DiscoverSuccess ChampionsNancy Friedman Customer Service is the Answer
Nancy Friedman Customer Service is the Answer

Nancy Friedman Customer Service is the Answer

Update: 2019-06-14


Donnie B.: It's really, really fun when you get somebody on the show that has done some really cool things in their life. And when I'm talking to Nancy, I got to tell you, I love her humor. I love her wit. You can tell she's been in the acting scene and working in that customer service world for years. And I just love her spirit and energy, man. So as we dive into this week's episode, I want you to really listen because she dropped some real gems on really, how to be a great person, but it's all under the guise of customer service. I really enjoyed this one.

And as always, man, this show is brought to you by Point Blank Safety Services. And I got to tell you, as I continue on and learn more about their company, their business, I spend time with Michael and Stacey over there. I'm just really honored that they are supporting this show for as long as they have and the amount of love they've given us.

They are really doing a lot to change the game in Texas. We all know there's a ridiculous amount of construction going on, on a regular basis out here. Freeways are getting shut down, lane changes and everything else. And as those workers are out there, there's frustrations on both sides of the table of, the workers are frustrated because the cars are not slowing down. The drivers are frustrated because the workers are there. Somebody’s got to keep both sides of those safe and Stacey and Michael with Point Blank Safety Services, their company, their officers, their off-duty officers do amazing things keeping everybody safe on there.

So do me the favor, guys. Go visit their website at Send them a message. Follow them on social media and say, hi and let them know that you heard it on Success Champions. It would mean the world to me.


Donnie B.: All right, guys. This is going to be a killer episode. I'm so stoked and excited about this one. I'm bringing on Nancy Friedman, man and she has got just an awesome and amazing story. So sit back and enjoy this one. But I'm Donnie. This is Donnie’s Success Champions.

Ms. Nancy, welcome to the show, my dear.

Nancy F.: I am here and I am excited and I am glad that we got together. Thank you for the opportunity, my friend.

Donnie B.: Absolutely. Absolutely. So tell us who the heck you are.

Nancy F.: Well, I'm Nancy Friedman, the world's only Telephone Doctor. But I didn't just jump in and be that. So the little background story is a fun one and a good one. And I don't know how far you want me to go. But the bottom line is, I was born in Chicago, Illinois. You are not entitled to the year but I was born there, raised there and did a nice stint there. Married my husband and while he was working, he and my brother got together and said, “We're going to buy a radio station in San Diego.”

Well, that sounded like a good idea at the time. And we moved to San Diego and when I got there, Donnie, I was a young bride with a 6-month old baby, didn't know a soul in San Diego. It was a navy town then and very cliquish, if you will.

I don't need to tell you. You've been a marine. They stick with their own.

So the bottom line is, I got, not clinically depressed, but it was like, I want to go home. I don't like this. How can you not like San Diego? So I thought I was nuts.

My husband bought me a book that changed my life and it’s by Dale Carnegie, ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’. And the book is, you can pick any page and start it. You don't have to read it from front to back.

So the bottom line is, I opened a page and the chapter was, ‘What is the worst thing that can happen?’

Well, that’s a challenging question to ask somebody. What is the worst thing that can happen? Well, the worst thing that can happen in his eyes and mine too was death. That's the worst thing that can happen.

Well, I'm not going to die from being in San Diego. A lot of people lived there and they had fun. So I said, “Okay. I can deal with. What's the next worst thing?”

I went through the steps myself and I thought, “Okay.” And shortly after he got me the book, I happened to see a little tiny one-inch ad in the newspaper and it said, ‘Midway Theater for Adults’.

What the heck is that? Well, it was a high school who at night, turned theater classes into adult theater. And I said, “Okay, I'll go.”

He said, “Why don't you go? You'll meet some people. You’ll meet nerds in this theater, weirdos.”

“Okay, I’ll go.”

So I went and the first night I was there, they did an improv. Here's your subject and go up on stage and do a little, a minute or two improv.

Well, as I get up on the stage, there was enormous laughter. Maybe 35, 40 people in the room. And every comedian will tell you, the minute you hear laughter on the stage, you are addicted. It’s worse than any, yeah. It's worse than any drug.

Donnie B.: Podcasters were the same way. Just so you know.

Nancy F.: By the way, you cannot see me, but I can see you and your beautiful blue eyes.

Donnie B.: Oh, thanks, honey. I appreciate that. I call them my baby blues. They’re my moneymakers.

Nancy F.: Yeah, of course. I have them too but you can't see me. Anyway, bottom line, I was addicted and I went through that and we did a couple of shows for the Midway Theater School and then somebody told me, “Well, you know, there's a theater here in San Diego called the Old Globe Theater. Why don't you try out for that?”

Well, it was not a professional theater but it was high-tech, high-fun and very, very popular. Anyway, I got the part in San Diego and lo and behold, at the end of the year, they have their awards ceremony and little old Nancy Friedman won the old Globe Atlas Award for Best Comedic Actress. Charlton Heston had presented it to me.

So it didn't go to my head. It didn't go to my head. Very little goes to my head as my husband will tell you. But very little egotistically goes to my head. But anyway, I knew I had something.

