By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker; Customer Service Expert; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training


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?” 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:

Hi, you’re looking well.

Thanks for being here.

You look super.

Nice to hear your voice.

I’m glad you called.

Glad to see you.

You’re sounding great.

Good to see you/ hear from you.

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

Thanks and please share.

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.