Over the years, “Telephone Doctor” Nancy Friedman has collected what she calls more than 1,000 golden nuggets — or about 40 hours of material — about ways to improve customer service.
She will present some of those golden nuggets at the third annual Bus & Motorcoach Industry Sales Summit, a virtual event July 13-15 from noon until 3 p.m. ET. The UMA Sales Summit is professional sales and leadership training designed specifically to empower private motorcoach companies to build profitable sales.
Friedman’s connection with the motorcoach industry began nearly a decade ago when she was invited by the California Bus Association to provide customer service training. Many of her clients are in the travel industry.
She’s in the business of helping companies communicate better with their customers and employees. She is the founder of and chairman of the Telephone Doctor Customer Service in St. Louis.
Here are some of the scenarios she can speak to:
- Young people who lack phone skills and don’t like to answer phones.
“When we don’t like something, the root of the problem is usually because we don’t know how to do it,” said Friedman. “It’s basically that most millennials have never been taught how to talk on the phone. When I have someone of that age in any of my programs, without exception, more than one person will come up and say, ‘Thank you. This helps me so much. I wasn’t exposed to this,’ etc.”
- The difference between an attitude and a mood. Attitudes are permanent, while moods are temporary. How you see life is a choice, regardless of circumstance, she said.
“So you get a choice, up in the morning, what kind of mood am I in, I have a great attitude about today, no matter what hits the fan, I’m ready for it,” Friedman said. “My mother used to say, ‘It is not the problem, Nancy. It is how we handle it.’ I don’t get in a bad mood. And I don’t mean, never. If I do, it’s such a short time.”
- She has a golden nugget about emotional leakage, which she describes as getting mad at Peter and taking it out on Paul.
“I was at the grocery store, and this young woman was throwing around the produce. She was really upset. I asked what was wrong, and she said I had a terrible fight with my boyfriend the previous night. I said, ‘Was I with you last night?’ She said, ‘Well, no, and I’m sorry.’ Well, it’s too late to say ‘I’m sorry’ when you bark at the wrong person. So having a bad day is your bad day. Don’t explain it to everybody else.”
- Wrong response. One of the pet peeves the Telephone Doctor has heard from an audience is that people in the service industry respond with “no problem” when someone says thank you.
“So no problem is a huge problem,” Friedman said. “You can say, ‘You’re welcome,’ ‘My pleasure.’ ‘I’m glad to do it.’ ‘Tell me if you need more.’ I mean, there are 22 other things you can say.”
How it began
Friedman’s public speaking skills and stage presence come from her training as a professional actress. Thanks to her comedic timing, her presentations feel like a stand-up comedy show with thought-provoking material.
Her international customer service training company remains a small, family-owned business that now includes her son and daughter, and a 20-person workforce. Her son, David Friedman, is president of the e-learning platform, www.serviceskills.com, which offers affordable easy and fun customer service training for both small businesses and very large companies. It’s a boutique, unique platform with 17 series in over 150 modules. Her daughter, Linda Steinberg, is vice president/client service success.
The business began 30 years ago, with a complaint about how she was treated over the phone when she called her insurance agent. He talked her out of dropping the agency and asked her to come and teach his staff about customer phone service.
That led to an invitation from the publisher of a newspaper client. After that presentation, an editor dubbed her the “Telephone Doctor.” When she told her husband, he said, “Let’s get that registered that. We’re going to have fun.”
Dick Friedman’s prediction came true.
“What do they say? Find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. I love what I do — I love sharing these tips,” Friedman said. “I love hearing you laugh. I love hearing you say, ‘Hey, that’s good.’”