Client service is the very essence of this business. What are some of the keys to excelling at it?

Client service is the foundation of your reputation as an individual and as a firm.

Client service is the foundation of your reputation as an individual and as a firm. Every team member contributes to the client experience. Below are six suggestions to help you succeed.

First, listen. Clients can struggle communicating their needs; they also may not know what they want. Ask questions to clarify their goals and expectations.

Second, be responsive. Respond to e-mails or voice-mails within two hours. You needn't have the answer, but a simple acknowledgement will make a client feel important and help build trust.

Third, integrity. Do what you say and say what you do. Set realistic expectations so you can meet deadlines and deliver on promises.

Fourth, be thorough. Know your space, present clean work, and make sure you don't miss client requests/changes.

Fifth, be proactive. Anticipate a client's needs. This too will gain your client's confidence and trust in the team.

Finally, be consistent.

Holli Kolkey Dickson is account director at Porter Novelli Life Sciences.

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