It is a small thing, but when communicating with a client they always get listed first.
Clients should be listed first in emails that include other team members inside your firm and any third party partners or contractors.
Clients should be listed first in meeting invitations.
Because you want to send the message that you are focused on them and that you put them ahead of you. They are at the front of the line. They are who you are serving.
Does it matter?
It does. These small acts to ensure your clients and prospective clients are acknowledged before anyone else in communications set a tone and precedence. Some of this is subliminal. Is a client going to email saying thanks for listing them first in communications? Of course not. But it is something that matters to them even if they don’t know it and say it? Yes. We all want to be prioritized and appreciated. Services firms that take steps, even small ones, to ensure they are expressing this gain a little bit of client appreciation with every communication.
Does the formatting matter?
It is less important than listing clients and potential clients first, but how you list a client first does have value. In meeting invites for example I would format the subject line like this > Client & Your Firm Name: Meeting Purpose < . This puts the client first but keeps you connected and linked. I would avoid using formats like this > Client/Your Firm Name or Client|Your Firm Name < as these create visual walls between the client and your firm. Another acceptable alternative is > Client + Your Firm Name < . The & and + format connote you are connected with or are adding to a client. These are powerful, yet subtle visual reminders and cues.
Whatever format you choose, be consistent with it. Every meeting with a client or potential client by anyone in your firm should use the same format, all the time. Think about this for a second. A potential client will likely see “Client & Your Firm Name” or “Client + Your Firm Name” several, maybe even dozens of times, before they become a client. That’s the power of this. And current clients will get used to seeing your firm being connected or additive to them hundreds of times. Awesome.
If you have project folders or communication channels with clients carry the formatting to these places too. The formatting of & or + should be everywhere you have a communication channel and visibility opportunity with current or potential clients.
Services firms have fragile relationships with potential and current clients. Anything a services firm can do to help solidify client relationships and to be perceived as a valuable partner, needs to be done. The small things add up to big things.