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The first thing you have to do is get to know her job inside and out. Ask her up front about the collection methods she uses and why invoices are not being paid on time or not collected in a more timely manner.
You may want to ask her to help you with the transition, have her make the phone calls to introduce you, and to explain the new billing and collection procedures. Your company may want to start some incentives such as a 1-2% savings if the client pays within 30 days by wire transfer or some other new way to clear your receivables in a more timely manner.
When a long time employee of one of our vendors was retiring he sent an email to everyone in his outlook folder. We had the opportunity to thank him and wish him well on the golf course.
Good Luck, personnel changes at this time of year can be tricky. You need to make very sure that there are no hurt feelings and burned bridges.
Thank you so much for responding. My only problem right now is that though the retirement was decided on in October and she was going to go down to 2 days a week starting next week, she became very ill about 3 weeks ago and got some really bad news so I don't have her to give me anymore help! I'm really on my own but I really liked your "incentives" suggestion and I will look into sending everyone in outlook (what a great idea)a letter introducing myself (I have been working for this company for 21 years in another capacity) as the new office manager. Again, thank you
You may want to include just a little news on her health and an email address for get well from her customers. The whole story is not necessary. I am very sorry for your employees health situation but now you have a lead-in that is not going to start things off badly with your customers.
If your retired employee had anyone that she confided in, went to lunch with etc, you will do well to get that person on your side quickly. More often than not, the friend will have some valuable insight into what the daily routine was.
Good responses from DDiva. As for your question about the letter itself . . . ideally, it should go out to your customers from the manager who is retiring, not from you (i.e., the person they are used to hearing from and dealing with should be introducing the person they don't know -- i.e., you). So if possible, draft the letter on her behalf and ask her to sign it.
The letter should: (a) state her reason for writing (that she is retiring, and is writing to introduce her replacement), (b) introduce you by name and title/position, (c) tell the customer something about you (e.g., you been with company doing such-and-such for 21 years), (d) express her confidence in you, or give a specific example of how/why you were qualified and selected to take over for her, (e) indicate how have you fill will benefit both the company and the customer (you want the customer to anticipate that this could be a good thing, not dig in for the battle you are anticipating with some of them -- so try to think of some of the positive changes you'll be making and highlight them), (f) close with an expression of thanks on her behalf to the company and its customers.
If she is unwilling or unable to sign such a letter, then it should come from a senior executive (but again, you can draft it following the format above).
Hope that helps. Good luck in your new role.
Above, on item (e), I meant to say, indicate how having you fill the position will benefit both . . .
Lighthouse24's letter suggestion is great.... maybe you could also mention therein what a big
loss the former manager is to your company .... however, you will try your best to duplicate
his/her performance, if not surpass, to continue having such wonderful relationship with
each and every customer you have.
Believe "warning" is better replaced with "be more aggressive in seeing each transaction wrapped up
to the desired target/end".
Happy New Year!
You have all been a great help! I will be sitting down today and drafting a letter. The retiring office manager is really unavailable. She isn't taking her health news well at all and has almost sort of curled up and given up even though she hasn't gotten an EXACT diagnosis yet. I'm afraid I'm on my own with this. I think I am going to call the clients that I do know through my years here and the other's I will send out a letter. Thanks again. This site has been great and I may need you all again!
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How do I let our clients know that our office manager is retiring and that I will be taking over for her? She has been dealing with these people for the last 15 years and judging by the amount of open invoices not too aggressive about collecting. I will be changing so much. We are going to be e-mailing invoices now and following up with a phone call on the 31st day instead of just sending out monthly reminders. This will be a big change for our clients and I feel I need to warn them! Should I do a letter of introduction and if yes I should, how do I word it, what type of info should be in it? I could really use some help, this part of our company is all new to me!