How to Send Condolences for a Client


The etiquette for sending a condolence to a business associate, client or coworker is similar to personal condolences. How you handle a bereaved business associate will depend on how well you know the client, as would be the case for your neighbor, acquaintance or friend of the family. It is best to find out the family's wishes on how they would like to handle condolences. Regardless of the type of business relationship you have with your client, there are some standard ways to send condolences that are generally accepted as appropriate.

  • Send a quick sympathy email immediately after you learn of the person's death. Make the email short and to the point while keeping it sincere.

  • Follow up with a condolence card or condolence letter. Never send a condolence email without also sending a personal card or letter signed with your signature. Consider sending a few short sentences on stationary along with a store bought condolence card. Send your card or letter within a day or two if possible.

  • Check with the funeral home to see if the family would prefer that your company make a charitable donation in lieu of flowers or gifts baskets. For flowers or gifts, arrange to have them sent to the home of the client or the funeral parlor. Include a note card with the arrangement that offers your condolences. Sign the card with your name followed by the name of your company or department.

  • Inquire about the family's needs. Consider making a donation to the client's family from your business, especially if there are young children.

  • Consider your relationship with the client and determine if it is necessary to attend the wake or funeral service. In many cases, funeral services are attended by those who knew the person well. Attend if you desire, however, know that if you were not close with the person it will not be expected of you.


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