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3 Pieces of Advice When Customers Say Good-Bye

May 23, 2017

Wisdom, advice and wisdom for entrepreneurs, small companies and female business owners

As a cruise ship pulls away from a dock loaded with passengers setting off on a voyage, friends and family wave goodbye and cheer them on. When loved ones are departing from an airport, well wishes abound as family send them off on their journey. Even at funerals, a respectful adieu is bid by those who once knew the person who passed away. Ending any relationship with the proper words and demonstrations of good will are necessary for both parties in every situation in life.

In business, we must think about ending all our relationships as good as we can with utmost respect for the customer relationship we have developed. When I owned my event planning business where clients lasted on average 9 years with my company, I was not accustomed to departing clients, but with Women TIES a business that offers and renews yearly memberships, I needed to adapt to more frequent goodbyes based on the volume of members alone. Getting use to dealing with endings has become more regular in my business life today.

I have learned to focus on some key strategies to keep my eyes focused on my customers and myself that I hope help you the next time this situation arises to you:

* Remember a client is a client until the final moment a contract, service agreement or relationship ends. No matter how soon you might want to get out of a connection to a customer, you should respect the business and the agreement and offer assistance until the moment the contract expires.

* With emotions set aside, review the work and money you collected from the customer analyzing the positive influence the business relationship had on your company and bottom line. Don’t let emotions influence the business association you had by ending the relationship or work for the client too early. One wrong decision can negatively influence this customer’s testimonies to others.

* Not every business affiliation works out perfectly. Every entrepreneur faces criticism and insensitive judgment over their career. Make sure to walk away from any good or bad relationship with lessons learned and ways to improve or change future business bonds with other customers or vendors.

It’s important to make sure when you say “goodbye” to a customer you treat them with the same enthusiastic fanfare as the crowds near the cruise ship wishing them safe passage into their future. It’s the best thing to do for both them and you.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2017 1:43 pm

    Today I will be “releasing / firing / saying goodbye to” a client for the THIRD, and final, time. I kept feeling sorry for him and taking him back… Until today when I realized two things:

    1. At some point (much earlier) I should have stated my need for respect, and/or walked away. Respect as a woman, respect for my time, respect for my talent, respect for my invoices.

    2. My pity for him, or my will for him to succeed, seems to be doing neither of us any good.

    I’ve given him a couple options, both of which will leave him able to carry on without me – and neither includes getting me back as a designer. It’s time for us to both move on… he can’t seem to develop a plan with me to move forward, and I can’t do it for him.

    I don’t know if he’ll graciously accept this final goodbye, but it’s what we both need.


    • May 23, 2017 3:14 pm


      I appreciate your expression to the blog post. One of the strengths of being a woman entrepreneur is our compassion for clients. I believe it is a natural female quality. But there are times and clients, as you point out, when setting boundaries helps to release the business relationship opening up both parties to new opportunities. If we hold onto a client too long, we miss another customer who might need our help more and who might give us a better business relationship. Good luck saying goodbye! I am positive there is a better customer for you down the road.



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