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

If this hasn’t happened to you yet, my bet is it will.

You see the name or a number you recognize on the phone and pick it up with, “Hi Joe” (or whoever it says).

And low and behold – guess what? It’s not Joe.

Ok, not terrible. A mistake. But picture this true story:

A former assistant’s desk phone rang. It showed the number of her boyfriend on her caller ID. I won’t repeat what she said when she answered. Suffice to say it was rather personal because she “thought” it was her boyfriend.

An OMG moment. She came crying into my office telling me what happened. Her boyfriend’s boss was using her boyfriend’s phone at work and, of course, the boyfriend’s name came up on the screen. Yes, it can happen to you.

Safest bet? Don’t look. Act surprised. Be great on every call. Or if you do look, use your great same answering skills. Don’t discriminate!

Often I hear: Well, it’s JUST “Bob” and poor Bob gets a low grade greeting. Not nice. Bob should get the same greeting as you’d give Taylor Swift. (If she called you that is.)

I’ve been speaking on customer service a long time and I’m asking you to believe me. It’s not worth it to discriminate on how you answer the phone.

Make each call GREAT! Treat each caller as though it was your favorite movie star.

Even if you look and see it’s Bob Smith who you know and love, that call should be answered normally. NOT “Hi Bob” or some other personal note. Because it may not be Bob.

Example: One day a friend of mine called me about 4 times in a row in a very short period of time. And each time I saw the name on my cell, I answered as I always do; upbeat and with that eternal smile: “Hi, this is Nancy.”

Finally on the 5th call with her name popping up I said, “Now what the xxxx do you want?”

Right, it wasn’t her. It was her friend using her phone, because my friend couldn’t make the call.

So…final answer. Answer your cell phone the same way each time. With a buffer, “Hi” and your name, “This is Bob.”   (You, of course, use your right name). Ha, ha.