How to Leave Your Job But Keep Client Relationships Strong

I recently received the following email (below) from an employee at a design firm I’ve done  business with. She also sent me a personal follow-up to the email below, asking for a letter of recommendation. Since she left in good taste and always delivered excellent service during our time working together, I had no trouble giving her a recommendation. I’m including some tips (below her email) with pointers on how to leave your job but keep client relationships strong.

Her first email read (I’ve changed names, numbers and email addresses for privacy),

Good Morning,

I would like to let you know that I have resigned my position at ABC Design Firm. I will be available through Wednesday, February 22nd but after that date, Jane Doe will be taking over your account. She can be reached at jane@abcdesignfirm.com  or by phone at 888-888-8888.

Thank you for a great business relationship during my time here at ABC Design Firm. It has been a pleasure and I hope to work with you again in the future. I hope our paths cross again and wish you well in your future endeavors.

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding your account. I will do everything possible to make sure this transition is as smooth as possible.

Thanks,

Susan

If you find yourself moving to another company and you have developed  close relationships with your clients, you will undoubtedly feel some conflict. At the same time, you want your client to know he or she is being left in good hands. Here are some tips to leave your company and your client with dignity and respect:

-Whenever possible, introduce your replacement. It’s more comforting to be able to offer the name and contact information for your replacement and a little bit of background information.

-Finish up any loose ends. Let your client know that, if possible, you will complete any last details before your departure.

- Send your client an email but always follow up with a phone call. You never know when you will need him or her for a reference or as a potential client once again. Your email should include date of departure, how much you enjoyed working with your client, and mention that you are looking forward to running into him or her in the future. Do not feel as if you need to share every reason you chose to leave your current position—in this case, less is more. Remember to assure your client that confidentiality agreements will still be in place

-Do not wait till the last minute. If you chose to notify your clients yourself, make sure to do so almost as soon as you inform your colleagues; letting your client know that there will be some changes. Do not wait till they have the opportunity to hear it through the grapevine. That way, you can offer to make introductions between your client and the new employee and close up any other final details involving your participation with the account.

Important to note: In some companies, it is the upper-management’s responsibility to notify clients of your leaving because in some cases, clients are considered company property. Ask your supervisor before you make contact; it will serve as a show of respect for your boss and ensure that you don’t sever any goodwill with your ex-employer. The trick here is to follow-up and make sure the company notifies your clients before you leave—otherwise you will end up looking like the unprofessional fool.

Best of Luck,

Signature

Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national modern manners and etiquette expert, sought out industry leader, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger’s, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. Her blog has been named by Forbes as one of “The 100 Best Websites for Women, 2013.” She is a regular guest on two popular morning talk shows, SA Living, NBC, and Good Day Austin, FOX. She has been seen on TODAY with KLG and Hoda, HLN Headline News, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.

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