How Do You Offboard an SEO Client When They Move to Another Agency?

Everyone loses a client from time to time. Learn how to offboard them properly while protecting your agency.

Video Transcript

David: You’re asking about something that there is no shame in asking because it happens to all of us, which is how to properly offboard a client when a client decides to move to a different agency. What are some best practices for this? And I’m glad you’re asking because I actually had to write down the process.

Tricia: Good, well, I’m glad you had that. Also, to add some information for others in here. For example, I know from working with Google Business Profiles that there’s a right way to do it, and there’s a way that people think is the right way, but they actually are deleting the profile. And I’ve seen that happen before. So that’s why I’m like, okay, even though I’ve found some instructions, I want to make sure there’s no weird language in there and that I accidentally just removed the whole account.

David: All right, so like I said, I’ve lost clients before, too. We know that. We all do. Right? So, I’m going to share my screen. I didn’t put this in Curious Ants, but I think I probably need to. I wrote up this little process document, and it’s all broad, so I can change the name for the client, put the client’s website in it, and send it to the client.

Tricia: Are we going to get a link to this?

David: I’ll send you one.

Tricia: Thank you.

David: But my attitude is, number one, I want to leave in the best possible light. And these are their assets. They own their analytics account. They own their Google My Business. I don’t want to be a scumbag and hold that hostage. Those are their business assets that they’ve invested in by paying me, and now it’s time for them to take those with them. However, they’re not paying me to take the time to offboard them, typically. Now, usually, I ask clients to give me at least a month’s notice, but my contract is always month to month because I can’t offer a guarantee. So, if you have to pull, you pull at the month, and you at least need to give me 30 days. And as part of 30 days, I’ll do as much of this as I can. Right? Because I want to set them up. But there is initiative they need to take, and so that’s what this document is about. And so, I’ve gone through it, and I’ve just kind of thought about all the different things that they might need to remove, and I’ve given them links that they need to follow.

Tricia: Okay.

David: Because they are revoking access to me. And number one, they need to keep that access. So, for instance, they’ve given me an account in WordPress. Okay, great. I don’t want your password, right? Don’t give me your password. Give me an account because I’ve set it up that, well, here’s how to remove access, okay? You follow the directions in this article and remove me if it’s a WordPress site, right? Have a note for the web host that you remove my access to that. Here’s another article on how to remove access and manage users on Tag Manager, right? How to remove me from analytics, how to remove me from Search Console. So, I literally just modify this for the client and say, I’m sorry to see you go. I want you to have everything. Here’s how you can ensure you can either manage this all yourself or pass it off to the next service provider. Okay? However, Reliable Acorn will delete all of our access to your accounts 30 days after the cancellation of our agreement. So, they have a timeline. I do not want access because if the account has gone sour, they’re mad at me, and something weird happens, I don’t want them to say David sabotaged us. Right? Because frankly, if I have access to your Search Console, I could hurt your site if I hit the wrong setting. And I don’t want them to even think that’s even possible. So, they need to revoke me. And I just want them to be super clear: no warranties. You need to have this done in 30 days because if you don’t have it done, I’m going to kill access, and that might mean the loss of your thing. So, I just went through all the things I could think of that they might have given me, like a client email address. Sometimes, I request that if I have CallRail or Yaxt or something like that, these are transferring services. If you want to do CallRail, I can transfer your CallRail numbers to you, and it can be uninterrupted, but you have to tell me. And so, I’ve kind of written this. I’ll share it with you. So, you can use this as a starting point to start to revoke your access or at least get the client to revoke it. I want the client to revoke my access because that means they have to secure access first.

Tricia: Yeah.

David: When you have the luxury of having 30 days’ notice. So, I will be paid during this time. So, I will help them make sure they maintain access. So, if they give me 30 days, that’s the end of the agreement. Thirty days from that, I’m going to start revoking my access. So, you better have it by then.

Tricia: Yeah. So, if they don’t do it, then in 30 days, you remove yourself. Now, for example, like in Google Analytics and Google Search Console, those are ones that, if you’re not an admin or have certain access, you can’t see who is. Is there a way to do it? I don’t know.

David: That’s the downside of this. There are certain things I can’t really remove myself from. Like if they’ve not given me full access or something like that. But my goal here is that they have enough information to secure access themselves. If they don’t remove me, that’s their problem.

Tricia: Yeah, okay.

David: Right? But I’ve asked them to remove me, and I’ve done the best I can. I have various Search Console accounts from clients that are honestly not even worth my effort to remove. And I don’t even look at them.

Tricia: Okay, so that’s one of them, Search Console. Is your thought that on Search Console and analytics, after the 30 days, if they haven’t, then I should remove myself? Or can I not remove myself? I want to make sure I understand what you’re saying.

David: What I tell people is I will remove myself. Reliable Acorn would delete our access 30 days after the cancellation. Please secure your access to prevent problems in the future.

Tricia: Okay.

David: Right? So, I work to make sure I don’t have access, and that’s a liability issue, but it’s also a confidence issue. They can’t say, oh, David, I can’t believe you sabotaged me. I have no ability to do that. I’ve revoked my access. I’ll send this to you.

Tricia: Okay.

Dave: What have you found that most clients do? Do they just wait for you to do it on your own, or do they do it?

David: I’d suggest that most of my clients are fairly sophisticated and have marketing teams. I position Reliable Acorn as almost like your second or third marketing agency, not your first. I don’t work with a lot of small moms and pops who barely understand and barely know how to get into Gmail. I usually work with teams who have advanced processes. So, when I give that to them, they understand the value, and they’d usually work to regain their access. If I were working with a small mom-and-pop, I would be very surprised if they did anything.

Stephanie: Yeah, that’s what I find. There’s a lot of it that I either have to do for them, or I have to add them as an admin because they’ve removed themselves at some point or something stupid and then remove myself or basically say, too bad, so sad. Like I told you.

David: Yeah, that’s why I give the warning here. Too bad, so sad.


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