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I get a telephone call from a client. They explain their problem, I tell them that I don't have a solution ready but I will look into it and get back to them. (don't call us, we'll call you)

I investigate and find my colleague is an expert in the matter. I talk to him, and he agrees to handle the problem. He asks me if I can send him an email, so he has an "official" demand and can answer properly.

Since I promised the client I'd answer, how should I act? If I don't notify the client that I transferred responsibility, and the client gets no answer, this'll reflect poorly on me. On top of that, I'd like the client to know my colleague will be handling his demand, so any new information or queries about progress should go to him.

Should I put the client in CC of the email I send my colleague? Will the colleague feel "forced"?

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5 Answers 5

Personally I would reply to the client and CC your colleague into the email.

As you have already spoken to your colleague and they have agreed to the work, there is no reason why you can't adopt this approach.

This way both parties are aware of who is doing what, but you still appear to be in control of the situation, and if there are any follow up questions you should still be in the loop.

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This. But you could also ask the coworker if it's okay to include the client. The client could take this as a cue to email your coworker directly and you may be a better filter. It highly depends on the situation to me. –  w0rd-driven Jan 10 '13 at 3:47
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As you took the original call and took on the responsibility for me, in the clients eyes, you will be responsible and the point of contact until you have "officially" handed over control to somebody else.

What you should be doing is keeping the client informed and for me they should be the main recipient of the email and the person you are handing over the work to the CC. I would normally write a quick email which states that somebody else will be responsible for the work and that as a first point of contact they should contact them with regard to it, also include explicit contact details for the person as many people are not that good at picking up on CC and so on.

I'd also add a small line along the lines of, "If you need any further assistance then please feel free to contact me with regard to the issue", 9/10 people will never contact you but it gives the impression that you are not palming off the work on to somebody else.

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This depends upon whether you intend to transfer the task to your teammate, or he's just doing the legwork, and you'll still continue with the customer interaction.

If you are transfering the task to your teammate, you should send an email to the client explaining the situation, including your teammate as a Cc, with details about just what the problem is (so a followup to a client email is a good starting point).

Basically, if you are bowing out, you owe it to both the client and your teammate to ensure that the three of you are on the same page about (a) what the problem is and (b) who is expected to solve it. An email from you to the client, informing him of the change, with a Cc to your teammate, does this nicely.

I would not do the reverse, cc the client on an email to the teammate, because that makes it appear as if the client is secondary in this, and that's not the case. While the client doesn't have the option of declining this change, it is more than a courtesy copy -- it is absolutely critical that he knows both that you are no longer working on this issue, and who is.

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The colleague asked you to send him an e-mail - I think it's a necessity to CC the client (so the colleague has a point of contact as well as so the client does).

Otherwise you're going to be stuck in the unenviable position of having to liaise between them for however long the issue goes on for and I'm sure you have more productive things to do with your time than that!

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Yes, but only if you haven't replied already.

My point of contact at the staffing agency I work for has a bad habit of replying to a question with "I'll ask my colleague", then CC'ing me in on the email where she does the asking, then I get CC'd on the reply from her colleague to her saying "I'll do some research and get back to you" -- three emails with absolutely nothing actionable for me for one simple question! I would do one or the other: either email the client to say "I'm conferring with a colleague" OR CC them in on the actual email.

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