It's a natural inclination to want to tell your customers you're moving on to a new job. In fact, your employer may appreciate you doing this, especially if you're able to reassure clients of the company's value and convince them to continue their association with the business. However, before you start spreading the news of your departure, check with your boss or human resources representative about any legalities that prevent you from doing so.
No Compete Agreement
Your employment contract might include a “no compete” clause. This could prevent you from telling customers you're moving to another company, particularly if it's a direct competitor. The idea behind this clause is that departing employees may attempt to entice existing customers to follow them to a new company, costing the current employer revenue-generating business. Your human resources manager can give you insight into what you can and can't say to customers before you leave.
If you work in a job in which you have close regular contact with customers, such as servicing an account, your boss may want you to help someone else transition into your position by introducing them to your existing clients. In this instance, you would give your colleague pertinent documents and information about your client and provide a general overview of your work history. Make an introduction between the two parties, in person if it's a major client, and explain the circumstances of your departure. Let the two of them form a relationship from there.
You may be permitted to send a letter to your customers, informing them of your exit and thanking them for their business. Follow directives issued by human resources about what you can and can't say. In many cases, the contact you can have with customers after giving notice depends on the circumstances of your departure. For example, if you're taking an extended leave of absence to have a baby and raise a family, your boss will probably be fine with you conveying that information to customers. However, if you're leaving on bad terms, telling people why you’re quitting or talking badly about your employer is unprofessional behavior that can follow you in your career.
Personal Visit or Phone Call
If you regularly interact with your customers in person, and you get the go-ahead from your boss, tell customers in person that you’re leaving the company. Make plans to wrap up any projects already in the works and transfer the account to someone else in your company. If an in-person meeting is impossible, make a phone call to your most significant customers to say goodbye, providing your employer doesn't have a problem with the contact.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.