The reply button

Dec 11, 2017

Having a quick response for clients and colleagues is good business, and it’s easy, so when you get that email, do the right thing.

Something’s happened a couple dozen times in the last two-plus years I’ve been at Zweig Group. I’ll be working away when I get an email from a client asking a question about our awards, our annual Hot Firm conference, or something else we do here. I always try to find the information as quickly as I can and then respond. That is not the part that stands out to me. It’s when I get an email back saying, “Wow, that was really quick!”

Don’t get me wrong, I like hearing that, but it confuses me. We live in a society that is constantly connected with email, social media, and cell phones. When I am in the office, I am at my computer 90 percent of the time. When I am out of the office, I have my iPhone with me 95 percent of the time, which means I’m still connected. I think this is probably the same for most of us, so it really shouldn’t be a surprise when a client thanks us for being prompt – especially when helping clients find answers is an important part of the job.

Working in a few different positions here at Zweig Group, I have learned a lot. But even if my roles have changed, one thing has been consistent across each segment, and that’s been the importance of communication. In my job as the awards manager, I do a lot of communicating both with clients and with co-workers. The same can be said of my former position in executive search. If somebody needs something from you, and you have it at your fingertips, why make them wait?

Quick communication is one of the little things you can do to make a big difference in the eyes of the client, making them see you in a positive light. Even if you are traveling, in a meeting, or busy with something else, a quick email saying you will find the answer as soon as you can will let them know that their issue is important. It doesn’t keep the client waiting and guessing if you got their email, or if you will get back with them. You don’t forget about answering their question, which is easy to do especially when you get busy later. And finally, clients will appreciate, and sometimes even be shocked by, the quick answer.

You may not always get to be as responsive as you’d like, and there are certainly times when it just isn’t possible. Whenever you have the chance, however, you should take it. It could be the difference between having a repeat client and a one-time deal.

Kyle Ahern is the awards manager at Zweig Group. Contact him at

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.