By Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor

My mother lived with me in her last years. We enjoyed her sense of humor. Here’s part of what made me realize how useless the phrase, “Hi, how are you?” really is.

The house phone rang. Esther answered.

The man says, “Hi, Mrs. Friedman, this is Dan from XXX. How are you?”

My mother says – without missing a beat, “I’m so glad you called. I have a bad case of diarrhea, a terrible migraine, been vomiting all day, my pacemaker is running slower than normal, and I have a bad rash. How are you?”

He said, “Well, compared to you, a hell of a lot better” and hung up.

Point being, “Hi, how are you” is semi-useless especially to those we don’t even know. I’ve seen folks pass in the halls, in a mall, in an office, everywhere. One says, “Hi, how are you?” The other says, “Fine, how are you?” No one stops; they’re still walking and nothing was accomplished.

I’ve removed “Hi, how are you” from my vocabulary. It’s been replaced with any one of these phrases and I share them with you:

  • Good to see you.
  • Hi, you’re looking well.
  • Thanks for being here.
  • You look super.
  • Nice to hear your voice. (On phone)
  • I’m glad you called. (On phone)
  • You’re sounding great. (On phone)

 There are more. I just got the ball rolling. Anything but “Hi, how are you?”

 I’ve changed my mind. It’s not semi-useless; it is useless.

 Watch what happens when you change your tune. People start really listening to you.

 # # #

To download our Ebook, Hidden Gems, click here

For a demo of Nancy in action, and full keynote speaking packet, call 314.291.1012 or

Or email See how quickly she replies

Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a featured keynote speaker and subject matter expert on customer service, engagement opportunities and communications skills at franchise, association and corporate meetings.

Nancy has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and hundreds of other radio and TV shows. She has been published in Wall Street Journal with her column, “Don’t Strike Out with Your Customers.”

The author of eight books on sales, communications skills and customer service, Nancy is a subject matter expert on these topics. She is the spokesperson in the popular Telephone Doctor customer service training programs.

Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.