Some people draw. Some people played bridge. Some people played tennis. I played theater and it really filled a niche for me.

So when we moved from San Diego from owning that radio station which I also helped run with my husband, the sales and service department, we moved. He bought another radio station with my brother in St. Louis and we moved to St. Louis. And by this time, I was real good at the office helping him set up the sales and service department. And in St. Louis, they had a theater, professional theater. So I had to join Equity.

And the bottom line there was my first show in St. Louis was with Gig Young. So I am a professional actress and I've appeared with Gig Young, Dan Dailey, Cesar Romero, Forrest Tucker, Don DeFore, Virginia, the list goes on, because they brought in, they're all dead now, so I can say this, B-actors who were like not through with Hollywood but they didn't have good parts for them. So theaters across the country would bring in those good actors, some of them great actors and put them in a theater and support them with the local talent, if you will.

And that's what I did for many, many years throughout the season. You'd have a six, eight-week run and two weeks of rehearsal. So if you did four or five a year, you had a nice healthy life. And I was working and I was raising two kids but I was a very happy camper.

So my husband started a company called Weatherline and that was the largest private provider of weather information by phone in the United States. We had over a hundred cities where we installed weather information machinery. We worked with radio stations to do the updating and we sold the sponsorships.

I won't say it's a confusing business but nobody really understood it. We always got, “Oh, okay. Well, that's nice.” Nobody understood what we were doing. But having owned a couple of radio stations, it was just in his blood.

So bottom line, that was very successful and he brought me in to work with the advertisers and keep them on the Weatherline system. So I became the one-woman renewal department, if you will. And my job was to make sure we never lost a client. Never lose a client was our motto.

And so we had the highest retention of clients that Lord, I've ever heard of. Well, not ever heard of, but it was pretty high. 70%, 80% people stayed with us. Why did they stay with us? Because of how they were treated by me.

I mean, the sales people go out and they sell and then what happens afterwards is up in the air sometimes. So we created this customer service department for just them and we kept them year after year after year and some of them stayed with us for 30 years. 30, 35 years. So that's an attest to, A, how good we were.

Donnie B.: Well, you’re either good on the phone or just really good-looking and charming. It's one of the two.

Nancy F.: Well, thank God I'm both. Anyway, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. But bottom line, I had a knack and it is a knack. Not everybody can talk to strangers about and I don't want to say nothing but about things they like and the ability to pop on a phone call and make sure we've asked them for time to talk and to set up those things.

We didn't have email when we started at Weatherline. So it was, you did pick up a phone and you were an interruption and you still are an interruption when you’d call somebody. But we didn't, there was no email that say, “Can you talk Thursday at three?” There was no Outlook invite. There was nothing like that.

Are you thinking I'm old now?

Donnie B.: No, honey. I grew up in the sales game, okay? And I literally grew up in the kicking in doors and cold calling.

Nancy F.: Tell me. I love that. Tell me what happened. Let me interview you.

Donnie B.: Well, but here's what's interesting about this is, I love the fact that you said not anybody can just pick up the phone and get into the small talk stuff because you're 100% right. And I usually dive into the more technical stuff on the backend of this but we're going because I just love your energy. But most times, when people get on a phone, they're so consumed with how that person on the other end is going to think about them.

Are they going to like me? Are they going to embrace what I'm thinking? Are they going to embrace what I'm saying? That they stumble over their words and next thing you know, they become that cheesy salesperson versus just going in and have the conversation. So I love this vibe. I love your approach. This is really, really good.

Nancy F.: You're right. It isn't for everybody. And which brings me to a tip that is going to come from left field, Donnie and I apologize. But so many people hire, sometimes, we hire people because they're breathing and that's not healthy. That's just not healthy.

As owners and managers, we’re desperate. So my first tip to owners and managers and I'm going off the reservation here for a moment, I apologize. But my first, I love this show and I can go where I want because I'm so ADD. I’ll come back. Okay.

Donnie B.: I got you.

Nancy F.: My first tip for owners and managers is, have your first interview with somebody on the telephone and all you need to do is say, “Donnie, tell me about yourself.”

Well, the first question, if they ask you, “What would you like to know?” That's a loser question. That's a loser question.

So if somebody says … as I said, tell me about yourself. How much clearer could I be?

So the bottom line is, they don't interview people on the phone. They think that face-to-face is first. No. Face-to-face is second. Especially if you're going to be on the phone. Especially if it's for a phone operation, so to speak.

Donnie B.: Nancy, here's what I love about this. For guests coming on my shows, now, I reached out to you because I really wanted to tell your story and be a part of that journey. But for most people, and I get a lot of people that reach out to come on the show, my first question is always, tell me your story.

I don't even half the time care what their story is. It's all about how they handle themselves in that response.

Nancy F.: Absolutely. Absolutely. And when you interview, you can hear their poor language or their good language. You can hear if they have a smile on their voice. I mean, you get everything you need from a phone interview and people miss that.

A very short story. I was pulled in to do a 10-city tour a few years ago. Well, many years ago with one of the largest telecommunications in the country. I'll leave their names out but you can guess who it was.

Bottom line, on one of the call centers, I heard some not-so-good calls. And I said, “Tell me about your interviewing process. Tell me how you hire.”

