By Steve Michaels
As with any telemessaging company acquisition, both the buyer and seller want the transition to go as smoothly as possible, and the least amount of change, the better. It is in the buyer’s best interest to let the clients know a week or so before any change is made such as moving accounts to a different call center.
In this type of acquisition, two different companies with different styles of doing business are hopefully merging into a single operation without any client loss. Remember, people do not like change, so make this the primary consideration during the changeover. The newly acquired clients will have to get used to new agents, equipment, billing methods, and procedures; so make this process as painless as possible. One part of this equation that will increase client retention is to draft a letter informing the clients of the changes.
I am not going to present a specific letter because of all the variables involved, but will give some key points and phrases that may be included in a personalized notification letter:
· We would like to announce that we are joining forces with XYZ Company in order to provide you with the ongoing, excellent service that you have become accustomed to with as little change as possible.
· Our customer service teams will be working with you throughout the transition to answer any and all of your questions.
· We feel proud that we are joining forces with XYZ Company and in doing so we will now be able to provide you with enhanced services that were not formerly available.
· Because of this transition, we will be able to provide you with better technology, improving your service. (Hopefully the buyer’s business is more technologically advanced than the seller’s is.)
· We have done extensive research and have found XYZ Company to be one of the best in the industry. We feel proud to join forces with such an elite company.
· As a courtesy to those of us who have served you for many years, we would appreciate it if you could give this new merger a chance. I’m sure it will take a brief period for this merger to solidify and work out the bugs, but we are committed and will bend over backwards to offer you the best service available.
Further, I recommend that you call your new accounts in 30, 60, and 90 days to see if there have been any concerns or complaints. Most clients will not complain; they will simply seek other options and leave. I also recommend that the two companies combine their logos on the invoices for the first couple of billings to acclimate the customer to the changeover.
With any acquisition, the clients will perceive that the buyer is the bad guy. The seller has to prove to the client that the new buyer is reliable and trustworthy. In addition, the seller will need to convince clients that the buyer can do the job as well, if not better, than the seller did.
Discuss with the buyer if they have won any awards or are members of the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Elks, and so forth. Sellers should use this information to toot the buyer’s horn which would make them look like an outstanding company with which to be associated
Successfully moving clients to a new call center can be one of the hardest jobs you’ve ever attempted. It can be simplified with some careful planning.
Steve Michaels and TAS Marketing have been serving the Teleservices industry in the mergers and acquisitions market for 24 years with 230 businesses sold. He may be contacted at 800-369-6126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[From Connection Magazine – October 2003]