By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor®   

These 5 issues that can sabotage your business with your customer without even knowing it. Getting rid of only a few will be a winner.

I was a Franchisor – We had 5 Franchisees.  Four we let go very quickly and one we kept too long.  Along the way, I saw how they failed. It wasn’t all their fault. But it sure helped.

Telephone Doctor is sharing  five of the mainstream ways that can hurt / sabotage your business.   There are many, many more; these, however, are a known quantity. My guess is you’ve heard them yourselves.  Check into your Franchise and be sure you’re not being sabotaged.

  1. It’s Not Our Policy

This, unfortunately, is used more as an excuse than anything else.  It’s a sure thing that the employee has not been shown how to explain a policy to someone.  What happens then is it’s used more as something to say when they don’t know what to say. And the customer calls that an ‘excuse’.

When the customer hears, “it’s not our policy,” they translate it to, “WHO CARES?” What we need to understand is only owners, management and staff care about your policies. Do you really think the customer says to themselves, as they enter or call your place of business: “Gee, I wonder what their policy is?”   

Here’s a suggestion:  Decide on your policy, then work as a team with your staff to find a positive way to explain it to the customer.  Otherwise, it’ll be the customer’s policy not to do business with you.!

  1. It’s Not My Department    

Well, then, whose is it?  Let’s remember one of the Telephone Doctor mottos: “Tell the customer what you do, not what you DON’T do”.  If someone mistakenly gets to your extension and asks for something that you don’t handle…the following is far more effective than: “YOU have the wrong department.   (YOU statements aren’t good anywhere.) This is better:

“Hi, I work in the paint department. Let me get you to someone in the area you need.” This is far more effective than telling someone it’s not your department. Take full responsibility and use the “I” statement.)

  1. My Computer’s Down

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We’ve all heard that one.  And Ouch! That one hurts because there are still many customers who remember the days BEFORE the computer. My goodness, how did we ever survive?   Sure, it’s easier to have the computer, but believe it or not, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of businesses were born and raised on 3 x 5 cards or some other method of a data base (IE CRM)   

When your computer crashes, this sounds so much better: “Happy to help you…it may take a little longer as I’ll need to do everything in longhand…our computers are currently out.”   This way you’ve still explained what happened and they’ll have a little more compassion as you’ve helped them – and didn’t blame the computer.

  1. I Wasn’t Here That Day (or I was on vacation when that happened)

This one really makes me laugh.  I don’t remember asking them if they were there that day.   Do you really think the customer cares if you weren’t here when their problem happened?   Honestly, they don’t. So that’s not even an issue to discuss. Just hit the problem head on – apologize without telling them where you were…or weren’t.   Remember, you ARE the company whether you were on vacation or not when the issue happened.

  1. I’m NEW

SO?  OK, you’re new.   Now what? Does ‘being new’ allow you to be anything but super to the customer?   When the customer hears this “I’m new” sabotaging statement, have you ever heard them say: “Oh, so you’re new? So that’s why I’m getting bad service? Well, then that’s okay…you’re new.

And even if you are new, the customer honestly believes you should know everything about your job.

Here’s the Telephone Doctor method on this one.  You can tell the customer, “Please bear with me, I’ve only been here a few weeks” That will buy you time. For whatever reason, hearing the short LENGTH of time you are with the company means more to the customer than, “I’m new.”    Remember to state the length of time. It’s a credibility enhancement. “I’m NEW”, is a credibility buster.

Good luck.!  The Franchising “family” is one of the strongest I’ve ever known.  

Pillars of Franchising - Nancy Friedman - The Telephone Doctor, Customer Service Training

Who Is Nancy Friedman?

Nancy Friedman, the Telephone Doctor, is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, and a former Franchisor.  She is a popular speaker in the world of franchising, and all corporate America. The author of 9 books on her passionate topic of Customer Service, you can find more at or

call 314 291 1012, in St Louis, Mo.  Or email her at

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