There are times when a company's leader should send out emails to clients, and times when they should let their communications department take the lead. When a CEO proactively communicates with their clients, that personal transmission of information makes them feel valued and lets them know their relationship is an important part of the company's success.

Here's when it's important to send a message to clients, so they feel confident about the company's future and your leadership.

1.  When you want to thank them for their business.

Yes, your clients will be receiving a ton of holiday greetings, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't join in on the fun. Use Thanksgiving as a time to show appreciation for their loyalty and business over the past year. Or send a holiday greeting (electronically or via postal mail) wishing them and their families a joyful holiday season, while thanking them for their business. At Dotcom, I like to send our clients holiday cards and let them know we're donating to a local children's cancer foundation on their behalf. These simple gestures can make clients feel like they're part of a larger family.

2. When there's been a data breach.

While you likely have systems in place to try to prevent this from happening, no business is immune from a cyber breach, and you should have a plan in place for how you'll handle a cyberattack should it arise. A 2016 report from AT&T Cybersecurity Insights found that even though 62 percent of organizations in 2015 acknowledged they were breached, only 34 percent think they have an effective incident response plan. One aspect of that response plan should be an email from the company's leader to clients and customers, addressing what happened, how the company is responding, the number of customers impacted, and what's being done to prevent this from happening in the future.

3. When there's been a merger or acquisition.

Your company's public relations department will likely draft a press release to go out for an official announcement, but sharing this exciting news in an email from the CEO will go a long way with clients. Discuss the positive aspects of the acquisition, how it puts the company in a position of growth, and the enhancements to the services you offer clients.

4. When there's been negative press.

When Amazon received an unfavorable write-up in The New York Times a few years ago, CEO Jeff Bezos sent an email to employees with his response, while encouraging them to read the article. Bezos was able to thoughtfully respond to his employees about the piece and how the company is addressing some of the issues and points made in the feature. Should you or your company receive negative press, addressing the issues with confidence and clarity as soon as possible will go a long way to giving clients peace of mind.

5. When there are important changes to the management.

Whether you recently added a chief experience officer (CXO) that helps improve  employee and customer experience, or your company's management has undergone transitions, keeping your clients abreast of the changes helps them feel informed and in-the-know, so they don't feel sidelined when they read about those changes elsewhere. 

When a CEO sends out client-facing communications about the business, the company's goals, or any important changes, it helps clients see the direction their partners are taking and how will it impact them. An informed client is one that feels connected to your business and brand, and wants to continue to work with you.

Published on: Nov 18, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.