And she said, “Well, we do this test and we do that test and we do the disc. We do all that. We do this and the typing and the math.”

And I said, “Where's the phone interview?”

And deer in the headlights, she said, “What do you mean phone interview? They’re on the phone.”

“Yeah, but did you hear their voice before you hired them?”

And they hadn't, Donnie. They hadn't heard their voice. So they were getting, “Uh, can I, uh, uh, help, help, help you? Uh, I seen where … I seen,” and the poor language. I don't know that I changed the culture but man, I don't understand how you cannot do that interview.

Donnie B.: Well, it's even more important to people how to get into that game now because think about it, is less and less people are talking on phones. You got your social, you got your texting, your private messaging, direct messaging, all of this stuff that they often forget that the younger generations that are being grown up, they don't talk on phones. It's all their thumb work.

Nancy F.: Right.

Donnie B.: Go ahead.

Nancy F.: I'm sorry. Somebody once said to me a few years ago, “Is Telephone Doctor name, is it outdated?”

And I said just the other day to somebody, “Show me a company that doesn't have a phone. Show me a person that doesn't have a phone.” And they couldn't.

So the phone has not gone away. It's going to be here maybe in a different shape or size or whatever. But it's going to be around for a long time. And I don't care if you use two cans and a string. The bottom line to working on the phone is the smile and there’s the tone of voice. And you know, you talk about millennials, we train a lot of them in the programs. They are sponges, Donnie. They are sponges. They don't want to be stupid. They don't want to be not smart. They want to know things.

So when I do a program, I will say that the seasoned people, older than I am, come up and say, “Wow. That was good stuff. I really needed that refresher.” And then the millennials, the 25 to 35 come in and say, “No, I didn't know about that.”

Well, of course, I don't want to put their nose in it, but it's not taught in our schools. It's not taught in colleges. It’s not taught in high school. It's not taught in grade school. So Mom and Dad sometimes have to pick up or Nancy Friedman picks up.

Donnie B.: Right, right, right. This is interesting because I love what you're doing and it is such a needed talent and skill that I for one believe sales should be taught in school anyways because we need to learn that skillset because if the economy tanks and everything else, you can always find a sales job.

Nancy F.: Absolutely.

Donnie B.: So it's interesting. How much do you think your acting and that career prepared you for what you're doing now

Nancy F.: 100%. 100% without even thinking about it. One of the other questions I ask in an interview is, have you ever had any theater experience? I don't care if it was band or cheerleading or something where you had to entertain people somehow, somewhere, someplace and those that have it, get it.

I mean, they get that you're on for two hours or you’re on for the shit length of the show. If you've never done that, there's a slight misstep in, “Oh, I have to smile? Oh, really? But they can't see me.”

Yes, they can. They mentally see you. If I did this interview without a smile on my face, you would not be a happy camper.

Donnie B.: True. True.

Nancy F.: So I'm sitting here like an idiot. No, not like an idiot.

Donnie B.: I got that recorded, Nancy.

Nancy F.: That's all right. That's all right. But we walked on the airports with a little smile on our face. I'm slightly depressed when I walk through the airports when I see the frowns on people.

It's like, “Good Lord, you're healthy. You're walking. You're going someplace. Put a little scat grin on your face.” I don't know.

Donnie B.: Absolutely. That's a really cool insider tip because when I was training sales companies across the US, I would constantly tell them, “Hire the athletes for sales role because you want somebody that can compete and understands what it takes to win a game.” And I love the fact that you just threw out there for your phone workers, maybe your inside reps, those type of people you're putting out there. Go find somebody who has the acting skills. And they understand how to entertain a room. That's brilliant because really, I'd never put that out there.

Nancy F.: Well, thank you. But it doesn't have to be theater. It doesn't have to be a stage. It could be like a, say, chorus. It could be cheerleading. Watch those young girls on that cheerleading field with those smiles. I mean, some of them got a bad foot. Some of them don't feel like it. Somebody just broke up with their boyfriend. But they're not allowed to show it.

Donnie B.: Right, right, right. No, that's really, really, really great advice.

Nancy F.: Well, we got a lot of good tips and it's all common sense and I'm very proud of Telephone Doctor’s content. I would put it up against anybody's.

Donnie B.: So how did it start? I mean, you go from an actor that's won awards, hung out with some really, really cool names that I actually recognize and well, you know, I'm not a spring chicken anymore. I tell everybody that I'm not getting older. I'm getting seasoned.

Nancy F.: That’s my word. Yeah. We’re seasoned. Okay, good. Well …

Donnie B.: This isn't gray in my beard. It's chrome, okay?

Nancy F.: It’s classy. Don't worry about it. It’s very classy. Sexy.

Donnie B.: Thank you.

Nancy F.: Oh, you wanted the sexy voice. All right. Let me give you the sexy voice.

Donnie B.: Nancy, you and I are going to become best friends.

Nancy F.: I hope so. I would love this. Bottom line, let me get to how I became the Telephone Doctor. I was saving accounts at my husband's business and one day, I had to call the insurance agent and it wasn't a very good call. They were not … even on the 1 to 10, they weren’t a 3. That’s how I grade people. So I called back my agent and I said, “Cancel all my policies.”

