The Phone Lady's Blog

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customer experience

8 Tips for Accounts Receivable

By Mary Jane Copps | February 11, 2024
woman talking on the phone

I’m currently spending time with an extremely diligent coaching student. Having never received any formal sales training, she reacts to new information and skills by using them immediately. This is a lot of fun. Each week she arrives with great success stories and questions to ask. And she’s … Read more

Have You Been “Bulldozed” Lately?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 11, 2023
man talking on phone while consulting laptop and standing next to a bulldozer

Since 2020 the requests I’ve received for customer service training have grown by over 50%. Why? The main reason is the same challenge that’s impacting most industries – too few people with the necessary skills to satisfy customer demand. When creating training experiences for these teams, I approach … Read more

How Are You Collaborating?

By Mary Jane Copps | October 28, 2023
business people meeting

This past week the word ‘collaboration’ has been on my mind. It applies to many of the challenges our world is facing today. Where I live, the provincial and municipal governments, which should be vibrant examples of partnership, are tragically miscommunicating about one of our most urgent problems … Read more

Coaching Tips for Phone Anxiety

By Mary Jane Copps | January 29, 2023

Both making and taking phone calls require skills. Whether you are managing a team responsible for these tasks, or you’re coaching yourself, you need to be able to distinguish between phone phobia/fear and phone anxiety. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a phobia is a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear … Read more

The Creation of the Cranky Customer

By Mary Jane Copps | November 19, 2022
woman upset on the phone

One of the things that has increased steadily over my 16 years as The Phone Lady is requests for skills on communicating with an upset client/customer. There are numerous reasons why these skills are more in demand. One is, as a society, we are still working through the … Read more

How to Banish Blame

By Mary Jane Copps | November 5, 2022
man talking on the phone

Whether I’m working with a team on customer service or sales skills, our conversation inevitably includes a discussion about how and why everyone seems to be more irritated these days. There are lots of reasons – the economy, world politics, the environment – to name a few. These … Read more

Customer Service Tip #3 – The Power of Pleasant

By Mary Jane Copps | July 30, 2022
female sales clerk at cash register

The skills and actions involved in creating excellent customer service are many and varied. Achieving all of them, even half of them, with every staff member, especially in a large corporation, demands constant vigilance and commitment. Fortunately, the foundation of customer service is easy and very straightforward. Its … Read more

Customer Service Tip #2 – Stay Current and Audit Regularly

By Mary Jane Copps | July 2, 2022
woman on live chat

Omnichannel is a word that irritates me. I hear it as industry speak, jargon, a made-up word. And all of this is true. However, it doesn’t take away from the importance and value of understanding and acting on omnichannel communication to create customer service excellence. Omni comes from … Read more

Customer Service Tip #1 – Get Over Yourself and Use This Phrase!

By Mary Jane Copps | May 22, 2022
upset man on the phone

The combination of the pandemic and our current economic climate has definitely increased stress levels. For many businesses, this means an increase in emotional conversations with customers. My webinars on the skills for managing and de-escalating big emotions on the phone, by email and in person, are in … Read more

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 addition – at … 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 much thought or … 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 conversation. Don’t be … Read more

Being Customer-Centric … Even on Vacation!

By Mary Jane Copps | June 18, 2021
empty office

Picture this … it’s mid-July or late August. You call a company or individual for some necessary information. They are on vacation, which is to be expected – especially this summer! What’s unexpected, frustrating and annoying is the voicemail message you reach. The message you reach might: be … 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. There’s a very … 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 phone played in … 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 always create a … 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 giving thanks for … 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 the tap was … 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, it’s important that … 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 several weeks for … 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 to other family … 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 more profitable for … 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 how to use … 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 directly impact the … 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 does, wherever 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 … and customers. … 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 to both you … 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 be both compassionate … 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 Sara realize and how … 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 comfortable and confident … Read more

CBC Radio
Maritime Noon with Bob Murphy - On the phone-in: Mary Jane Copps has advice on making phone calls to people who are phone-averse. Listen in >
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.