TIP 19: Don’t Interrupt Your Personal Phone Call to Help a Customer.

Excuse me, this is a private conversation.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned Talking on His Cell Phone

“Chatting with my friends on the phone is my priority. You’ll just have to wait. Not to mention the texting I have to do when I get off the phone. So just cool your jets and don’t irritate me. After all, I’m doing you a favor by waiting on you, aren’t I?”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“Customer service has its basis in good manners. Customers don’t care how busy you are with anything or anyone else. All they care about is how well you treat them. Devote your full attention to their transaction. There’s nothing worse than an employee trying to multitask while serving the customer.

Have you ever walked into a store knowing exactly what you wanted? But when you gathered your items and walked over to the checkout area to pay, the cashier was busy telling another cashier how her boyfriend forgot to pick her up, and what a jerk he was, and why she wants to break up with him. They never turned to recognize you. Instead, they continued their conversation. How did that make you feel? Irritated? Did you put the items down and leave? I know I would.”

A Real World Example

Michael from New Jersey was in one of my seminars and shared this story with me:

“I was at the lumber yard the other day. After ordering two dozen pieces of lumber, I was told that the guy in the yard was going to help me load it into my truck. I located the guy and he proceeded to help me load. After a few minutes, his cell phone rang. Shockingly, he answered the phone while holding the other end of a heavy piece of lumber with me on the opposite end. He was obviously struggling. One hand was not enough to hold his end of the lumber, so he put his cell phone on his shoulder and shrugged to keep it in place with his ear. Clearly it was a friend on the other end of the phone because he answered with ‘What’s up?’ He attempted to help me with the heavy lumber but was unsuccessful. This was not only slowing me down, but it was extremely dangerous. After a minute of this, I became frustrated and said, ‘Get off the phone and use your hands properly.’ (Dumb ass…) Quietly he did so. After my truck was loaded and ready, I walked back to the lumber yard’s office and spoke with the manager. I told him what had just happened. The manager said, ‘He did NOT do that, did he?’ The manager assured me that action would be taken.  He also informed me that this employee had a history of this type of behavior and was warned repeatedly. When I returned a week later, I learned ‘Mr Cell Phone’ was no longer an employee there.

Moral to the story: If you’re going to help your customer 100%, you will need to use both hands!

Strategies to Turn This Around

Focus 100% on the customer.

  1. Stop working on other tasks.
  2. Stop all personal conversations, texting, and Facebooking.
  3. Perform steps one and two with enthusiasm and a smile.


Remember: No matter how busy you are, the customer always comes first.

“Give them your full attention. Always treat the client you are speaking with as if they are your only client.” 

— Phyllis Pometta

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

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