Did you know that client offboarding is just as important as onboarding? Although most companies think of offboarding as something they only do with employees, marketing agencies know that a regular client offboarding process is a norm for their industry. Despite understanding the importance of this, many marketing agencies don't have a formal client offboarding process in place — even though doing so could pave the way for future business or referrals from that customer.
In this article, we’ll go over how to create a uniform and efficient offboarding experience using a client offboarding checklist. We’ll also dive into the nitty-gritty details of key tasks such as wording a farewell email to clients and figuring out how to get client feedback that will improve your relationships moving forward.
Why do you need a client offboarding process and checklist?
Business leaders know that first impressions count, but last impressions are forever. No matter how well the project did (or didn’t) go, you still have an opportunity to make or break your relationship with a client. In order to leave them with a favorable impression of your brand, you need to have a uniform and repeatable offboarding process.
The best way to do that? Have a client offboarding checklist that keeps track of what needs to be done, who is in charge of each step, and whether or not the outcome was effective. Not only will this help you keep things organized, but it will also guarantee continuous improvement over time.
How to streamline your client offboarding process
Like any other complex assignment, the best way to streamline your client offboarding process is to use a project management tool. Project management tools allow you to create the desired timeline, add detailed tasks with assigned approvers and micro-deadlines, and easily share important documentation with clients and HR.
So, what do you put in a client offboarding checklist?
You should always include the following key bullet points on your client offboarding checklist:
- Review the original contract or agreement. Use any early termination clauses as a guideline for legal and financial next steps.
- Send an annotated file with all key documents pertaining to the client’s projects for their records.
- Conduct an offboarding meeting to go over any open projects as well as wrap up final steps that need to be taken before handing the work back to them.
- Get feedback from the client. Ask them about why they’ve chosen to terminate and if the reason has to do with something your agency did, what you can do to improve moving forward.
- Closeout any remaining invoices or set up a payment plan for the remainder.
- Send them a sincere thank you note. Mention your appreciation for their business and their candid feedback. If they left you with constructive criticism, let them know how you’ll directly implement it in the future.
Who should deal with client offboarding?
Client offboarding can typically be handled by a client services team or an account manager who knows (or can review) the details of the relationship.
The team or manager will then organize, assign, and oversee offboarding task progress so that the process is productive and satisfactory to both parties.
How to use Wrike for client offboarding
You can use Wrike’s interactive Gantt charts, automated time management, and workload view features for client offboarding. Additionally, any of these features can be used to retain customers, which is even more important than bringing on a new client. Here’s how:
- Send detailed progress and analytics reports.
When offboarding a client, make sure to send them a copy of all that your team has accomplished over the course of the project. This information will support any outstanding invoice payment requests so there’s no friction over the final bill.
- Allow access to project documents and marketing assets.
Wrike’s marketing project management system helps you store and share files with other collaborators in one accessible place. Give clients access to all relevant assets so they can download and save anything they need before you permanently close the file.
- Gift them a workflow template.
If the client particularly benefited from a social media campaign or digital asset creation process, share a copy of your workflow template for them. This value-add costs your company nothing but will seriously score some points with clients on their way out the door.
Not only will the workflow serve as a reminder of how helpful your agency was during the course of the project, but it will also influence them to possibly return or refer new business one day.
How to get client feedback at the end of a contract
One of the most important ways to stop customer churn is to ask for and apply client feedback. Ask simple questions that touch on all major areas of improvement including communication, the process of working together, and the final product. Shorter is better because they’ll be more likely to answer it. Plus it shows you’re respectful of their time.
Email them a poll if you want to ask one or two specific questions. Or conduct a short 15-minute phone survey to get more nuanced information. Choose your method of communication-based on your relationship with the client throughout the project. For example, if you exclusively chat online, keep it virtual.
What to put in a farewell email to clients
If you’ve ended the project, include a short reason why in your farewell email as well as what day the project will officially end, how they can pay any outstanding invoices, and what the next steps will be. If the client has ended the project, use the farewell email to thank them, ask for feedback, and send any relevant documents.
Look at examples of employee farewell emails for how to word your message.
Leave a lasting impression with the right client offboarding tool
An effective client offboarding process and checklist can solidify existing customer relationships, paving the way for more opportunities in the future. Use a project management tool like Wrike to schedule and assign client offboarding checklist items to the relevant account manager.
Give our two-week free trial a go to see how you can properly wrap up projects, get constructive feedback, and say farewell to marketing clients in a way that helps your agency continue to grow.