Quality manners create highly effective customer service teams. And you don’t want a poorly operative customer service crew standing between you and the clients who need you (not to mention thousands of dollars in business). Hire an expert in client etiquette to ensure your team can handle all types of customer conundrums in a professionally, tactful way.

Why Is Client Etiquette So Important?

Think of your own experiences with customer service representatives from other companies. Those who are polite and understanding are more likely to earn more of your business, right? The same idea applies across industries.

Your business will likely experience greater success if your team members can exercise client etiquette. It’ll help to ensure a consistent client experience throughout and reflect positively on your brand!

Proper etiquette demonstrates to your valued clients that you appreciate their business, understand any underlying questions or concerns, and want to help. A lack of client etiquette sends an opposite message: their concerns are burdensome and annoying. 

So how do you get everyone in your team on the same page with client etiquette?

8 Client Etiquette Tips To Keep In Mind

It’s best to follow simple strategies to maintain client etiquette across your business. Make it a key component of your brand! And drive these effective tips home with your team every day.

1. Start Building A Relationship Through Conversation and Questions

Your customer service team (or anyone in your business who interacts with your clients) should imagine clients as acquaintances. They ought to strike up conversation—start building relationships by asking questions. 

Brainstorm questions and cues that demonstrate genuine interest (avoid empty, inauthentic questions). 

Some good conversation starters are:

  • Tell me a little bit more about yourself.
  • What made you choose this for work?
  • Only three hours left of work! What will you do to unwind at the end of the day?

Remember, creativity rules! So if you are having lunch with a client or interacting with a new co-worker, plan ahead and think about interesting topics for discussion.

2. Establish Mutually Respectful Communication Guidelines

Perhaps a particular client enjoys chatting on the phone while another prefers email. Encourage your teammates to inquire and accommodate their client’s favorite method of communication as often as possible.

Make compromises when the opportunity arises and whenever necessary (bearing in mind the client’s needs are paramount). For example, if your client prefers face-to-face conversation but you can’t schedule a timely meeting, meet them halfway and set up a Zoom call!

This small consideration is actually a huge gesture in the business world.

3. Have A Positive Attitude

Part of what makes a top-notch customer service representative is their ability to shower positivity—even when they aren’t feeling very positive themselves. It’s a “fake it ‘til you make it” sort of role.

Be sure to emphasize the importance of a good mood on the job with your team. Create opportunities for teammates to vent concerns away from clients to help offset any negative energy. And practice client etiquette for challenging scenarios long before they surface.

Remember, smiles are contagious! If you’re pleasant, enthusiastic, and courteous, people will want to be around you. (And people will remember you the next time they do business.)

4. Step Outside The Office

Sometimes clients are less receptive to small talk (no matter how genuine) in the corporate setting. After all, it’s hard to break down business barriers and create an authentic bond when you’re on the clock.

Invite your client to coffee. Step away from your desks and get to know them in a real way. 

This helps them feel at ease so they can get to know you and see where your values lie. You and your teammates are walking advertisements for your brand—so this type of relaxed time with clients is extremely important.

5. Always Send Thank-You Notes

A handwritten thank you note (or any note for that matter) adds an extra-personal touch for clients. While writing an email or text message is easy and quick, putting together a note with pen and paper takes a while, adding an additional level of sincerity.

For example, send a “snail mail” thank you to the person who invited you to coffee at Starbucks. Let them know you enjoyed the conversation and mention a topic that was discussed. (This way there is no wondering if your intern actually wrote it!)

Express gratitude for the cup of coffee. Stamp it and mail it! The routine isn’t as arduous as it seems—and it’s top-tier client etiquette.

Related: Why Thank You Note Etiquette Matters: Everything You Need To Know

6. Prioritize Emotional Intelligence

You won’t truly be in control of your career if you don’t have emotional intelligence—as inappropriate emotional responses can result in costly mistakes. 

Anyone on your team lacking self-awareness is likely misrepresenting your brand with clients—not to mention exercising poor client etiquette. 

Luckily, emotional intelligence (like other types of intelligence) is something you can build and improve upon with your team. A client etiquette expert can easily facilitate a social, emotional education course to get your team on the right track.

Wait…What Is Emotional Intelligence? 

People with strong emotional intelligence are able to read the room (or client). They are self aware and intuitive when it counts. 

Perhaps the most important in a client etiquette role: emotionally intelligent people can manage their emotions. They’re able to table their feelings and responses when necessary.

Emotional smarts means being able to cheer someone up or calm them down when stress is high. 

Why Is Emotional Intelligence Such A Key Factor In Good Client Etiquette? 

“How to build relationships with clients” is a resounding theme in client etiquette education. Leaders of every type of organization want their teams to be better at it!

“The Art of the Human Connection” is my most popular module—created for companies experiencing rapid growth and in need of a way to keep their teams on the same page (and clients satisfied).

Understanding body language, first impressions, empathy, conversational skills, adaptability, and creativity helps foster more genuine connections with the clients you admire and appreciate—making for better business long term.

7. Always Create An Agenda For Client Meetings

It’s poor client etiquette to arrive at a meeting unprepared. Provide guidelines to your team and ensure they check every box before they design or execute their client meetings.

And be sure to mention “discuss meeting intentions with clients” high up on the list! There’s no sense writing your agenda unless your client agrees to it. You can run a proposal past them via email or phone call.

When your meeting kicks off, you’ll have every detail prepared to ensure everything runs smoothly and your client gets the best experience possible. 

8. Practice Client Etiquette Scenarios Before Having Difficult Conversations

Even with all the positive energy and pleasantries you have to offer, difficult conversations will arise! Practice is practical for these situations.

For example, hold a team meeting to rehearse how to handle an account cancellation or service complaint. Imagine the client is heated and combative. Visualizing yourself under fire is the best way to remain calm and carry on when the going really gets tough.

Tell clients you understand. Repeat their phrases back to them so they know you hear them. And apologize! You’re more likely to deescalate the situation if you’re able to acknowledge and admit wrongdoing when necessary.

Inviting appropriate client etiquette to your workplace will help everyone experience greater success long term! In the end, it’s the way you treat your clients that keeps them coming back and spreading the good word about your business. 

Ready to start improving your client etiquette skills? Get a custom proposal for business etiquette training from the experts at American Etiquette today! 

How To Practice Proper Client Etiquette And Communicate Effectively | American Etiquette