The Best Way to Say Goodbye to Clients
The Best Way to Say Goodbye to Clients
So… you’ve determined that your client relationship isn’t salvageable. The problem persists despite your efforts to explain and negotiate the issue.
However, you don’t want your reputation tarnished with a bad client, so you want to end the engagement without offending colleagues or potential clients. Is there a way to say goodbye politely and amiably?
Please see the following step-by-step method I have found to be most effective.
Be humble and swallow your pride.
You may have to accept some responsibility for the breakdown if you want this to be a pleasant break. Whenever you deal with the Client, you should always remain calm and subjective.
If the Client hasn’t fulfilled their end of the bargain, it will be simpler for you. However, if the lines are a bit blurred, you might be required to fabricate a bit and take on more responsibility.
When it became evident that my capacity for providing website support was insufficient, I let a client go. Rather than tell them I thought they were unreasonable, I apologized for not having the resources to provide them with their needed support.
You must explain (in writing) why you no longer wish to work with this Client.
Communicate verbally if you’re still trying to save the relationship. If you are letting go of a Client, make sure that you document everything. You’ll have a paper trail so you can prove the case if things get messy or lawyers are involved.
However, politeness and friendliness are still fine. It would help if you avoided legalese; ensure that your message is transparent so that the Client cannot misunderstand your statement.
You should explain to the Client why you can’t continue working with them. It’s better to maintain your reputation than to bruise your ego by becoming argumentative or debasing.
What will happen next (in writing)
It will still be necessary to design, build, host, or support the Client’s website. As a result, remove yourself from the equation while giving them information to help them accomplish their goal.
The work you did for them will be destroyed, and the work belongs to whom. (Normally, if the Client has paid for it, they’re entitled to it upon the conclusion of your business, but that will depend on your contract.) Offer suggestions as to how they might be able to complete the project or find an alternative provider. Consider recommending other agencies or freelancers who could serve this Client better.
List how much money you owe them (if any) and from when it must be paid. Dear John, emails should not include an invoice. A polite and friendly email reminding me of the previous dissolution discourse will defer it for a day or two.
If you need the Client to perform another action, such as returning equipment or materials to you, specify this.
Best wishes for a successful future for our Client’s business or project. Embrace kindness.
Whenever They React, Be Polite, But Firm
There are three options available to the Client:
- Insisting that things will change, they might plead with you to continue doing business with them. Attempting to salvage the relationship after you’ve already failed to do so will be fruitless.
- Perhaps they’re angry and want to let you know how unreasonable you are in their eyes. That’s not the worst thing (if they pay you) since it means the relationship is ending. Allow them to vent, then move on.
- Your honesty with them may make them feel relieved. You might be surprised to learn that this happens more frequently than you think. There may be tension between you and the Client if you’re not satisfied.
If someone insults you or your team, don’t react negatively. Stay firm if they try to change your mind. Restate what you’ve already said, and express your regret for any inconvenience, but not your decision.
Negative energy from the Client must be released.
A formal breakup with a problem client is a legal act. Purging any negative headspace from experience is also important. It is crucial that you avoid any bad juju that could affect the good fortune you have attained in your current position.
It would help if you didn’t take it personally or give it more weight than it deserves. Remember that your book of business and reputation is built mainly by your clientele and that every experience, whether good or bad, is a learning experience. You will be much better prepared if there are more instances of undesirable client experiences in the future.
Badmouthing a client afterwards is not okay.
In the past, I have warned other developers away from clients XYZ who skip out on payments due, posting a warning on social media. It may be appealing to broadcast how unreasonable the Client was once it’s behind you and you are no longer working with this Client. It is always better to hold your tongue (or click the keyboard button, whichever it may be) instead of responding.
Even if the Client publicly criticizes you, hurling mud back at them reflects far more poorly on you than it does on them. It makes you look unprofessional and petty. Keep the high road in mind at all times.
It is acceptable to speak up in one circumstance. The impulse to shield your colleague from discontent is natural if a troublesome client approaches them. As long as you share your experience in a private setting, it’s okay to share your experience.
We want to avoid getting caught in the same tangled web as my red flag clients. The WordPress developers I work with know who those clients are. I’ve warned them.
It’s Not Easy Letting Clients Go.
You may feel like you have failed when you have to let a client go. As a freelancer or agency owner, you don’t have to put up with unpleasant people.
Your focus and creative output will suffer if you spend your time protesting against a client who doesn’t remit payment on time for your work.
You will be incredibly relieved not to have any poor client relationships behind you when you look back through the rearview mirror. It will help you attract new clients and forge stronger relationships with them if you follow these tips.