Thursday, 18 April 2019 10:26

15 Golden Nuggets of Customer Service Success With Nancy Friedman

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On April 4, Kukui hosted a Shop Owners Success webinar featuring “15 Golden Nuggets of Customer Service Success” with Nancy Friedman, the “Telephone Doctor.”


Less than 20 seconds after a customer walks into a shop or calls to ask a question, they make a purchasing decision. Friedman, who has many clients in the automotive industry, shared tips on improving customer interactions to nail down the sale. Participants who took a short survey at the end of the course were eligible for an AMi credit.


Kukui’s Jimmy Lea shared Friedman’s credentials and a brief biography before introducing her. Friedman’s goal for the webinar was “to help you be more successful than you currently are.”


The first golden nugget was empathy compared to sympathy.


Friedman explained, “There’s a huge difference. If you’ve never gone through what someone else is talking about, there’s no way you can empathize with them; you simply can’t know how they feel if you haven’t been there. Sympathy is better than empathy.”


Take ownership of mistakes and faults, and then move on by fixing what can be rectified. During incoming calls, the introduction sets up the conversation. Friedman recommended a three-part greeting expressing gratitude for the call, identifying the company and stating the associate’s name to speed up the rapport-building process.


She warned, “Anything after our name erases our name. By ending with your name, most callers will greet you and provide their name. You are making a huge error if you don’t write their name down because one of the worst questions you can ask is a caller’s name after they’ve already provided it. Once they explain their problem, make sure to tell them they’ve called the right place.”


Useless words can offend customers. One common example is “No problem” in response to “Thank you.” Friedman suggested “Happy to do it” or the oldie-but-a-goody, “You’re welcome.” Telling a customer to calm down is also very counterproductive.


Friedman pointed out, “There’s never been an instance where telling a person to calm down has actually caused them to calm down!”


Friedman rapped her next nugget, telling attendees that they can never be too busy to be nice. A business should return all phone calls and emails, no matter how busy they are; customers and potential customers deserve to be acknowledged in some way. She also identified another group of four useless words---“Hi, how are you”---that causes nothing to happen. Instead, she recommended “Good to hear from you” or “Thanks for calling.”


“Don’t use military language on civilians,” Friedman advised when discussing her next nugget. “Most of your customers aren’t going to understand shop terminology, and when you use it, you lose them. Watch who you’re talking to. If they answer you in shop jargon, you can use it, but if they question anything you say, use terms they’ll understand better.”


Next, Friedman advised attendees to be friendly before they know who the customer is.


“You never know who is calling or walking through your door. Don’t assume who someone is. Keep your smile, happiness and positive tone regardless.”


Along those same lines, Friedman warned businesses to be careful with caller ID because associates can become too comfortable using it to assume who’s on the other end of the line.


“Why take a chance?” she asked. “If you do have caller ID, there’s no reason for your customer to know---never say ‘I knew it was you,’ but you can return the call and note that you missed a call from this number. It’s a tool that can be useful, but that depends on how it’s used. Never answer with a caller’s name. Keep it professional.”


Friedman explained that effective listening is the most important sales skill and lets the customer know they and their concerns are important. She discouraged attendees from using weak, wimpy words that raise doubt, such as “just” and “think.”


She stressed, “These words reduce the effectiveness of what you’re saying. Watch out for weak, wimpy words.”


Friedman encouraged attendees to utilize their customers’ preferred method of contact and reminded everyone that excuses are useless---no one likes them.


Her penultimate nugget was people before paperwork.


“I’ve seen associates so focused on paperwork that they allow a person to stand there. Paper can wait, but people should not have to,” Friedman urged. “The paper is going to be there. Handle your customer!”


The final nugget focused on how to sell to women. Friedman encouraged audience participation to provide several examples.


“Women are different. Don’t talk down to us. Give us choices. We appreciate a firm handshake, eye contact and smiles. We dislike being ignored or having people assume they know what we are thinking,” she said.


The webinar wrapped up with a few questions. To view the webinar, visit https://www.kukui.com/blog/tags/webinar/?source=em1.