Although customer service representatives are generally the experience of the brand, people may be willing to give some leeway for a poor experience knowing that, in a larger company, the rep they’re dealing with today may not be representative of the overall brand. After all, you’re bound to get a lemon once in a while.
If the company is you, however, then your actions and behavior are the brand. A bad day can damage your brand with one prospect or 100 customers. A bad attitude on a regular basis can build give your brand a bad name no matter how friendly and inviting you think it is.
When I worked in the hotel industry, part of my training including a video produced by the Walt Disney Corp. on customer service. One of the main things I learned all those years ago that stuck with me no matter what type of job I’ve had since then is that, when you’re working with the public, you’re on stage. You need to act in a manner that your “audience” (customers) expect. Whatever is going on in your personal life needs to remain backstage and if you can’t take on the persona of someone who is helpful, nice and charming, then you don’t belong in a position where you are interacting with customers and prospects.
Your behavior, your reaction to situations that are thrown at you, and your general approach to dealing with people will make or break your brand, which, in turn, will make or break your business.
And remember that, if you're sending out personal emails over your company's logo and your professional signature block, then you may be dragging your company's reputation down along with your own when your tone is less than professional. You may even be opening the company up to a lawsuit through the implication that they are part of the conversation because you're representing yourself as an employee of the company in your communications.
That being said, people are only human, so an occasional slip-up may be repairable if we're willing to take responsibility and make the situation right.