On the rebound

He’s not here anymore.

Huh. That’s weird. He didn’t tell me he was leaving. I guess I’ll talk to her.

She’s not here anymore either.

As I moved through my list of contacts, I found that not a single one of them had remained with the company. Two minutes of online research gave me a couple key pieces of information. The company had experienced some explosive growth that included some acquisitions, and all of my contacts were now together at another firm. Another minute of research told me that the new firm had been founded by my now-former main contact around the same time as one of the old company’s acquisitions.

I was no math major, but I can put two and two together. Big company change leads to no room (or desire to be there?) and people leave to start their own company. Makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that no one told me. For two years.

As an active client of the first company, it only seems right that someone would have let me know that my entire customer service team had changed. Granted, my need for personal attention is clearly sporadic–I hadn’t asked for anything in two years–but when I need it, I need it. I should at least know who’s around to take my call.

Fair point: most companies don’t herald departing employees. They especially don’t want to announce that said employees may now be operating in an overlapping space. They may even have The Leavers (sounds like a creepy science fiction moniker, right?) locked up with a non-compete/no-contact agreement that keeps The Leavers from contacting me, so they can’t let me know themselves. But how about this:

Hi there! I’m just calling/emailing to let you know that Willie Bob will be your new account rep. Prudence will be handling your day-to-day questions, and Jackson is also part of that team. We’ve had a few changes here, but I want to make sure you know we’ve always got you covered.

Or something like that. Letting me know upfront is always better than letting me find out by accident. Like, you know, when I call to find out why my emails have gone unanswered.

It’s not only Customer Service 101, it’s common courtesy. I may not be a big client and it’s probably fair to call me a passive customer, but I’m still a customer. When someone with client-specific responsibilities leaves your company, call or send an message to those clients to let them know they’ll have a change of contacts. Short and sweet, no details necessary, but the price of making that effort doesn’t even come close to the price of the client’s frustration otherwise.

Since March Madness started last night, I’ll end with a basketball metaphor. If you don’t make the layups, someone else may get the rebound.


Image courtesy of Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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