Managing client relationships with care has always been essential for organizations both large and small. In today’s hyper connected environment where social sharing has become second nature to many, an organization that fails to treat their relationships with care sets themselves up for a digital eruption that often takes on a life of its own.

Like a big, plump, angry zit that forms on a once blemish-free face, careless handling of relationships can leave even the most steady professional or organization embarrassed,  scared and dealing with oozing pains.

Pleasant Endings

It’s not strange to find lots of attention and care present at the start of a business relationship. Organizations and professionals are likely to put their best foot forward to show how much they value and appreciate the newly formed relationship. Sadly, this is rarely the case when a business relationship inches toward its ending. As business relationships comes to a close, the care and appreciation that was evident at the start of the relationship pretty much lingers as old memories  of happier times.

The worst thing an organization or professional can do to their online reputation is to end a business relationship in a haphazard way – with the respect and care once present at the start of the relationship, missing. Why risk ending on a bad note?

Altered Relationships

Ending business relationships can negatively alter your reputation, taint your credibility and change how former clients reflect on the time they worked with you. With more than your business image at stake, be careful not to act in a way that will dismantle the reputation you’ve worked so hard to build. Gracefully find the time to develop a drama free strategy to help you end business relationships in a professional way.

Your 15 tips for ending a business relationship well:

Here are 15 points to seriously consider before you attempt to put an end to a business relationship:

  1. Start and end every business relationship professionally and with care.
  2. Remain respectful and attentive over the life of your relationships, even more so during the end.
  3. Pick up the phone, or address the matter in person rather than sending a cold, disconnected letter or digital communication.
  4. Be graceful, thoughtful and kind as you deliver unwelcomed or unexpected news.
  5. Give ample notice. Notify clients ahead of time, especially when management changes will directly impact their pockets, e.g., pricing increase, removing or adding payment methods.
  6. Be clear, concise, mature and professional. Put yourself in their shoes.
  7. Mange your emotions and be mindful of your clients feelings.
  8. Be understanding. Change is often uncomfortable and awkward experience for everyone involved.
  9. Never assume you know what your clients believe to be true about you. Ask them, especially after you inform them of changes.
  10. Be thankful for past business and referrals. Be sure to convey how much you valued working with them, even if the experience was challenging.
  11. Offer to refer them to other capable, respectable professionals. Provide a few options in writing. Tell them you will do your best to help them find another professional or organization to work with and keep your word.
  12. Remain aware of your actions, habits and patterns. What you do and how you do it will determine how you are perceived and remembered.
  13. Never forget that disgruntled clients–or clients who are treated poorly–will share their experiences with others offline and online. Work with them to resolve concerns.
  14. Transition gingerly. Make necessary changes in a tactful, thoughtful way, especially when clients have been in your care for several years.
  15. Never argue or become condescending to clients as problems arise. Listen attentively and do everything in your power to remain calm as your business relationship changes.

Treat business relationship with care from start to finish.  Rise to the occasion and  allow your character to shine through.

What else would you add to this list?  

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