If you're moving to another company and work in a client-facing role, then you're likely to feel some conflict as you move on. On the one hand, you'll be keen to say goodbye and start the next chapter in your career. On the other, you'll be sad to leave your valued clients behind and anxious to maintain good relationships with them in case your paths cross in the future. A well crafted letter will address these issues and reassure your clients that they'll be well looked after when you've gone.
Speak to the Boss
The company might have a clear action plan for telling clients that you are leaving, so don't step on any toes. It's possible that your boss will want to keep the news under wraps until he or she has figured a way to minimize the impact. In some companies, a senior manager will notify clients that you are leaving – you may even be barred from communicating with clients if the company believes there's a risk the clients will follow you to your new job. Ask your boss before you make any contact. This shows respect and preserves the goodwill you've built with your employer.
Introduce Your Replacement
From your clients' perspective, the most important thing is a smooth transition. Your clients will want assurance that the service they have been used to will not be adversely impacted and the account will be in good hands after you leave. Reassure clients by giving the name and contact details of your replacement and a clear date for your departure. Remember to build in some transition time; don't leave the handover to the last minute. Your clients will appreciate you being available during the transition to answer any questions and close up any details before you withdraw from the account.
Less Is More
Use the letter to thank your clients and express how much you enjoyed working with them. If you're staying in the same industry, say that you are looking forward to your paths crossing again. This leaves the door open for clients to look you up in your next role. Tell the clients that you're moving on, but be cautious about giving too much detail – less is more with a leaving letter. Plus, if you're moving to a competitor, your current employer may prohibit you from giving the name of your new company. Stick to the facts. You can always follow up with a phone call to answer questions for your most important clients.
Example of a Leaving Letter
This letter strikes a polite and respectful tone:
I'm writing to let you know that I have resigned my position at ACME Office Interiors. I will be available through Friday, October 10, but after that date, Jack Jefford will be taking over your account. Jack is an experienced account manager, and I'm confident that you'll receive the very best service and support. You can reach Jack at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 123-456-7890.
It has been an absolute pleasure to work with you over the past six years, and I thank you for a great business relationship during my time here at ACME. I sincerely hope our paths cross again and wish you well in your future endeavors.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a business writer. Her articles have appeared on numerous business sites including Typefinder, Women in Business, Startwire and Indeed.com.