He said, “What happened?

I said, “Your people stink. They're so unfriendly. They're unhelpful. They don't smile. They one-word answer. I don't need to be treated like that.”

He said, “Oh my gosh.” He says, “When I call your office, I'm treated like a king and I'm not even a customer.”

So he got it right away and he said, “Would you come to my office and train my people?”

And I said, “All right.”

So I went to his office out of love and like I say, the last time I did it out of love, but I went to his office and they had 14, 15, 16 people sitting there drinking coffee and I had a cup of coffee. And finally, I stood up.

Michael said, “Okay. Nancy's going to talk with you.”

So I stood up and I said, “Well, at our office we say please.”

And one woman hit the other and said, “Write that down. That's a good one.”

Donnie B.: Oh, Lord.

Nancy F.: And I said, “Thank you.” And I said, “Say, you're welcome. Say, have a nice day. Say, oh, wow once in a while.” Something that I know you're on the line and I don't think I spoke 15 minutes, started to walk out the door. The President of the insurance agency stopped me and said, “Thank you very much, Nancy. We really learned some new things.”

Man, I came home, had a drink with my husband. I said, “Dick, let me tell you what happened today.” So I told him all about what happened.

I said, “I was walking out the door and the President of the insurance agency said, ‘Thank you. We really learned some new things.’ Dick, things that you and I do like breathing in and breathing out, I don't understand.”

And Dick looked me right in the eye and said, “Nancy, don't ever be surprised. No one has ever shown them.”

Well, I mentioned this same story that I cared to share here with you today to the then general manager of a newspaper in Davenport, Iowa, the Quad-City Times and he was one of our Weatherline clients and he heard what I was doing.

He said, “I want you to come up and train my people.”

I said, “Well, great. How many do you have?”

He said, “300.”

I looked at my husband. I said, “Now, look what you got me into.”

Donnie B.: Of course because now, it’s his fault.

Nancy F.: Yeah, right. Of course. Thank you. That was the typing mistakes on my email if you'd noticed, I put that. But anyway, I went up and the first program was done for the classified department, the sales department because they weren't doing so well. And I did my program and at the end of the program, the editor of the Quad-City Times came up. He said, “You know what, you're very good as you're sure of all the cures.” And he thought for a moment and he snapped his fingers. He said, “I'm going to call you the Doctor. I'm going to call you the Telephone Doctor.”

And I came running home to Dick. I said, “Dick, some guy called me the Telephone Doctor. What should we do?”

He said, “Let's go get it registered. We're going to have some fun and fun we’ve been having.”

Donnie B.: I like Dick. He’s a good dude.

Nancy F.: He's a wordsmith. Thank you. Dick is another story. He's the one with the tendon operation. Anyway, about him. He just had an emergency Achilles tendon operation. That's a whole other interview. Okay.

Caregiving. Not in my DNA.

All right. So bottom line …

Donnie B.: You’re the actor. So it makes sense.

Nancy F.: Oh, last two weeks. Anyway, no. He's been a good patient.

Donnie B.: That’s awesome.

Nancy F.: The bottom line is, we got it registered and I did a few little programs around town. Word gets around. We were competing when we started 30 years ago, Donnie. Computers were just coming out. So if I would call up and say, “I’m Nancy Friedman. We've got some tips on how you can treat your customers.”

“Oh, no. We just bought a computer.”

Well, that's important because there's nobody involved with that except you and your keyboard. So it was a tough row at first but newspapers heard about what I did at the Quad-City Times. And if you're familiar with newspapers at that time, it was a snowball effect. I did about eight or ten, I think it was even more than that, newspapers across the country because they were desperate.

You've been in sales. You know how desperate to reach out when somebody can help you. So we've helped a lot of companies. From there, it's been a wonderful ride. It's a small family-owned business. Mother, father, son and daughter. 23 employees in a 10,000-square foot building in St. Louis, Missouri and we are an international customer service training company now. So we help companies communicate better with their customers.

Donnie B.: So let’s go back to that first time you’re standing in front of the insurance company. You walk into a room … I'm going to make the assumption that you are somewhat unprepared because you didn't really know what the heck you were going to talk to them about other than that they should be nicer on the phone. Was that an improv moment for you?

Nancy F.: You’re very observant. You're very observant because it was like the next day from the phone call to come to my office was the next day and right. There were no notes involved.

So Nancy spoke from her heart and when you have a passion about something, you can talk 45 minutes, an hour, you can talk all day about something you know and love. Ask me about NASA, ask me about some other things and it's, “Goodbye. Have a nice day.” But if you want to talk about communication, sales and customer service, we can go deep. We can go deep. And that's what happened.

We decided, as a company, we want to go deep. We don't want to be all things to all people. That's how you spread yourself too thin in our opinion. We're not a department store. We're a boutique.

Donnie B.: Right.

Nancy F.: Big difference.

Donnie B.: And I hope people heard that. Because there's a lot of people that are trying to get on stages and they're trying to build platforms and everything else and they're struggling to come up with content and gosh, it comes down to, speak to what you know, speak to what you love and it'll just come.

