Your customers don’t care how bad you’re feeling today. Even the nice ones.

Maybe your dog died. Or you just broke up with your girlfriend. Or you didn’t get a wink of sleep. But the second you reveal any of that to your customers – via a lackluster expression or tone of voice – you risk losing their business. Fortunately, there’s a very quick and easy way to prevent your customers from sensing that all is not well in your personal life. Smile.

That’s it. The simple act of plastering a big (even fake) grin on your face will make you look and sound happy, alert, and interested in what your customer has to say. And it works with telephone conversations as well as conversations in person.

I called up a drycleaner the other day to see if they could get a coffee stain out of a linen dress – a dress I need to wear this weekend. The woman on the line sounded bored out of her skull. And maybe she was. Had she merely smiled, she would have sounded like she actually gave a damn about my problem. Instead, I got the impression that she hated her job and maybe even her life. I knew without a doubt that she’d rather be doing anything than helping me out. So I found another drycleaner.

When you’re smiling, you sound friendly, compassionate, and sincere. And that can convince your customers that you are thinking about them and only them – not the feud with your brother or the termite damage to your house. So when they talk to you, they’ll have confidence in your ability to deliver good service and resolve any problems they may have. They’ll trust you right off the bat. And as long as you don’t disappoint, they’ll return to do business with you again and again… and bring their friends.