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

“How can I help you?” is not necessary on your initial greeting. You are there to help – that’s why you answered the phone. Besides, “How can I help you?” can get the person who uses it into hot water. Listen to a conversation verbatim that I recently had:

I called my bank the few months ago. And that phrase greeted me: “Good Morning, XYZ Bank. This is Mary. How can I help you?”

Me: “I just got my statement” I told her, “and it’s wrong.”

Mary: “Gee, I can’t help you” came a rapid, bland response.

Me: “Then why did you say you could?” I asked.

It went downhill from there.

The 3-part initial greeting is your handshake – your business card – the open door to your business – it’s what starts the relationship.

Sadly, there are way too many companies not paying attention to that area.

This is all we need when answering a phone call:

“Hi, thanks for calling Telephone Doctor, this is Nancy.”

Stop! Anything AFTER your name, erases your name.

(Bonus tip: By the way: “Thanks for calling” eliminates saying the wrong time of day. (ie, good morning when it’s 5 PM etc.)
80% of the time when you end with your name, the caller gives you theirs. And that’s golden.

Look this isn’t rocket science, it’s not brain surgery, it’s plain old common sense. However, we all know there’s just not a lot of common sense going around.

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.