I mean, I'm sure you're the same way, Nancy. You go in front of a room and somebody is just going to put you on a spot and you're going to be able to go without any pretext. And I know I do the same thing when I speak all over the world as well. And it's just funny to me, the people that come up to me and they’re like, “How do you do that?”

I'm like, “Do what?”

Nancy F.: It's in your DNA. It’s in your DNA. What I'm not able to do and you and I both know people who do this. A friend of mine who speaks. He's like, “I got to ask for a topic and I don't remember what it was. I know nothing about it but I'll Google it and I'll be able to do a program.”

And I'm thinking to myself, I could never do that. I could never cheat client. And that's what I call it.

If you're not an expert, we can all Google it and we can all look at something but it doesn't come from the heart. It just doesn't come from the heart. You've heard and seen speakers talk about things that they know nothing about.

Take the actors on TV when they go to an interview. Jimmy Fallon and whatever else. Who else is on TV? I don't stay up that late.

Donnie B.: Me neither.

Nancy F.: They talk about things that they shouldn't be talking about and you get a lot of ‘ums’, you get a lot of, ‘I got to think about this’. If they're not an expert in it, let them talk about acting. That's what they know.

Donnie B.: No, I absolutely agree with you. It's interesting because there's so many people that want to be and do and accomplish something greater and they are doing these big things but not doing them well because they're not going back to their roots and doing what they know.

I mean, that first time you stood in front of that group and spoke, I mean, I'm sure you did well but I can almost guarantee that when you walked away, you immediately went, “I could've done this better.”

Nancy F.: Oh, absolutely. Yes. Yes. Or I forgot to tell them or something. So I speak without notes. I don't use PowerPoint and it just … it does …

Donnie B.: Oh, I love you even more. Thank you.

Nancy F.: I don't. Well, I'm a believer that you cannot do two things well at once. And the keyword there is well. A woman came up to me one time. She goes, “I multitask. I can do two things.”

I said, “You missed the whole point, honey. You cannot do two things well at once.” We can all do two things. But one of them is going to … if I were right now typing emails on the side and doing an interview, one thing would suffer. The interview or the emails.

So concentration and doing one thing at a time when it's important to you is critical in my opinion.

Donnie B.: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. So now, you're this world-class, world-famous Telephone Doctor which is just a brilliant name. Because I love it when a name readily tells you what you're about to get into.

Nancy F.: You don't think it's outdated, do you?

Donnie B.: No. Here's the thing, is I think technology eventually is going to get to a point where it's just going to become voice.

Nancy F.: Voice Doctor. Oh, that’s good. The Voice Doctor.

Donnie B.: Yeah. And you know, so there's always going to be verbal communication. How that verbal communication happens is going to change. The dynamics are going to change. Like you and I are talking to our computers right now, you know? But there's always going to be verbal interaction between people.

Nancy F.: I love that. I love that.

Donnie B.: That's where your niche and your world is going to continue to teach and define because it's more and more needed because as we've talked about, the younger generation is coming up which I love because they're so spontaneous. They’re so brilliant. I love the way their minds work but they didn't learn some of the basic skills that your generation, my generation grew up with.

I mean, we grew up in the era of, “Yes, Ma'am. No, Ma'am.” We grew up in the eras of, here's how you answer a phone, here's how you be polite and those type of things.

Doing what you're doing is teaching the generations that didn't get that kind of stuff. They grew up fast-finger and their thumbs and girl, I think you’re in one hell of a spot.

Nancy F.: Thank you. Thank you. Well, it's funny that you say that. I was speaking a couple of months ago and a young gal came up, beautiful gal, 25 years old, folded arms, very defense. Right before a program, she says, “You're not going to tell us how bad we are, are you?”

I said, “Why would I do that?”

She said, “Well, the last speaker told us how bad the millennials were.”

I said, “Sit down. Just take your notes and listen.”

Donnie B.: Shut up and listen.

Nancy F.: Yeah. If speakers are going to get up there and say, “Hey, you millennials, you got it wrong,” you're never going to make a friend. I mean, these guys are starved for information.

Donnie B.: They are.

Nancy F.: They don't know everything. They may not want to admit it, but they don't. My friend of mine was trying to work a remote I had down at the condo and he couldn't get it and I said,

“How old are you?”

He said, “21.”

“Give me the remote. I will show you how to work it.”

He couldn't work the remote and it wasn't an old-fashioned remote. He just couldn't figure it out. So they don't know everything.

Donnie B.: Yeah. And the fun thing with it is and Dr. Stevie Dawn, a really good friend of mine, she's the one who originally told me this idea and I was doing a lot of sales training and I was struggling. Admittedly, I was struggling to teach some of the younger generation how to do sales because I wasn't changing my training process to meet them where they were at.

I was ten steps ahead of them and it took me a while to wrap my head around them and what she told me, she's like, “Look, how old were you when you had your first job?”

And I said, “Well, working for the family or someone else?”

And she said, “Working for somebody else.”

And I said, “14.”

She goes, “What you got to remember is people coming out of colleges now, this is their first job they've ever had.”

Nancy F.: Probably, yeah. Good point.

Donnie B.: “This is the first time they’ve ever been employed.” She said, “What was your first real job?”

And I said, “I was a busboy at a catfish restaurant.”

