The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

customer experience

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

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 … 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I’m Thinking About: Loyalty

By Mary Jane Copps | September 30, 2018

The word “loyalty” has become strongly associated with marketing activities. There are loyalty cards and programs. There are special offers and prizes. Loyalty is something businesses strive to capture, yet, as illustrated in a recent post, don’t always know how to retain. Perhaps that’s because … Read more

Customer Service: It Takes A Village

By Mary Jane Copps | August 5, 2018

On July 22 I shared with you a challenge I was having with my accounting software, Sage, and how it was influencing my thoughts on customer service. Not only did I receive great comments on the post, it ended up inspiring numerous online, phone and … Read more

What I’m Thinking About: Customer Service

By Mary Jane Copps | July 22, 2018

I have a bill on my desk that is twice what I expected. It arrived from my accounting software company several months ago. Because I have this company set up for monthly auto payments, this large bill has already been paid … even though I … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part V

By Mary Jane Copps | June 9, 2018

A few weekends ago two events collided and created this post. The first was a drive across the bridge early Saturday morning to speak at a conference. Listening to the radio, I noted that the host of the program was encouraging listeners to email him … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part IV

By Mary Jane Copps | June 3, 2018

For all of us, no matter where we’ve lived, where we’ve travelled or what languages we speak, a phone call with an unfamiliar accent can be a challenge. What I discovered, when I moved from the Northern Ontario mining town of my childhood to Toronto, … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part III

By Mary Jane Copps | May 27, 2018

Every phone call has the potential to startle us and when this happens the most effective words can be difficult to find. For Heather Clarkson of the Employment Solutions Society this occurs “when people don’t follow through with what they were supposed to do, when they do … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part I

By Mary Jane Copps | May 13, 2018

The past two weeks I’ve received numerous emails from followers and clients with questions about difficult conversations. From accents to constant talkers, and from disrespectful language to unfulfilled promises, some phone calls are definitely challenging. The next few posts will feature my favourite strategies. And … Read more

Get Out Your Cape and Communicate!

By Mary Jane Copps | April 8, 2018

The memory is vague. I was visiting someone, somewhere, and the television was on. The talk show discussion, about marriage, drifted around us, a dull background hum. And then, like an unexpected tap on my shoulder, I heard this: “When you are not communicating, it … Read more

Customers That Do This … Want to Work With You!

By Mary Jane Copps | February 4, 2018

Andrea Kaye, owner of Alta-Sask Wellness, reminded me earlier this week of a very basic change in phone communication that has a big impact on her business. In her busy clinic she encounters this phone behaviour daily, and it’s possible you do, as well. Here’s … Read more

Letting Go of Human Connection

By Mary Jane Copps | November 12, 2017

I’m writing this on a chilly Sunday morning. I’ve just returned from our neighbourhood mailbox (a major construction project prevents us from gathering our mail daily). After sorting out the flyers, I chose to open an envelope from the Nova Scotia Health Authority. As I read the enclosed … Read more

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