The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

customer excellence

Humility: The Foundation of Storyfinding

By Mary Jane Copps | April 9, 2022

When I sat down in September 2021 and planned out how I would write about and share the skills of storyfinding, humility wasn’t even on the list. I added it about six weeks ago and, much to my disappointment, I can’t remember what inspired this … Read more

The Value of Humility

By Mary Jane Copps | April 2, 2022
business introductions

Years ago at a holiday gathering, an existing client introduced me to the CEO of a fast-growing national company. The beginning of the introduction was the standard, “I’d like you to meet Mary Jane who, etc. etc.” But then he ended the introduction with a … Read more

Tales About Trust

By Mary Jane Copps | March 13, 2022

Inspiring the trust of others is not a small task. It’s something quite … monumental, that moment when another human being gifts you their trust. Trust is essential to the successful growth and longevity of our businesses and yet most of us don’t give this … Read more

Preparation: Less Equals More

By Mary Jane Copps | October 17, 2021

Preparation is an essential element of storyfinding. It allows us to develop and ask great questions. The challenge is finding the right balance between scant and excessive research. The key to successful preparation lies in understanding how it supports our ability to discover more through … Read more

Ignite Your Curiosity

By Mary Jane Copps | October 3, 2021

Storyfinding allows us to create communication and service excellence with both prospects and customers. The first element is curiosity, which is a HUGE topic. This video includes more information about curiosity, as well as examples of how it can be used … or not. Enjoy … Read more

Curiosity Did Not “Kill The Cat”!

By Mary Jane Copps | September 26, 2021
woman on video call

“Curiosity is the engine of achievement.” Sir Ken Robinson Allowing curiosity to guide our conversations is the first step of storyfinding. With both prospects and customers, curiosity helps us clarify and deliver on expectations, reveal additional ways to serve and work together, and continually build … Read more

Elevate Your Customer Service: Effective and Efficient Conversations

By Mary Jane Copps | March 27, 2021
man planning a phone call

It happens to all of us. We finish a conversation with a client and feel, well, unaccomplished. Perhaps the next steps aren’t clearly agreed upon. Or important items are completely forgotten and another conversation needs to be booked. It doesn’t have to be this way. … Read more

Making the Move from Nice to Kind

By Mary Jane Copps | January 30, 2021
home delivery with care

In the past 12 months, I’ve experienced a substantial increase in requests for customized reception and customer service training. And I say “yes” as quickly and as often as possible. My interest in phone communication was sparked early in childhood, by the major role the … 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

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

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

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

Inspiring Conversation with Popular Posts

By Mary Jane Copps | June 30, 2019
using mobile to read

I had two thoughts collide in my head on Thursday morning and the result is this blog post. The first thought, familiar to all bloggers, was, “Oh my gosh, it’s the weekend again already – and not just the weekend but the Canada Day long … Read more

The #1 Reason To Improve Your Listening Skills

By Mary Jane Copps | May 26, 2019
listening

Listening to audiobooks is one of my favourite things to do, especially when I’m on the road to Moncton, Charlottetown, Fredericton or Saint John. I’ve had the library app, OverDrive, on my phone for years and it feels like an exciting new gift every time … Read more

Want Strong Relationships With Your Clients? Then Act Like It!

By Mary Jane Copps | May 5, 2019
woman thinking in front of laptop

As many of you know, I recently dove into creating online courses. This has involved a massive learning curve – well, less a curve than a continual roller coaster (and I’m not a fan of roller coasters). The process could have been shorter – and … Read more

There’s a Customer Service Crisis Headed Your Way!

