Monday, May 08, 2006

Saying Goodbye to a Client

A new Toronto-based blog, The Essential Message, offers compelling insights into a number of common communication challenges in business. (And if you know my work, you know that I think communication accounts for about 90% of everything that matters in business.)

Last month, TEM wrote a post on "5 Steps to Say Goodbye to a Client." Writer Jonathan Cohen reports that one of his firm's longstanding clients has hired its own writer, and doesn't need the firm's services any more. But how do you say au revoir to a good client? Cohen identifies five steps, which I have condensed below for your convenience.

1. Get clear on where you stand. Review your contract, if you have one. Have both sides met the expectations of termination?

2. Finish up outstanding work. "If you can provide some stellar, unexpected benefits at the end of your relationship, you’ll leave a lasting positive impression."

3. Hand over all documentation (where appropriate).

4. Hold an exit interview. This can be as informal as a telephone call. Make sure you cover points 1-3 above. Ask what the client liked and didn’t like about working with you. What could be improved? Ask for a testimonial if you haven't already done so.

5. Stay in touch. If you’ve ended on good terms, your client will appreciate the odd call, email, or note. Even if you only contact them twice a year, you'll maintain your network and remind them you’re around.

As Cohen notes, "Proper client care can turn a parting of the ways into a positive experience that leads to referrals and more business down the line."

It's good stuff. Read the full post here.

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