And she goes, “During that, I’m betting somebody didn't just hand you a bucket and say pick up things. I'm betting somebody walked you around, showed you how to clear a table, how to clean it off and kind of took you step by step.”

And I said, “Yeah. That’s pretty much how it worked.”

And she goes, “Well, that's what you got to do with the younger generation coming into the companies is you got to kind of take them not by the hand. I don't want to baby them. It's not what I'm trying to say but you've got to show them step by step.” And that clicked for me.

Nancy F.: It does. And it does click for them. And she's right. You're right. These are not bad people and the other thing that I discovered all by myself, every generation was a millennial.

Donnie B.: Yes.

Nancy F.: They just wear a different name. We have all been through that. My mother passed away but she left me with one of the best sayings in the whole wide world. “Nancy, there's very little new. Just new people doing it.”

And boy, does that save me from letting my head get too big or my feet off the ground. I mean, we all think we invented stuff but if you do look it up, somebody in 1842 thought of it already.

Donnie B.: Yeah. That is the truth.

Nancy F.: And it’s just, you can be part of it but those people that think they invented stuff, very frustrating for me. So I just, I go by the motto, “Very little new. Just new people doing it.” So …

Donnie B.: That's awesome. That's awesome. So now, you're teaching people all over the world these skills and are teaching them how to have proper phone etiquette and everything else. Do you typically do that through like classroom training or is it keynote style or do you have teams that now go out and help you do all the training?

Nancy F.: Well, let me answer the last question first. There's only one person that goes out and does the training and that's me. We do large and small groups but the bottom line here is … I'm sorry. I don't know what that dinging is. If it's my side.

Donnie B.: Yeah, you're good. You're good.

Nancy F.: Okay. Thank you. I like good. I like good a lot. My style is, my drug of choice is humor. So every program that we do, we'll have laughter, we'll have interaction, it will be engaging.

Whether it's a small group or a large group.

An answer to your question, it could be keynote, it could be classroom, it could be workshop, it could be anything, it could be webinar, it could be whatever we want. Disseminating the information is simply a tool. As long as you got the right content, it doesn't matter how you do it.

So whatever the client needs and you know, Donnie, the United States does not have a monopoly on poor customer service. It is a universal situation.

Donnie B.: Yes.

Nancy F.: You go all over and they have the same complaints we do from voicemail to sales problems. We went to the UK a couple of years ago. When we walked in, nobody said anything. When we walked out, nobody said anything. And finally, we walked out of one store and we said, “We're welcome!” And we walked out.

Donnie B.: We're welcome.

Nancy F.: We’re welcome.

Donnie B.: I got to be honest. My wife gets on me for this one. You’re at a store. You’re at somewhere. And I was brought up that if you're in somebody's way, you say, “Oh, I'm sorry. Excuse me.” And then you move out of the way.

Nancy F.: Right.

Donnie B.: And my wife gets on me all the time because I'll walk up, somebody will kind of give me a dirty look, like, who the hell am I? And they'll eventually move out of the way and I will make sure that everybody around me knows that I say, “Oh, no, no, no. Really, you’re welcome.”

She's like, “Honey, you've got to quit doing that.”

I'm like, “Come on. It's just common courtesy.”

Nancy F.: It is. It’s cute. You never know who you're going to offend. You and I have not similar personalities but we're not afraid to say something and sadly, I have open mouth, insert foot.

For example, I was at the grocery store the other day and behind me was a gentleman with just as much liquor as he could put in there. Vodka, gin, everything.

And I said, “Boy, you're going to have a …” And I thought to myself, “Don't do this, Nancy. Don't do this, Nancy.” But Nancy didn't listen to her. So I said, “Boy, you're going to have a fun time tonight.”

He said, “No, Ma'am. I'm a priest. This is going elsewhere.” So he said, “I don't drink.” So he didn't get offended but …

Donnie B.: Now, if it was me, I would have immediately gone into full Sherlock Holmes mode and gone, “Okay. Why is a priest buying that much liquor? If it's going elsewhere, my house is right down the road.”

Nancy F.: I mean, I just was glad I was ahead of him and left. I didn't need any more conversation with him. But sometimes, you know when you say something, it's not going to come out 100% the way you wanted it. And I felt it wasn't but if somebody buys that much liquor, there's a story behind it.

Donnie B.: But that's also one of the tragedies of the time is, I am a smart aleck by nature. I'm loud. And when I'm in a room, everybody knows I'm there. If you don't know I’m there, give it five seconds. You're going to know I’m there. And it's frustrating to watch how you can't say anything anymore.

Nancy F.: Oh, Donnie, if you're still out speaking, you know that as I go around the room, I'll sit on a lap, take a picture and post it. And I've been having a lot of time for years with that. And somebody came to me the other day and said, I call it, “Here, I'm having a fun lap dance with Donnie Smith. Having a fun a lap dance at this program.”

And they said, “It's not politically correct.”

I said, “You're kidding me. You're kidding me.”

He said, “No. Call it something else.”

Well, what I said I'd call it was not politically correct either but you can't say lap dance on social media now? No, you can't say lap dance on social media now.

So people like you and me and I or whatever the right word is, we’re sometimes stymied because we got good stuff to share that is not going to hurt anybody.

