How to Be Business Friendly

Business Friendly

By Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor

When you take the “friendly” out of Business Friendly, all you have left is business – business as usual. And we all know that’s just not good enough.So our new program deals with the tender subject of how to be Business Friendly. And it’s NOT just for the phones. Being Business Friendly is for all touch points of customer service. Any way you touch or reach out to your customers on the phone, in person, by email, voice mail, fax or snail mail, we need to be Business Friendly.

First of all, you may be asking yourself, “What the heck is Business Friendly?” Well, it’s the middle ground between being too cold, impersonal and uncaring, and the other extreme of being too over familiar. We’ve all experienced both I’m sure.

Here are the five points in delivering Business Friendly customer service.

Every Call is Unique – Don’t Become Desensitized: The transaction you get at the end of the day needs to be as upbeat and helpful as you were with the first one of the day. What happens is often times we get the same questions over and over and it’s easy to become desensitized. We need to remember that to the customer, his question is new to him. And it’s the first time for him; no matter what time of day it is.

Solve the Problem – Don’t Argue: You know the old saying “the customer is always right.” Well, at Telephone Doctor we’ve changed that around to “the customer always thinks they’re right” and that’s the perception we need to deal with. There are indeed times when the customer is wrong and we as service specialists know and realize it. Of what value is it to tell them “Oh Mr. Jones, you are WRONG.” None is there? So focus on the problem; don’t worry about whose fault it is. There is zero value in arguing with a customer. Don’t even get in the ring with them. You will lose every single round. Focus on solving the problem.

Show Empathy – Don’t Ignore What The Customer Says: The other day, I called a company and explained that the product they sold me wasn’t operating properly. The answer from the company representative? “Oh, OK.” AGGGGGG. That drives me crazy. First of all, it’s NOT OK that the product wasn’t working right. And secondly, where was a little empathy? Where was some sort of acknowledgement that they indeed heard what I was calling about. None. And you can have empathy in happy and good things too. Empathy isn’t only for disasters and bad times. You can join in when someone mentions a birthday, a vacation, a wedding, or anything that is happy. Point is, just do not ignore what they say. COMMENT on it.

Smile: Yup, the customer can hear it. We all know that. And since we all know that, we all need to do it. And by the way, smiling is showing your teeth. If your teeth aren’t showing, you’re only grinning – not smiling. Grins can’t be heard! Let those puppies show!

Avoid Emotional Leakage: What? Ok, what’s emotional leakage, Nancy? Well, that’s getting mad at Peter and taking it out on Paul. Not right, not fun and not fair. To take a negative thought or emotion out on one person and transfer it to another? Let’s show you how to avoid emotional leakage when one transaction goes bad and you need to deal with another one immediately.

  • Take a deep breath
  • Regain your professional composure
  • Smile (Even if it’s phony)
  • Then start the transaction

Being Business Friendly will make a huge difference in customer satisfaction. Don’t be cool and aloof and don’t get too familiar; be the middle ground and deliver Business Friendly customer service.

Reprinted with permission from Telephone Doctor, Inc. Based in St. Louis, Telephone Doctor is a customer service training company offering DVD courses, web-based training, keynote presentations and on-site workshops.  Contact them at