The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

customer service

Do You Need A Stop Sign?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 28, 2020
woman at desk holding stop sign

Over the past few months, I’ve experienced an amazing increase in requests for front desk and customer service phone skills training. I’m delighted, of course. This is where my interest in phone skills began, way back in 1979. I was working part-time at a real … Read more

What Are Your Missed Opportunities?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 21, 2020
conversation over coffee

Earlier this week I spent the morning with a group of brand new, energetic business owners. In one of the exercises we did together, they each estimated the average annual worth of their average customer. This is not an easy number to figure out when … Read more

Ring Ring … Opportunity Calling!

By Mary Jane Copps | November 7, 2020
man on phone call in store

Receiving and making phone calls has always been an essential ingredient in the success of any business. Contrary to popular behaviour – websites with no phone number listed, businesses that don’t accept or pick up their voicemail messages – revenue opportunities still arrive by phone. … Read more

4 Ways to Help Others Hear You

By Mary Jane Copps | October 31, 2020
man listening

“Communication is not saying something; communication is being heard.” – Frances Hesselbein We’ve all had the experience of speaking to someone and, much to our surprise and/or frustration, they don’t hear us at all. Even in a quiet setting, when we’ve chosen our words carefully, … Read more

Three Easy Ways to Improve Your Customers’ Experience

By Mary Jane Copps | October 24, 2020
reception desk

This past week I’ve had two customer experiences that left me frustrated, sad and … briefly considering taking my business elsewhere. One was with my optician. This past August marked my 23rd year as their customer. In person, all of the staff are energetic. They … Read more

One Word or Two?

By Mary Jane Copps | October 10, 2020
woman buying coffee

In Canada this is Thanksgiving weekend, a  holiday also celebrated by our US neighbours (in just over 6 weeks) as well as in Brazil, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, Leiden in South Holland, Norfolk Island and Puerto Rico. It stems from a tradition of celebrating and … Read more

Are We Excluding By Not Including?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 26, 2020
woman using cell phone

A few years ago I sat with two trusted colleagues and made numerous decisions about my company’s social media and marketing strategy. There were a few things that got added to the activities already in play. One of them, even though I was hesitant, was … Read more

What’s In A Name? Everything!

By Mary Jane Copps | September 19, 2020
nametags

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve called somewhere, perhaps a customer service centre, or a government department, or a company we are thinking about hiring. A person answers, or we reach their voicemail, and their name is so muffled, said so quickly, that we … Read more

Fear and Discomfort? You’re Learning Something!

By Mary Jane Copps | August 30, 2020
man with headset

About five years ago, I connected with Donald O’Connor on Twitter. Since then we have created a friendship founded on our shared interest and passion in sales and communication. Earlier this month, when he attended my monthly webinar, I discovered his wealth of great sales … Read more

Lack of Confidence = Miscommunication

By Mary Jane Copps | August 16, 2020
woman talking on the phone

“Communication is not saying something. Communication is being heard.” – Frances Hesselbein – Many of you already know my “just” story.  At the age of 28, building my first business and making outbound calls across the country, I was shocked to discover that turning a … Read more

Practice Patience with Your Persistence

By Mary Jane Copps | August 7, 2020
woman talking on the phone

There’s a struggle going on. No matter what industry my clients represent, or how smoothly they managed the initial COVID-19 lockdown, or how quickly they created a re-opening process … they are all still struggling on some level. The demands on their time seem to … Read more

Service Excellence … By Text!

By Mary Jane Copps | August 1, 2020
plumber texting

Sunday evening and the problem could not be ignored. No matter how hard I tried, or in what order I adjusted the shower and bathtub faucets, the steady drip, drip, drip remained. I could hear the hot water still running through the pipe even though … Read more

Please … Don’t Forget Your “Receptionist”

By Mary Jane Copps | July 25, 2020
receptionist speaking on phone behind desk

For many, many years receptionists were an exclusive perk of the upper echelon of the business world. As an employee moved up the “corporate ladder”, they reached a point where someone else started answering their phone. You can witness this in television series and movies … Read more

Be Interested or Be Forgotten

By Mary Jane Copps | July 18, 2020
woman talking on the phone

This past week I had a lot of opportunities to be a customer. I was on the phone frequently, gathering information on a wide variety of products and services. Each company had a slightly different approach to receiving my call. Everyone was polite and provided … Read more

What’s Best When: Phone or Video Conversation?

By Mary Jane Copps | June 20, 2020
WOMAN ON VIDEO CALL

My initial reaction to the notion that phone calls would one day include cameras is very clear in my mind. I remember exactly where I was when someone shared this news item with me. It was sometime in the mid-’90s. I was standing outside my … Read more

Maintaining Excellence: What’s Your Customers’ Experience?