Donnie B.: Yeah. And you know, it's getting to the point to where you're not going to be able to say anything. It’s because people are becoming too, I don’t know if sensitive is the right word and I'm going to catch hell for this, I'm sure. But you know, suck it up. Get over it.

Nancy F.: Thank you. That's a whole other program, isn't it? I mean …

Donnie B.: It is. It really is.

Nancy F.: It's what you can and what you can’t say and somebody should make a list because I'm sure it would be laughable. But anyway, I'm enjoying myself. You are a wonderful interviewer and it makes me feel quite at home.

You've got quite a story. And of course, my inquisitive nature and I would love to hear more about the Marines. Thank you for serving, number one.

Donnie B.: My honor. My honor.

Nancy F.: Thank you. So go ahead. You've got good questions. What do you need to know? Now, yes. I'm the world's only Telephone Doctor.

Donnie B.: No, I got you. I got you. So you're bringing humor, you’re bringing comedy into the presentations which is not easy for most people. I think I've seen a lot of people try and bring humor and comedy into their speeches and it's forced.

Nancy F.: It's a dud.

Donnie B.: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So how do you … I mean, I know it's coming from your acting and stuff but how do you intertwine it in? Is it the improv coming out in you? Or is we’d done it so many times over the years, it's a natural flow process?

Nancy F.: Nobody's really asked me that. I believe that people that have ability to make people laugh, that's their gene. That's their way of talking to people. You can do it in writing in a blog. You can do it on face-to-face. You can do it on the telephone. It's just something that you enjoy doing and you and I know timing is everything.

Donnie B.: Yes.

Nancy F.: Timing is everything. So no, do I have a few jokes? Yeah. But I mean, that's not what I

do. I don't stand up there and tell jokes. It can be and everybody knows this. From a classroom teacher and teaching Algebra to a huge speaker. I've heard speakers and you have too that get paid a heck of a lot more than I do standing on stage and they don't have it. They don't have the timing. They don't have the ware. They don't have the confidence.

So I don't have the answer to that. But you know, you take somebody like Jerry Seinfeld. He's a clean comic. Sometimes, it’s just the look.

Donnie B.: Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting. And I'm asking because this is what works for me a lot of times is, the more I end up laughing at myself over something that may have just come out of my mouth, I think it entices the crowd to laugh along with you.

Nancy F.: Yeah. Self-deprecation has always been and always will be and it started from Jack Benny. It started a hundred years ago, self-deprecation but it shouldn't get to be too personal. That's what some people like to do. They like to tell their life story and everything.

I'm making a lot of fun with my husband on the blog. He's laid up for two weeks with his operation and I said, “The other day, I fed him breakfast and then he wanted lunch. That's a heck of a lot of nerve to want two meals in one day.” But I didn't have to think about that. That just came out.

Donnie B.: Right, right, right, right. And I think that's some of the best humor though, is the one that's relatable in real life and makes sense. That's funny.

Nancy F.: I believe we both feel the same way on that one.

Donnie B.: Yeah. So where do you think this journey is going to take you, hon? You've had one hell of a life of acting to the telephone queen and all of this, where is this all going to take you?

Nancy F.: Well, you know who knows that and He’s the only one that does. Some people say, “Nancy, when are you going to retire?”

And my answer without missing a beat is, “When they stop asking me.” That's my signal.

So right now, I've got a few programs booked into 2020. Has it slowed down? Yes. But that's sort of by choice as well as anything else because there's new people coming around. There was a time when I was doing commercials and I couldn't find the time of day because I was doing so many commercials. But then the wheel turns and the new voice comes along or a new person comes along.

So we all get our turn and if you overstay your visit, what do they say? It’s like fish. It starts to smell.

I've just been blessed. I can't complain. I won't complain. I'm not a complainer. I'm just happy where I am. My son, David is doing a terrific job in pulling Telephone Doctor up where it should be. Not that I didn't but he's going to move it along and if there won't be a Telephone Doctor, I don't know that … I couldn't tell you if there is. There won't be another Telephone Doctor because that's like saying, “Who's going to be the next Kentucky Fried Chicken guy?”

Donnie B.: Right.

Nancy F.: I mean, there's only one Kentucky Fried Chicken guy and that's his face. So …

Donnie B.: Yup. Yup. So Nancy, I tell you, this has been awesome. I love that I got to be a part of your journey and be a part of sharing your story with the champions that listen to this show. Thanks for doing that.

Nancy F.: Well, you have been a pleasure and there's obviously so much now. Like you said, I’m thinking, “Oh, why didn't I say that? Why didn't I tell him this?” So I'm right back to square one.

Donnie B.: Right. But here's the thing, is everybody's got a story. Everybody's got a journey. And I love the fact that you've been so raw, so real because that always works best when people hear this story and if there's things that were left on the table and unsaid, all the more reason for people to inquire and learn more about what you're doing and everything.

So in that vein, how do people get in touch with you?

