Your best employees work hard to build long-term relationships with your customers and vendors. Over time, trust builds; attachments form, and when that valued person moves on, so might your valued customers. What can you do to keep your customers, when the person they’ve come to know and love will no longer be working at your company?

Last week, I spotted a beautiful example of how it’s done from Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center in Maryland. Long time employee Brian Meader (who we featured in the Paul Reed Smith chapter of “Who’s Your Gladys?) is leaving the company and moving out of state for family reasons. Brian wrote a touching email to his customers about his 19 years with them. The company included a note of appreciation and assurance. Imagine you were one of their customers as you read the company’s note:

Brian Meader is and always will be a cherished member of the Chuck Levin’s extended family. We will miss Brian’s daily presence in all of our lives and his dedication to providing our customers the standard of excellence they’ve come to expect from him.

While we are sorry to see Brian leave, we know that his family is the most important thing in his life. We more than understand the importance of family and fully support his move to Texas. Despite Brian’s absence, Alan, Abbe, Adam, and I want to let you know that we will make sure you continue to receive the highest level of service and support in any of your dealings with us here at Chuck Levin’s WMC. If we can be of any assistance to you in this time of transition or anytime in the future, please feel free to contact any of our trusted and knowledgeable sales staff, or any one of the Levin’s directly, I have listed our emails below. There is always a Levin in the building if you care to speak to us directly.

We’ll miss Brian and wish him well, but the show must go on. Chuck’s will continue to maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

Robert Levin
Abbe Levin
Alan Levin
Adam Levin

What did Chuck Levin’s Music do right? Everything! Here are the main points that made a difference:

  • They acknowledged – People do business with people they like. When one of those lovable people leave, don’t let customers find out after the fact. Acknowledge the transition. Speak to any of the concerns this may bring up for your customers so they feel included in the transition process.
  • They appreciated– It makes sense for a company to appreciate its customers.  Just as important is appreciating those inside the company for their contributions. Valued employees deliver service excellence. When you publically show the love for what a valued employee has meant to the business, your customers feel it, and appreciate you for being aligned with their sentiments.
  • They assured – Customers tend to get nervous during transitions. The comfort zone so brilliantly established with their favorite service provider is now being stretched, as they forge into new territory with someone new. Offer thoughtful assurance, and new connections that comfort your customers.

What do you think? In what ways do you handle transitions to keep your customers and staff feeling connected, and valued?

Written by Marilyn Suttle, coauthor of the bestselling book “Who’s Your Glady? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan.” Contact her at Marilyn@MarilynSuttle.com. 

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