How To Transition a Customer to a Competitor

Businesswoman with others.

No one ever wants to be faced with an unhappy or leaving customer, but most companies at some point will have to be a part of a transition of service. Knowing how to, and how not to deal with this situation, is an important part of business relations.

When faced with a customer that would like to move to a competitor, it is important to be as cooperative as possible. This doesn’t mean that you have to break policy or provide trade secrets; however providing an environment where you can work together in the interest of the customer is the key to keeping a sound relationship intact.

Avoid holding things hostage. One thing many MSP’s have been guilty of is, holding things like network passwords or vital information hostage. This may be due to non-payment or other issues with the account. This tactic does nothing more than creates hostility and adds additional anger to an already fragile situation.

Work diligently to move things as quickly as possible and provide necessary responses when requested by vendors, the customer, or the new provider. Not responding can be just as bad as holding things hostage. When you become unavailable or unresponsive, tensions can run high and frustration levels can get in the way of a smooth transition.

Though a transitioning customer is a frustrating and sometimes overwhelming event, do not look at it as a failure; rather treat it as a learning opportunity. Some businesses hold after action meetings to discuss what occurred, what caused the customer to leave, and what could have been done differently to keep the customer.

No matter what the reason for the customer leaving, treating them and their new provider as professionally and respectively as possible, will make things easier and will keep you as a potential strong choice if things do not work out. You may be surprised at how many customers realize their mistake later on down the road. For this reason, continue to provide them with marketing materials and occasional status checks in case of a future change of heart.

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