Nancy F.: Well, thank you. I appreciate that. is the website and the office number is in Saint Louis, (314) 291-1012. You always repeat a phone number twice and slowly, Donnie. You never just give a phone number once. Especially on a voicemail or cellphone. (314) Saint Louis. That's another little tip is if you're calling outside, put the city. Not everybody knows every area code in the world. So 314 is Saint Louis, 291-1012 and that's the other thing I tell you is say your phone number in two digits rather than four digits. 10-12 is better than 1-0-1-2 because people will say, “Was it 1-0-2-1? What was it?”


Donnie B.: I didn't even ask. So I lived for three years in Saint Louis.

Nancy F.: Did you?

Donnie B.: I did. I lived in the O’Fallon area.

Nancy F.: Okay, that's good.

Donnie B.: Are you guys close to Downtown?

Nancy F.: Bridgeton. We're in Bridgeton, a suburb of St. Louis right off 270.

Donnie B.: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Nancy F.: What did you do in Saint Louis?

Donnie B.: I worked for a company called Medicine Shoppe International.

Nancy F.: No kidding.

Donnie B.: Yeah, absolutely.

Nancy F.: Wow. Did you know Ray Pippen?

Donnie B.: Ray Pippen, that name sounds really, really familiar.

Nancy F.: We should do lunch one day.

Donnie B.: Okay.

Nancy F.: You're in Houston, right?

Donnie B.: No. I'm in Fort Worth outside of Dallas.

Nancy F.: Oh, Fort Worth, Dallas. That's even better. I got a lot of friends there. Okay.

Donnie B.: If you’re in town, let me know. I will meet you anywhere you want to meet.

Nancy F.: Bless your heart. You are one super-dooper guy. You have your own success story. I do a little mini, itty-bitty podcast. I would be honored to get your story on.

Donnie B.: Absolutely. Let's set that up.

Well, Nancy, here's how I wrap up every show and I do stump some people. So get ready for this. You're going to need your improv skills.

If you were going to leave the champions who listen to this show, entrepreneurs, business-owners, veterans, people from 78 countries now that are tuning into this show, if you were going to leave them with a quote, a saying, a phrase, a mantra, something they can take with them on their journey especially if they're stacked up against it and going through it, what would be that quote or phrase you would say, “Remember this,”?

Nancy F.: “Don’t forget the guy who brought you to the dance.”

Donnie B.: God, I love you. You’re so awesome.

Nancy F.: That just means a lot to me because in our lives, there's always somebody that we got to go back and say, “Hey, remember 14 years ago when you told me or helped me?” That person will always remember. It's your success that he was or she was part of it.

“Don't ever forget the guy who brought you to the dance.”

Donnie B.: Yeah. And in that vein, a mentor of mine said, “Donnie, every once in a while, you need to go on whatever social platform you are on and just thank the people that have helped you on your journey because they're the ones still rooting you on.”

Nancy F.: Absolutely.

Donnie B.: I just thought that was just great advice and I got to tell you, I did that post, I don’t know, a couple of months back and I got a little teary-eyed just saying thanks to some of the people that have helped me on my journey and saw more than I saw myself especially in the younger years.

Nancy F.: Everybody likes to see their name in print.

Donnie B.: Absolutely.

Nancy F.: Except in their obituary. But everybody …

Donnie B.: Or maybe on the post office wall.

Nancy F.: Right. But the bottom line is, everybody likes to see their name in print. Everybody. Show me somebody who doesn't want to say or hear, “Thank you. I appreciate what you've been in my life.”

So we are on the same wavelength. You get a free lunch coming when I get to Dallas or you come to Saint Louis. You've been wonderful. Thank you.

Donnie B.: Thank you, Nancy. I really enjoyed this.

Nancy F.: Pleasure.


Donnie B.: Man, thanks for staying with me so long on this episode. It was such a great one. I mean, I love it when we can sit there and laugh and joke all the way through and Nancy was just such a fun blessing on this one.

Hey, as you're going through your life, I know a lot of times, as I was on my entrepreneur journey, I kept trying to put myself on an island. I really thought I didn't need help. I didn't need advice. So I kept trying to do everything on my own.

Once I realized that you've got to surround yourself with the badasses in life that are going for it because you get that energy and that vibe of others who are rising and getting after it and doing more, you really start upping your game and then it becomes more of learning through osmosis than kind of that forced learning that you see everywhere out there.

If that's something you're looking for, you really need to come hang out at Success Champions, our Facebook group. We are dropping a ton of content in there, a lot of learning, some golden nuggets and just a tremendous amount of value.

There is daily post, awesome Friday Facebook Lives and it is just the place where badasses hang out and rise. So go to Facebook, type in the words, ‘success champion’ in the search bar, click on Groups. It'll be the first group that pops up. Jump in, come say hello and introduce yourself. We're looking forward to seeing you in there.

And then guys, the way this show continues to grow and we continue to bring you the awesome guests that we've been able to bring is from your reviews, your shares, your telling a friend about this. So if this show, this energy brings you any value whatsoever, do me a favor. Leave a rating and review and share it with just one friend and let us know. Send us an email and let us know what this show has done for you.

Thanks for always, guys for tuning in. I appreciate you. I love you. Thanks for your support and let's continue rising together.

Success Champions

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Nancy Friedman Customer Service is the Answer

Nancy Friedman Customer Service is the Answer

Donnie Boivin, Freddi Fri, Nancy Friedman