A few years ago, I interviewed and subsequently hired a woman for a position on the phones at our office. At Telephone Doctor, our customer service techniques are a condition of employment.

In this particular case, the young lady we interviewed was spectacular. She said the right thing. She looked right. She was the most positive, upbeat, happy individual we'd seen in a long time. We laughed and had a wonderful interview. Her laugh seemed contagious. Her beautiful smile was constant. Her positive mental attitude was perfect. She had faced much adversity in her life and she explained how she handled it with the same great mentality.

Her name was Carol.

I was impressed. After she left I thought about her. "Gee," I thought to myself, "what a special person this could be for us." Carol came back a day or so later for the 2nd interview. Again, the same wonderful personality. Her friendliness was so natural, so outgoing you wanted to bottle it. Bingo - Carol was hired on the spot. Everyone I introduced her to was very excited.

She went into our training program with gusto. She learned the Telephone Doctor products quickly and after three or four weeks we put Carol on the phones, to call our clients.

One day, shortly after she was put on the phones, I was walking past her office. I paused to listen to her thinking how great she'd be. Well, I almost fell over. Here was the same lady, but her entire personality had changed. The voice I heard was downbeat; almost depressing. There sure was no smile in her voice. The conversation she had going with a client was stilted and cold. One word answers. It was, to put it mildly, shocking and frankly, embarrassing.

I quickly called Carol into my office. "Carol," I said, "what happened? When we interviewed you a few weeks ago, you were wonderful. You were so cheerful, so happy, so full of life. Your voice had a personality I wanted to bottle. And now, while I was listening to you, it seemed as though you were an entirely different person. Your voice was down, there was no personality. You seemed cold and unfriendly. What happened?"

"Oh," she said without missing a beat and very firmly, "when we interviewed - that was different. We're like friends. That was fun. These are business calls. That's different."

"Wrong" I said, "these are our business friends and they need to be treated as such." I told her if she was going to give me half her personality I'd give her half her pay.

P.S. - Carol doesn't work here anymore.

Think about your interview. Did you tell the person you interviewed with you loved people? That you're a "people" person? That you loved to be busy? Did you smile during the interview to impress them? Why be any different to your customers?

Remember, customers are our business friends and deserve the same treatment as that 'great' interview you gave.

Don't be a "Carol." Be you. Be the person they interviewed. All the time.

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Reprinted with permission of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. Nancy Friedman is a featured speaker at franchise, association & corporate meetings. She has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning & many others. For more information, call 314-291-1012 or visit www.nancyfriedman.com.

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