By Mary Jane Copps | June 13, 2020
man talking on the phone

It is a whole new world when it comes to customer service. The pandemic has given every business a myriad of things to think about, implement and change in order to keep both staff and customers safe. It’s a huge responsibility. Despite all of this, … Read more

Reopening: Patience and Compassion Required

By Mary Jane Copps | May 31, 2020
hair dresser booking appointments by phone

Reopening is not a return to things as they were earlier this year. We remain a world impacted by COVID-19. Yet this past week, several colleagues shared stories with me of their clients’ high expectations. There was someone who was surprised by a wait of … Read more

Own Your Distractions

By Mary Jane Copps | May 9, 2020
dog at desk

Twenty-eight years ago, on May 15, my then business partner gave birth to her first child. We were in our fourth year of growing our company and while we did manage to organize a (sort of) maternity leave for her, once that time was up, … Read more

A Tale of Two Notes

By Mary Jane Copps | April 25, 2020
putting cards in the mailbox

It has been a difficult week here in Nova Scotia. While all of us were continuing to hang on to the roller coaster that is COVID-19, last Sunday morning news began to surface of unimaginable gun violence in our small towns and villages. Many of … Read more

The Compassion Connection

By Mary Jane Copps | April 12, 2020
man talking on the phone

In the past two weeks, I’ve spent time with numerous business teams in a wide range of industries helping them revise their sales and customer service messaging. Why? Because the words they used prior to COVID-19 to speak with customers and inspire conversations with prospects … Read more

Show Your Heart … or Be Shown the Door!

By Mary Jane Copps | April 4, 2020
Westin Hotel, Halifax

It’s hard to take in that the world … the entire world … is sharing one event. While each country, culture, region is experiencing COVID-19 differently, and each individual is having unique reactions and responses, we are all being impacted by this pandemic at the … Read more

4 Ways to Get Yourself to Work … at Home!

By Mary Jane Copps | March 15, 2020
working from home

When I was 26 years old, I was offered a job at The Globe and Mail, writing one or two columns a week for the real estate section. Unfortunately, this opportunity was seen by my current employer (the Toronto Real Estate Board, where I wrote … Read more

Ask … and Tell!

By Mary Jane Copps | March 7, 2020
woman working on laptop

Years ago, needing a birthday card for a dear friend, I walked into a greeting card store believing my errand would only take 10 to 15 minutes. After 40 minutes, I purchased a card that I felt wasn’t quite perfect enough, along with a few … Read more

Let’s All Take a Moment!

By Mary Jane Copps | February 29, 2020
man waiting for taxi catching up on email

“Model the behavior you wish more people would display. Lead first.” — Robin S. Sharma Years ago the term “ghosting” came into my world. At that time it was all about the young people in my life – their friends and relationships that involved a … Read more

Top 3 Things You Need To Know About Booking and Cancelling Appointments

By Mary Jane Copps | February 16, 2020
woman speaking on the phone

This past December, while visiting family in California, I received an email from CBC’s The Current. Associate producer Danielle Carr was interested in interviewing me. While the segment was about phone scammers and how they are changing our relationship with our phones, she wanted to … Read more

Serious About Creating Consistent Revenue? You Need CRM Software, Not a Spreadsheet!

By Mary Jane Copps | January 31, 2020
man talking on the phone while checking his laptop

Almost every small business owner I’ve worked with starts out keeping track of prospects using a spreadsheet. They carefully choose and set up the columns. Then they add to it weekly, sometimes daily, listing all the people they’ve spoken to and a bit of information … Read more

#1 Question for Exposing Assumptions

By Mary Jane Copps | November 9, 2019
man sitting at desk thinking

Like everyone, I have a healthy dose of imperfections. Some of them, I’ve learned to live with and found ways to compensate. For example, I’m quite physically awkward, uncoordinated. (If my friend Sean is reading this,  he’ll be laughing. He witnessed the month(?) it took … Read more

How the “Slow Poke” in a Costco Aisle Left Me Thinking

By Miriam Jobin | September 15, 2019
mother and daughter in grocery store

Earlier this week, I was walking down the frozen food aisle in Costco. You know, the one that comes after the huge bags of chips, fresh fruit and then frozen burgers and … full frozen pigs?  Well, after trying to get ahead of a slow–paced … Read more

What Does It Take to Be Heard?

By Mary Jane Copps | September 8, 2019
lawyer

For the past few years, due to my husband’s journey with Alzheimer’s, I’ve been assisting him with his duties as Power of Attorney (POA) for his mom, who also has dementia and now lives in a nursing home. We have almost completed transferring this POA … Read more

Our Aging Customers: Are You … and Your Staff … Prepared?

By Mary Jane Copps | July 7, 2019
senior customer

This week’s post is from Rosanne Burke, a dementia care consultant, trainer and speaker. She offers dementia training workshops for business owners who want to learn how to make their business dementia-friendly and helps family caregivers feel more confident and competent by creating a personalized … Read more

Radio New Zealand logo
How to tackle your telephone hang-ups. People with bad cases of telephone anxiety can experience nausea, increased heart rate and shortness of breath at the sound of a ringtone. Listen in...

Phone Phobia Hits the News

Phone phobia, or telephobia, has been getting a lot of attention in the news recently. See what Mary Jane has to say about it...
Margins of Error with Harry Enten
CNN's Harry Enten asks why we’re avoiding phone calls and whether we can be coached through our telephone-related nerves in this Margins of Error podcast featuring Mary Jane.
This Hour Has 22 Minutes
22 Minutes correspondent, Brandon Hackett, figures out which end is up on this thing called a telephone, with help from The Phone Lady. Watch Telephone Lessons for Millennials.
The Wall Street Journal.
Banks Curtail Employee Use of Voice Mail: Voice mail is viewed as an expensive vestige of a bygone era. See what The Phone Lady has to say.