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In any client-facing role, you have direct contact with a number of different clients. When leaving the company, you need to direct them to your colleagues for further contact.

What are the DO and DO NOT's in this situation? For example, do I tell them:

  • What I will be doing now? I want to show I am leaving to do something completely different, so my leaving does not reflect poorly on the company.
  • Where I am going?
  • I enjoyed working with them?
  • I enjoyed working with my current employer?
  • my personal contact details?

Do I

  • Send a mail?
  • Simply put an 'out-of-office'?
  • Call them personally?

In short: what are the essential parts of such a communication and what works best?

  • 7
    Unless you have a personal relationship to with the client, I wouldn't say anything. It's generally the responsibility of your replacement to establish that they're the new contact moving forward. – Jeremy Smith Mar 1 '14 at 1:08
29

What are the DO and DO NOT's in this situation?

This is a decision that really needs to be made in coordination with your company and your boss. These are not your clients. They are your (about to be former) company's clients.

DO

  • Read your contract. It may well have specific language about your leaving
  • Talk to your boss
  • Ask if and how you should handle notifying your clients
  • Ask what reason you are permitted to give for your leaving
  • Ask what you should say about your replacement

DON'T

  • Decide on your own what you should/shouldn't do
  • Ignore your obligations under your contract
  • Contact your former clients outside of the agreed-up parameters discussed between you and your boss
  • 3
    One of the most critical parts of this is making sure that you cannot be accused of stealing their customers especially if you are moving to a direct competitor. This is why not making any contact about this issue without the direct written permission of management is so important. It is safeguarding you. Follow Joe's advice, he is smart about this stuff. – HLGEM Feb 28 '14 at 16:25
  • Thanks for the answer. Even though it is not applicable to me (I cannot steal clients, I am moving to a completely different field), it is still essential advice. – parasietje Mar 3 '14 at 10:45
  • Good answer. Just an advice. If you end calling your client be sure they will ask questions about the future "Who will be my new contact", "How things will be done", "How schedule will change". If I cannot answer that kind of question I will let management handle it. – jean Sep 20 '17 at 12:29
2

What are the DO and DO NOT's in this situation?

What I will be doing now?

No. What you will be doing now is not important to the relationship between the company (you are leaving) and the clients of said company.

I want to show I am leaving to do something completely different, so my leaving does not reflect poorly on the company.

I'm not sure you need to (I wouldn't unless asked by the clients - and even then, I would confirm with the company, before giving any details).

Where I am going?

No.

I enjoyed working with them?

Yes :)

I enjoyed working with my current employer?

No, it is none of their business.

My personal contact details?

Only if it is acceptable for them to call you. If you had a good relationship with them, they may be tempted to call one week (or month) after you left, and go "remember that module of the gizmo you were working on? How do we fix it?" This may eat into your time on (or looking for) a new job and it may damage the relationship between the company you left and the clients.

You should only provide personal contact if you leave it to friends (not for the client's official records) or if you are mandated in your contract to provide assistance after you leave (and that should always be limited in period).

Do I

Send a mail?

You probably should (send an email), but send it to your manager first, and confirm the content with him.

Simply put an 'out-of-office'?

No (you are not OOO).

Call them personally?

That is up to you (and what you decide with your manager).

Your message should be informative, pass on your contact to somebody else and make it clear that your contact information will no longer be valid.

Example.

Hello,

I will be leaving ACME starting next month (January 2034).

Starting from XX January 2034, maintenance of the quibbles will
be taken over by my manager, John Doe.

For any issues regarding wobbles in the quibbles, contact Jane at +0099-99-99-99-9.

Best regards,
@utnapistim.

The first phrase (about leaving the company) may be missing (ask your manager).

  • Source?.. Experience..? – Code Whisperer Feb 28 '14 at 15:58
  • 1
    Experience in 8 work places, facing customers in one way or another in 4 of them. In most situations, the customers don't care who's leaving a company, just who the contact person is. – utnapistim Feb 28 '14 at 16:03
  • I have to agree with utnapistim. If you're willing to be contacted, give your contact info to your replacement. They will be the one tasked with fixing the widget you developed. – Wayne Mar 2 '14 at 3:25
0

When you give notice, you ask your manager at the same time whether you should inform the client, and how you should inform your client, process it (for example, if your manager says "tell the client you were fired", then you don't; if your manager says "give the client your private phone number in case they need help", then you don't), and inform the client as your manager said or don't inform them if your manager doesn't want it.

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