As someone who started her career in advertising in account management, decorum and client management are now in my blood. I’ve always had the desire to go above and beyond for clients and it turns out, between my training and my instincts, I have a heightened ability to understand what clients need and how to serve them.
It’s not as hard as you’d think to set yourself apart in the world of client services. Small, unspoken gestures and attention to detail—the little touches—go a long way.
So I’ve put together a list of a few simple, subtle, courteous things any professional can do for clients or customers that will make your clients feel great. And, while I’ve learned to do these things while serving my clients, they’re useful in any industry… and frankly, in life!
1. Always put the other person’s name first on meeting invitations and calendar events.
This is one of the first things I suggest to junior employees, because it’s something that doesn’t naturally occur to most people. It’s an incredibly simple tweak to your process that adds a nice, personal touch. Just something you don’t normally think about that sends an “I put you before me” message.
2. Always work in the other person’s time zone when scheduling.
My marketing and PR agency, Stanton & Company, is located in Venice, California, but I instruct my team to always propose meeting or call times in whatever time zone the client is located in. Clients might appreciate that they don’t have to do the calculation of the time zone. Whether they notice it or not, since they’re clients, we should be catering to them.
This is a helpful tip whether you’re in the service industry or not. Say you’re setting up an informational interview or a networking call when you’re looking for a new job—propose that call in the other person’s time zone (and don’t forget to put their name first!). It shows courtesy and respect that will impress them.
3. Check in with your boss and team before heading out of the office.
At my first few jobs, I always worked later than my bosses to make sure I was always there when they needed me—and to learn the ropes as quickly as I could. I’d check in with my manager consistently to see if I could help her with anything and to learn the nuances of her job. And I’d always ask my coworkers if I could help finish up any tasks before I went home.
Staying later than your boss doesn’t make sense in every case—it’s not a hard-and-fast rule and it’s not always necessary. But it’s crucial to be aware of what’s going on around you and ensure that your team always feels supported. Checking in before you leave is a great way to connect with your coworkers and show that you’re a team player.
4. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s.
Or in other words, follow up, be proactive, and be consistent, especially when working with clients. Strong lines of communication always boost productivity and build the relationship.
While we often talk about being accountable and organized for our own good, this also makes a huge impact on those around us, our clients, our coworkers, our bosses, our employees. Be the person to straighten things out and help tie up loose ends whenever you can.
5. Don’t let things linger!
Send a summary email to everyone after a call or reach out with a list of next steps after a meeting or call. Doing this will boost efficiency and create a better experience for everyone.
When someone I’m working with sends me a clear follow-up email after a meeting, it signals to me that they’re totally on top of everything and that they’re enthusiastic about their work. It motivates me and makes me feel more engaged in the relationship.
6. Take your time with the written word.
Words matter! It’s always worth taking your time when communicating, whether it’s a simple email or a more in-depth document.
In today’s fast-paced, email-driven work culture, people are always shooting off thoughtless one-liners. This type of communication can leave people uncertain about your tone, whether you’re frustrated or trying to be funny, etc. A thoughtful message or phone call wastes less time in the end, since it prevents a back-and-forth about the original message.
When communicating with clients, for example, they shouldn’t have to ask multiple follow-up questions in response to a project status email. Thorough, preemptive, proper communication addresses everything upfront and sets up a clear opportunity for the person to respond.
As a boss, I love an employee who writes a great email. (Shoutout to our newest team member, Meredith—her emails are always clear, concise, and thoughtful.)
A service mentality is always the best mentality, whether you’re in the service industry or not. Because when you’re considerate of those around you, positive energy will always come back around.