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The Telephone Doctor: How I Became a Customer Service Guru

The Telephone Doctor: How I Became a Customer Service Guru Credit: Nancy Friedman

More business is lost due to poor service and poor treatment than poor product. Customers should be treated as a welcome guest when they call a business or come in a store, and often we're treated as an annoyance or an interruption. 

I go around the country training corporations, associations and businesses to do a better job when the public calls. Sharing my ideas, tips, skills and techniques with companies who want to improve communications with their customers helps them improve the bottom line and foster a positive image.

I had a terrible customer service experience with an insurance company so I called the agent and cancelled all my policies. He wanted details. I told him, "his people stink" and told him how I was treated. He asked me to come to the office and tell his staff what happened and how they could improve their service. I went in and spent about 30 minutes explaining how I should have been handled – what they should have said and done. And that was the start.

I realized there was an opportunity and business in advising companies how to improve their relations with customers. At one of my later meetings, a newspaper editor in Davenport, Iowa, who took part in the program complimented me and said he was going to call me the "Telephone Doctor." I ran home to my husband and said, "What'll we do?"  He said, "Let's go get it registered; we're gonna have some fun."

Our biggest challenge is apathy from companies who feel they don't need customer service training. Our technique is the best defense against the big guys for the small to mid-sized business. You only need to have one poor customer service experience and you'll agree, we're needed all over! When we lose a customer, they go to the competition. That makes the competition a little stronger and us a little weaker.

This photo demonstrates our "Internal" customer service program. If customer service doesn't start within the company, it will have a difficult time getting out to the customers. "It starts at the top" isn't just a saying; it's a way of life.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Nicole Fallon.