By Mary Jane Copps | April 7, 2019

A bank teller wants to do more for the customer who suddenly requests all their funds but is confused and forgetful throughout the transaction. A dentist wonders what she can do for a long-time patient who struggles to pay their bills because they can’t remember … Read more

Remorse, Realizations and Reality

By Mary Jane Copps | March 24, 2019

My post of March 10 created feedback and debate, not only here on my website but on social platforms. Similar to most creators of a regular blog, I was thrilled this happened. Not only that, I learned a lot from the ensuing discussion that will … Read more

Clear the Queue vs. Deliver Excellence

By Mary Jane Copps | March 17, 2019

Sara Moginot is a customer service aficionado, a regular reader of this blog … and the author of this article. While walking along the beach one afternoon, I watched my big red dog dart in and out of the waves. Groot brings zest to everything he … Read more

Two Phrases That Kill Your Business

By Mary Jane Copps | March 10, 2019

Living on the East Coast means winter is always a mix of snow, rain and ice. The order in which this precipitation appears, combined with the amount that arrives and whether the temperature stays above or below zero, can create incredible challenges for pedestrians, drivers … Read more

What’s Your Post-Sale Process?

By Mary Jane Copps | March 3, 2019
receptionist speaking on the phone

There’s no doubt that it’s great to make a sale. Tons of work and effort go into the moment when a prospect finally becomes a paying customer, so it’s definitely something to celebrate but … what comes next? Do you know? Does it bring value … Read more

Incivility Costs Us … Even After the Call!

By Mary Jane Copps | February 10, 2019

Sara Moginot is a customer service aficionado, a regular reader of this blog … and the author of this article. From sarcasm to bullying, incivility in the workplace reduces productivity, lowers morale and increases employee stress levels. Whether we are a victim or a witness, there’s … Read more

Connecting with Your Compassion – 7 Easy Steps

By Mary Jane Copps | February 3, 2019
woman on phone with broken down car

After reading my post about a recent car accident and compassionate communication, Duncan Ebata of Shift! Food in Wolfville, NS, sent me this question on Instagram: “How do we structure conversations to have more compassion and still get what we need done?” Great question! How can we … Read more

A Dog, a Kayak and a Phone Lesson

By Mary Jane Copps | January 27, 2019

Sara Moginot is a customer service aficionado and a regular reader of this blog. She recently had a “light bulb moment” while enjoying an outdoor adventure with her dog … something that’s valuable for all of us to consider when our phone rings. What did … Read more

Accident-al Conversations: How Compassion Can Change Everything

By Mary Jane Copps | January 20, 2019

On Monday afternoon at 1:20 pm, driving back to my office from a workshop in Truro, I was rear-ended at a stop light. (It’s important to say here that I’m fine. The car is undergoing repairs until early February, but I’m perfectly fine.) The next … Read more

Customer Service By The Numbers

By Mary Jane Copps | December 1, 2018

When it comes to creating a great experience for our customers, we need to ask the question, “What do our customers want?” Delivering service based on their expectations is key to our success. Fortunately, there are companies out there crunching the numbers for us and … Read more

When We Follow Procedure …

By Mary Jane Copps | November 25, 2018

Two years ago a Toronto-based client introduced me to their downtown hotel of choice. I deeply appreciated both the atmosphere and the service I received. Since then, whether in the city for work or personal reasons, I’ve stayed at this hotel. So I was very … Read more

Keep Your Team “In The Loop”

By Mary Jane Copps | November 4, 2018

Florence Anderson is a customer service aficionado and a regular reader of this blog. She’s responding to the October 6 post with an insightful story about email assumptions and the chaos that can result. When should an email be accompanied by a phone call? What’s … Read more

Two Ways To Immediately Increase Customer Service Excellence

By Mary Jane Copps | October 14, 2018

Years ago, one of my most loyal clients asked me to deliver a workshop on a topic with which I had minimal expertise. When I declined, they asked me to find the right facilitator. And I did. She is Denise Williams, owner of Customer Service … Read more

Listen to this podcast discussing why trends in customer service calls, how to make sales calls more effectively and more.
Kate Mallett explored phone anxiety on her podcast recently and Mary Jane weighed in with valuable insights - listen here.
CBCs-The-Current
CRTC has recently taken new steps to fight fraud calls and phone scams. Read (and listen) to what Mary Jane has to say about this problem.
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.