’ll remember you. What’s worse than being busy? NOT being busy!

Cardinal Rule # 5 – “Uh huh” is not ‘Thank You’ — “There ya go” is not ‘You’re Welcome’

How often do you hear these slang phrases? We need to remember ‘Thank you’ and ‘You’re welcome’ are beautiful words. The customer cannot hear them too often. However, if you’re telling your customers to “have a nice day,” please say it with meaning! I recently had a checkout clerk tell the FLOOR to have a nice day. She never looked at me. Make eye contact when you’re saying something nice. And NO PROBLEM is NOT ‘Thank you!’ The gold standard is: ‘You’re Welcome!’

Cardinal Rule # 6 – Be Friendly BEFORE You Know Who It Is

There’s a good lesson to be learned here. The Telephone Doctor motto: SMILE BEFORE you know who it is a good one. It will earn you classic customer service points. The customer needs to know you want to work with them, no matter who they are. Remember, sometimes it’s way too late to smile and be friendly after you know who it is.


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.