Client Offboarding (Phyllis Khare)

Phyllis Khare

This piece is repurposed from the original Social Media Manager School, now Pulse Academy, with contributions from SMMS members Daphne Leblanc and Debbie Peck.

At some point in your social media manager journey, you will need to close out contracts with clients. Whether they will request this, or you will decide to stop working with them, in both cases, you’ll need to close up all the parts of the contract so you can let it go knowing you’ve checked all the boxes.

Please note—some clients will come back (even years later) and be upset about something. By creating this document and sharing it with them via email, you can reference this history and be assured you are good to go.

Client Offboarding Checklist

This checklist is meant as a template, as you will need to adjust it according to your particular situation with your client. There are elements in here for ecommerce clients, bloggers, retail stores, etc. Just delete the sections that don’t apply to your situation.

Draft a final email for clients, employees, or teams that have access to you through the contract. This final email needs to be professional and positive; make sure you thank them for the opportunity to work with them.

“Clarity and having everything in writing is the key. Bottom line: do not assume people will know. You have to spell it out.” —Debbie Peck

Hold this DRAFT email until you have completed all the steps below and feel confident that you have covered all the points you need to cover to close out a contract.

  • In the email, point them to where their assets currently reside: their Google Drive folder, Dropbox, Shared Evernote folders, wherever they may be. Let them know that all of their information will remain in the shared folder for one month (or the amount of time you prefer) and then it will be deleted—or state that you will be removing yourself from the Shared Folder(s) and transferring ownership to the client (I think transferring ownership is a much better option in most cases).

  • If they have any outstanding invoices owed, mention the amount(s) and date due. Let them know that you will be sending a separate email about that with the final invoice. If you use an invoicing tool, make a note on that final invoice that this concludes the contract.

  • Attach a copy of your signed Proposal and Contract. Note in the email that all the contracted tasks have been completed, or state that because the client did not provide the necessary components, that the contract is now void (as per the contract itself).

  • Download all content from various social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and save this to the client’s shared folders BEFORE you send the email.

  • If you are an Admin on any of their social media accounts, note in the email the date you will remove yourself.

“Always let people know that you will be removing yourself from their accounts. BUT! If you are doing social media management and have posts scheduled, let them know that they cannot remove you until a certain date—otherwise, your posts may not post, depending on how it was set up. One day after the final post, delete yourself and send another email to let them know.” —Debbie Peck

  • If you have password access to their blogging platform, ask them (and give them directions on how!) to remove your user account.

  • If you have their accounts set up in a third party tool, remove them and make a note in the email the date when that step happened.

Let your email sit for one night if possible, as you will most likely think of something else to add by morning and you don’t want to have to send several other emails.

If you have local retail business clients, here are a few more points to put on your custom checklist from Daphne Leblanc.

  • If the business is completely closing:

    • Go to their Google My Business account and mark it as permanently closed. Make a point in your final email that this step was completed by you.
    • Contact Yelp and mark as permanently closed. If the phone number is showing on the Yelp page, remove that prior to closing the account—people will still try to call the location even though it says closed. Add to the email that you did this task.
    • Create a landing page for the company website/location page. Have messaging on the page that the location is closed; based on the type of service, you may want to include a contact link. Add to the email that this step was completed.
  • If the business will continue on without you, remove yourself from their Google My Business manager list. This will take you off their YouTube Channel manager list, too.

Other great info from Debbie Peck:

  • All clients are also informed that I retain no files or information after 1 year. ALWAYS date all correspondence that you send and be sure to put time limits on everything.

  • I have had clients come back anywhere from 4 months to (now the longest!) 5+ years requesting information and wanting work done within the scope of their previous contract.

  • When you initially deliver work, your contract should state how long they can wait to contact you or how many revisions they can make.

    • For example, on funnel work, my clients have 30 days after delivery to come back and have corrections made. This gives them the opportunity to test things out (we’ve already tested it, but it gives them a chance to test in real-world scenarios).
    • My coaching clients have 3 months past their end date to finish up any appointments or they forfeit them.
  • I love working with former clients and have had many come back. The one-year time limit is for them to know that they may not be able to get the same terms or pricing as their previous contract.

Also see: Client Onboarding

Phyllis Khare @phylliskhare
I’m the original Co-Founder of Social Media Manager School, now powered by Agorapulse and re-designed here in the Social Media Pulse Community.

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What else would you include when closing up a client relationship?

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