How to Write a Farewell Letter to Customers

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Saying goodbye is never easy, whether it's a personal or professional relationship you are leaving. But when you are parting ways with your customers, whatever the reason, it's important to be intentional, transparent and tactful as you share the news. Your customers have played an important role in your business and you should treat them as such.

Create a Meaningful Letter

Writing farewell letters to customers does not have to be complicated. But it does need to be done in a timely fashion. Many of us rush through endings for fear of the emotions that will arise or they are poorly planned or skipped over entirely as we move forward in our own direction. It doesn't have to be that way. Mark the occasion and honor the role your customers have played in your business.

Know Your Reader

It may seem obvious, but it's important to be clear on the reason for the correspondence to customers. Are you going out of business? Are you retiring? Or are you eliminating "problem" customers from your company? Do you have a more formal relationship with your clients or is it more casual? Being clear on who the letter is directed to and your relationship with them will help you determine how to write with the appropriate voice addressing issues at hand.

For example, if you are writing farewell letters to a group of undesirable customers, you can use what is called the scapegoat approach, which tells your customers you can no longer work with them due to a shift in your company's focus. Provide them with an ending date and other service providers that may be able to help. This tone might be more formal than a letter you might write if you are announcing your retirement after 50 years to loyal customers.

Be Succinct, But Warm

Chances are, whatever your reason, your letter will impact your customers. When you are writing your letter, think about your message. Use language that is clear and concise but use a tone that is friendly and approachable. You are relaying information to your customer and it's important to be as succinct as possible. Long explanations with details are not needed; share information that is critical and pay attention to language that could be misconstrued or confusing.

Don't Bury the News

In professional relationships, the first paragraph of the farewell customer letter should clearly indicate that the customer relationship is being terminated, the timeline and the status of services agreed upon in any previously issued contracts or agreements. By doing this, you set the tone and make your correspondence clear. Trying to sugarcoat the termination or bury the bad news will only be confusing to the customer.

Prepare Your Customers For Change

In cases where you are saying goodbye to your customers because you are leaving the company, be clear about what happens next. Customers should have a good understanding by the end of the letter why you are leaving, your timeline and what they can expect. Always include a way for your customer to contact your company and let them know the next steps.

Writing a farewell letter to your client does not have to be a negative experience. In fact, it can boost your credibility and professionalism. Keep it simple, concise and clear and chances are, your actions will be appreciated.

References

About the Author

Liz Gold has been published in a variety of capacities writing about everything from Kennebunkport and southern Maine municipal government, art and cultural events, to cloud technology and business transformation. Her experience extends to both corporate and freelance; she's a former Senior Editor at the B2B publication Accounting Today, writing about public accounting firms with a specialization in diversity, technology, best practices, and business development. During her tenure, she was also co-founder and editor of AccountingTomorrow, a blog focused on intergenerational workplace issues that is still thriving today. Most recently, Liz has been writing about accountants working in the cannabis industry on CPA Trendlines and reporting on cannabis trends for Southern Oregon Good Herb magazine in Oregon.