What to do When a Client Leaves

I remember in my business many years ago when I had a client who was a faithful, regular client.  We had lots of work from this client, and then very abruptly they said, “We’re going to cancel and we’re going to do this ourselves.  We won’t be using you anymore.” When you love your clients and the income that they’re providing you, that abrupt stop can be kind of shocking. When a client leaves, it can worry you or make you wonder – what did I do wrong? Did I hurt the clients’ feelings? Did I not fulfill what I said I would?

when a client leaves

Those were my first impressions when that happened to me several years ago. I decided instead of making a big deal about it, I would take the high road, be very professional and put across a good image. So I sent them a card in the mail that said, “It was such a pleasure working with you. I really enjoyed it. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you and your family in the future.” I left it at that. I decided to put some good in the world instead of taking it personally and worrying and wondering about it.

About six months later, that client came back to me and they said, “We weren’t really telling anyone, but my husband lost his job at the time, and that’s why we had to step away from using your service.” With that additional information, their decision made perfect sense. But at the time, because they were trying to keep that quiet, they weren’t able to give me that information. Often a client’s decision is more about them than it is about you.

How to Respond

How you react when a client leaves is really important. You need to take the high road and be professional about it. Send out good wishes to that client who’s walking away because you don’t know what’s going on underneath the surface. You don’t know what personal issues have caused them to make that decision. Treat your clients with kindness and professionalism, then there’s a better chance that client will come back to you.

If you respond defensively and question or accuse the client then they’re not going to come back at all. They may actually tell their friends of the negative experience they had with you, creating negative word of mouth for your business.  Something as simple as sending them a card in the mail keeps that door open for them to come back. When situations or opportunities change, they will come back to you because you treated them with kindness and professionalism.

How you end a client relationship is just as important as how you begin. When a client leaves, wrap up loose ends and follow up with appreciation for their business. It will come back to bless you. If you don’t have a plan for when a client leaves, schedule a free phone call. We can help you create a Relationship Marketing Plan to take care of clients in all situations.

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