Etiquette: A Key Strategy for Your Firm

This article was contributed by our friend and compliance expert, Natalia Gindler Corsini, who has more than 25 years in global and domestic companies leading Compliance and Finance areas. She founded Prae Venire, a consultancy related to corporate compliance that assists small and medium-sized companies to build a culture of integrity with programs created and adjusted to their size and industry, and provides the organizations the opportunity to comply with the laws while promoting a culture of ethics, respect in the workplace and business environment, and fraud prevention practices.

Business etiquette may seem small, however, it should be seen as part of your firm’s strategy. It can become a very big issue when it is overlooked. It is not just knowing what to discuss during a business event or how to address colleagues and potential clients, it is the ability to make others feel comfortable around you at all times.

Good manners

Good manners are crucial in business and being polite can give companies a competitive advantage. Behaving professionally means not only presenting yourself with confidence, but also with kindness and elegance. It makes you profit by saving yourself time and effort.

Acting politely and taking the expectations and needs of others into consideration makes you more pleasant and communicates that you are willing to be a productive professional, it helps partners and clients feel respected, and heard and builds trust with them.

There are five simple manners that should be embedded in any service provider.

Golden Rule

First, the professional who cares about their clients always takes the golden rule into consideration: Treat others the way you want to be treated. When your professional connections notice that you are more likely to help another firm, do business with it, and recommend it for opportunities, that action is more likely to be reciprocated.

Personalized Touch

Communication with a client matters (a lot!). Reaching out to them with an update consistently makes all the difference. Many problems are caused by a lack of communication. Service providers that act differently from their competitors by simply being proactive and keeping the client aware of the work they are doing show the client that they are truly focused on their issue.

Crystal Clear

A competent service provider manages client expectations in a realistic way. Clients have the right to be well informed about the results of what they are going through so they will not be surprisingly disappointed at the end.

Meetings and Deadlines

Being late to meetings can destroy a service provider-client relationship, especially when the client’s life (health or personal projects) depends on how that service is being delivered. Both give the impression of procrastination and lack of attention, causes anxiety, and undermines confidence.

Sending a personal thank you email to a new client after an introductory meeting is something that makes the person feel comfortable and welcomed.

Don’t be late to virtual meetings, either! Log in to the meeting at least five minutes prior to the meeting so you can ensure technology is on your side. Mute the microphone while you are not speaking. Don’t multitask during a video conference. When you’re not talking make sure you are paying attention to who is speaking, people can see when one is zoned out.

Emails and the 24 Hour Rule 

Three reasons why it is important to consider the 24 hour rule:

  1. Waiting 24 hours before sending an email helps manage any anger or frustration depending on the situation you are experiencing.
  2. Responding to emails too quickly is not only a productivity drain but it conditions clients to be impatient when you are not available to promptly reply to them. If the matter is not really urgent, emails can wait for some hours to be responded to.
  3. Find a way to reply to emails to your clients within 24 hours.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Of course, these are only some of the behaviors clients expect from us. Yet considering them is a very good start. Being considerate does not come naturally, it is a process and a skill that all of us develop over time and have to be practiced consistently.

A business should not only design strategies to win a client’s cause, case, or project but also their heart. That will certainly boost a service provider’s reputation.

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