The Phone Lady's Blog

Inspire Conversation

phone customer service

5 Revelations about Phone Conversations in Today’s Workplace

By Mary Jane Copps | March 10, 2024
woman looking at phone with a shocked look on her face

Over the past 40 days, I’ve been hard at work completing a research project that’s very appropriate for The Phone Lady. It was inspired by a quick conversation last summer with a trusted colleague. We met on our neighbourhood trail in the early morning. Initially, he whizzed by … Read more

What Do We Undervalue?

By Mary Jane Copps | February 25, 2024

Following through on an idea, especially one that involves using unfamiliar skills or putting ourselves in the spotlight, is a tremendous challenge. The possibilities of failure, appearing foolish or wasting one’s time all conspire to create doubt and, perhaps, a bit of procrastination. I’m well acquainted with this … Read more

Creating a Great Impression, Miscommunication & Getting Answers

By Mary Jane Copps | July 9, 2023
young man talking on the phone

Whether it’s part of your work in sales or customer service, or phone conversations are part of your job search strategy, you want to continually practice the skills for creating a great impression. You also want to know ways to deal with a wide variety of communication hazards, … Read more

Summer School is Now in Session!

By Mary Jane Copps | June 23, 2023
woman using cell phone

Summer officially started this past Wednesday. There are very few places in the world as delightful as Atlantic Canada in the summer and I’m aiming to take full advantage. As I was thinking about the time I will spend with family and friends over the next two months, … Read more

Coaching Tips for Phone Phobia

By Mary Jane Copps | January 14, 2023
young woman working at desk looking at phone

Picking up the phone to contact and speak with customers or prospects is not “old-fashioned”. There are teams dedicated to this activity in industries that range from pharmaceuticals to finance, and from janitorial to consulting. Managing these teams, and producing the desired results (or exceeding them), can be … 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

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

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

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 add my perspective … Read more

To Listen and Learn … Press Mute

By Mary Jane Copps | October 5, 2019
phone conversation in office

It doesn’t seem to matter how many projects I do as The Phone Lady, I still get incredibly excited when I’m on a discovery call with a new client. As they start sharing their challenges with me, my brain shifts into high gear and I’m quickly bursting with … 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

The Four Factors That #InspireConversation

By Mary Jane Copps | February 24, 2019
man having a phone call

A factor is an “influence that contributes to a result or outcome”. With our prospects and customers, we want our conversations to move everyone forward into decision making and deeper relationships. There are four factors we need to work with to make this happen. Understanding the back story, … Read more

Coaching Yourself Through Setbacks

By Mary Jane Copps | February 17, 2019

In a recent workshop, a participant asked, “How can I stay focused and positive during difficult times, when no one is answering their phones or conversations aren’t resulting in booked appointments?” While I’m by no means an expert on creating optimism and enthusiasm, a recent setback taught me some important lessons. … 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 an impact. And … 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

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 hour contained a … 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 the impact when … 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 have no knowledge … 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 with a specific … Read more

Strategies for Difficult Conversations – Part II

By Mary Jane Copps | May 18, 2018

One person always makes an appearance at my customer service workshops and coaching sessions – someone I’ve named the “constant talker”. I discovered them years ago while doing call evaluations and listening to a 45-minute customer conversation during which the company representative maybe said 20 words. It was … 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 what Andrea shares … Read more

Are You a Work “Protectionist”?

By Mary Jane Copps | January 14, 2018

Admittedly I’m being very liberal in my use of the word “protectionist”, which means “someone who upholds the economic policy of restraining trade between states”. But for the past few years, a similar philosophy has surfaced in our daily business lives. In an effort to protect our time, … Read more

What Choice Will You Make?

By Mary Jane Copps | November 19, 2017

Last month I agreed to help a colleague book meetings with SaaS (software as a service) companies, primarily in California. This is work I enjoy and I’m able (usually) to deliver excellent results.  Also “working the phone” allows me to identify new communications trends and behaviours. While I can’t attach the … Read more

Top 5 Ways to Create an Excellent ‘On Hold’ Experience

By Mary Jane Copps | April 16, 2017

The first time I put someone on hold was 40 years ago. It was a summer job in the offices of an iron ore mine in Northern Ontario and there were very specific guidelines I had to follow. The etiquette of how to put someone on hold has … Read more

Communication Breakdown

By Mary Jane Copps | June 15, 2014

When communication between a customer and a company falls apart, it’s usually because the company representative forgot the #1 rule of great service … It’s Not About You! The example below provided courtesy of Scott Anderson: I recently called a well-known hardware store chain to confirm the barbecue … Read more

Communicating Your Desire to be of Service

By Mary Jane Copps | April 6, 2014

I want to thank my dear friend Janet E. Bardon,  HR Administrator,  Department of Psychiatry,  Dalhousie University for this week’s post. One of my core values in phone communication is we must always speak so that our customers “hear” our desire to be of service. The importance of … Read more

Stories of Do and Don’t

By Mary Jane Copps | November 24, 2013

Recent work calling into Vancouver has provided a great story of how not to answer the phone: At one association I was greeted by what I’ll call an “unengaged” receptionist. She wasn’t unpleasant, but she wasn’t welcoming either. She did not use her name when she answered the … 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.