Does this sound familiar? You've been trying to track down a billing issue with one of your suppliers for over a month. After sending yet another follow-up email to your account manager, you finally receive a response. It starts out by saying "So-and-So is no longer with our company..." The first thing that probably crosses your mind is how long So-and-So has been gone and, more importantly, how long emails from his customers have been going unanswered.
Have you ever bumped into an ex-colleague who said, "I was really getting upset with you. I was trying to solve a customer's admin problem. I left you voicemail messages for weeks before someone mentioned you were no longer with the company"? Situations like these are very frustrating for both your internal and external customers. Not only can you lose them forever, the frustrating part is that their loss is completely preventable!
Tasks Every Manager Should Do When an Employee Leaves - Immediately!
Yes, you read that correctly. Do these tasks immediately, not within the week - do them at least within 24 hours.
- Set an auto-responder on the ex-employee's email address stating that the employee is no longer with the company and who the customer should contact now. Deleting the email address altogether will only create an automated undeliverable email message and create further frustration on the customer's part.
- Change the ex-employee's voicemail message to state the same as the automated email message. Also, ensure you change both the office phone voicemail as well as the message on the company-provided cell phone.
- Send an internal email memo to all employees, stating that the employee is no longer with the company and who will be handling his duties until a replacement is found.
- Change all office locks and security codes to which the employee had access.
- Change all passwords to all computer programs to which the employee had access.
Your to-do list shouldn't stop when the employee leaves, however. You also need to have a plan to replace him, and this plan should be ready to spring into action on a moment's notice.
Does your human resources department have a potential database of candidates on file so you can start interviewing immediately, or are you better off using a recruiting firm? Do you have a qualified firm at the ready? Do they have a proven track record and expertise in your industry and the job function you need filled? A recruiting firm that specializes in engineering is no more qualified to recruit your potential sales reps than you are; they are just much more expensive.
Staff turnover is a fact of life in today's business world. It's inevitable. One day an employee will leave your company for good. Be it by his choice or yours, you must be prepared to act immediately to smooth the transition. If you don't, your own lack of action could cause irreparable damage to your company in terms of lost customer goodwill and, more importantly, lost sales.
Susan A. Enns is a B2B Sales Coach, Author and Managing Partner of B2B Sales Connections. She has a proven track record of success, with over 26 years of experience, and her books have sold on four separate continents.