An old friend stopped by the office today with her baby of 12 months and we got to talking about work. She recalled how when she first announced to her one-time employer she would be taking maternity leave, the company asked that she not inform her clients of her plans.
Another friend once shared with me a similar approach to poor client communications. Soon after he was hired, a longtime employee gave notice. My friend, in turn was tasked with learning and then taking over several of the exiting employee’s accounts. None of the clients were informed of the change until after the employee was gone.
Honesty. Integrity. Transparency. We’ve talked about these things as important to internal communications with colleagues and employees. They are just as important in client and customer relations. Building relationships based on trust and mutual respect are otherwise impossible.
My friend says he can still recall how awkward those initial client meetings were as they were informed of the personnel change for the first time. With dismay written all over their faces, he said to me, what else could they be thinking other than: ‘If these people haven’t been upfront and open about something as important as this, what else are they not being forthright about?’