I work in a very small company and recently a colleague left. I forwarded his email to me and I am notified with all alerts related to our product from services we integrated (since I am the one that took all of his "tasks").

However, today I received a follow up email in a thread my former colleague had with an user. The email is directed to him and I am not aware how to proceed with answering mentioned user's questions?

  • 2
    Was your colleague's departure quite sudden? If he called in sick for example, who would be responsible for taking over his tasks? Sounds like they should be the one answering the emails.
    – user34587
    Jun 4, 2018 at 8:09
  • @Kozaky He left the company for good (he is not coming back). We were the "IT team" in the company & I get to do his tasks from now on. We usually answer question in replies to our automated emails with questions which are directed to the [email protected] mail address and those are not a problem. This is the first email I receive that is directed to my former colleague. Jun 4, 2018 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


If you're unsure about anything, take it to your superior and ask what you should do.

If you need the previous emails in a thread they should still be available, but failing everything else, politely inform the client you have taken over and ask for clarification on their issue.

I would actually redirect all his mail to [email protected] and answer from that email address.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. About the second part: should I explain that my colleague left or just say that if the client has further questions he can contact me? Jun 4, 2018 at 8:22
  • 3
    The latter is preferable, no need to say he has left unless asked outright. I would actually redirect all his mail to [email protected] and answer from that email address.
    – Kilisi
    Jun 4, 2018 at 8:25
  • 3
    Oh, thank you, this is actually an awesome advice! You might include it in your answer. Jun 4, 2018 at 8:42

Forward the mail to yourself and then reply to the user just stating that your former colleague has now left the business and introducing yourself and saying that you'll be handling those issues for them now.

This sort of thing is exceptionally common and I doubt the user will even blink at it.

  • I don't think there is a need to say he has left unless asked outright...
    – Neo
    Jun 4, 2018 at 12:24
  • @Neo well it's not strictly necessary.. but I don't see the harm in doing so and it will head off any future questions getting sent to the now-departed co-worker. I'm also not sure what there is to gain by not telling the user?
    – motosubatsu
    Jun 4, 2018 at 13:44
  • 1
    You want your customers to have the impression that everything is peaches and cream at the company. Some folks get spooked by the departure of others. They don't need to know, unless they directly ask. Kilisi is right.
    – Neo
    Jun 4, 2018 at 13:55
  • @neo I'd suggest that people understand that sometimes people leave but I don't have massively strong feelings that you have to tell them
    – motosubatsu
    Jun 4, 2018 at 18:01

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