Don’t Slam the Door on Your Way Out!

When someone slams the door, the sound echoes in your head. That sound is the last thing you are left to think about.  It says something about the frame of mind of the person who just walked out. Often we hear about how important it is to make a good first impression, but endings can be just as important in your business. An ending is the last chance you have to make an impression, so make it a good one.  It is the last thing people will remember about you.

An ending is a great way to make a positive impact on the people around you. Endings can include things like- how do you end a phone call? How do you sign off on an email signature? For people who don’t know you well, these are great opportunities to catch their attention and be memorable.

Endings can also be bigger and more final, like a slamming door. What do you do when a client tells you they are going to stop working with you?  Your response to that kind of news is crucial. Don’t take their decision personally or get defensive. This is a pivotal point in your business relationship.  There are three key things you can do to maintain a high level of customer service when a client discontinues service.

  1. Support what is best for the client.
  2. Get feedback from the client.
  3. Leave the door open for them to return.

The client should feel supported during the transition.  Don’t try to use your power of persuasion to change their mind.  Change isn’t easy for anyone, and the client has put thought into this before they came to you with the decision. Let them know you support them and want what’s best for them.  Make sure you complete any projects or assignments that you have agreed to.

When it is appropriate, ask for feedback about the change.  The client does not owe you an explanation, but their feedback could help you see areas that need improvement in your business.  Depending on the situation, you can ask your client directly if they have a reason for leaving.  You can also send an anonymous survey to gain insight.  You may want to hire an independent 3rd party to collect information by email or interview. At the very least, ask if there is anything you and the business could have done better. Give them the opportunity to share their opinions if they wish to do so.

End the relationship positively so the client feels comfortable coming back.  Be professional and friendly. Sending a card in the mail thanking them for their business is a great way to end. If you do a great job and give great customer service, chances are good that they will come back.  They may leave because they have been wooed by the promise of lower prices, but they will return when they realize the quality they are missing.

Losing a client can feel disappointing.  Ending on a positive note allows the client to return when their situation changes or when they realize what they are missing by not working with you. When you take it personally and get defensive, the client doesn’t want to come back to work with you. If you leave things open, professional and friendly, clients are more willing to come back to you when they’re ready. Whatever you do, don’t slam the door on your way out!

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