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If you’re retiring, relocating or otherwise exiting a job where you work directly with clients, you should notify them of your impending departure. This gives you a chance to thank the clients for their business and issue instructions about the new point person or lead contact on accounts. It also helps you maintain clients as important contacts you may use at some future point in your career.
Talk to Your Boss
Don't notify clients that you're leaving a position until you've given notice to your immediate supervisor. Your boss won’t appreciate hearing news of your departure from a client, so follow the chain of command in issuing notice. Talk to your boss about your final work days and the projects to be completed prior to your departure. From there, work out the details of when you'll pass off clients to someone else in the organization. It's a good idea to write a report that details projects, timelines and contract statuses to make a smooth and professional transition.
Compose a letter on company letterhead addressed to your client. Introduce the letter by thanking the client for his business during the time you were his company representative, and inform him of your departure. You might write: “While it has been a pleasure to work with you for the past several years, at the end of this month I’ll be leaving the company.” If you’re retiring or relocating, it's fine to make note of it. However, if you’re going to work for a competitor, your boss might object to telling the client where you're going in your official correspondence. It might also violate terms of your non-compete agreement if you have one.
Provide a detailed overview of how the client’s account will be handled following your departure. For example: “I’ll be available to help with finalizing your new advertising campaign. After that, your account will be maintained by my colleague, John Smith. I believe you’ll find John to be a talented and professional individual who will serve you well. I’ll bring John up-to-speed on all of the goals and objectives we've discussed previously so he can take over your account without losing momentum.”
Arrange a Meeting
After you send letters to clients notifying them of your departure, arrange individual meetings with clients and their new company representatives to touch base, exchange information and strategize how they'll proceed in your absence. This allows you to make a professional transition that benefits both your clients and your former company. It also creates goodwill should you do business with either party again in the future.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.