Handing Off a Client
In the business world, some matters can’t be mishandled. Few things are more important than ensuring that any client transitions are done smoothly and professionally. It’s a fact of life that sometimes professional relationships have to end. It doesn’t matter if you’re shifting your responsibilities or their needs are changing outside of your scope, it’s important to respect the changing climate. One of the best ways to do that is to help your client through their transition to another professional.
Making the Determination
As tough as it can be to lose clients, it can be harder to determine whether or not it’s the right thing move for both parties. Perhaps the shifting needs of a market have moved their business out of your expertise, or their plans have changed direction. Whether the change is on their end or yours, you need to recognize that things aren’t working. If there’s nothing more to do or nothing that can be done it’s important not to waste anyones time. It can cost both businesses in the long run. Draining their resources, hurting employees and damaging reputations.
Summing Up Your Work Together
Like in a restaurant, facilitating turn-over is an important but delicate process. The first thing to do once it’s been decided to part ways is to summarize what you have done for your client. Look at what their original goals were, and where they are now. Reflect on the unexpected challenges you’ve encountered and how you overcame them. Once you’ve gotten all of that together you can resolve any loose ends with you former client and tell them anything they might need to know going forward. It can be hard to fully understand the thinking of past contractors, which can complicate future attempts to problem solve if preparations are not made.
Once you’ve consolidated and communicated with your client, it’s important to make sure both parties are parting on the best of terms. It’s important to make it easy to communicate with one another in the future. You won’t necessarily know if there is anything left unsettled. Future contractors and clients may need to know something only you or your previous client knows, not having access to that crucial information can be costly.
Even under less than favorable circumstances it’s important to maintain the utmost in civility and professionalism. Business communities thrive with adaptability and reciprocity, and wither under toxicity and pettiness. It is important to remember that there is no profit in bad business practice or in treating partners poorly.