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3 Ways to Maintain Positive CX Amid a Merger


Presented By: Sitel

Mike Small, Chief Client Officer, Sitel Group 

Brand acquisitions and mergers happen frequently and while executives within the companies tend to be more concerned with overhead costs, regulatory approvals and fending off industry competition, one of the most overlooked processes is handling change management for the customer. The lifeline to any business is the customer and in order to see a successful transition months after a merger, brands need to separately and cohesively keep customer experience (CX) top-of-mind instead of being an afterthought.   

To help guide brands within any industry - be it retail, hospitality, finance and more - through a merger with a top focus on CX, here are three rules to follow:   

Continuously communicate

The number one rule to a successful CX program (at any time but especially during a major change like a merger) is to keep the customer-base fully updated on the transition milestones. What this means is communicating to the customer first and foremost why the merger is happening and how the customer will benefit from the new business. In the case of the T-Mobile and Sprint transaction, the two CEOs went on a media tour explaining why the deal made sense from a business operations and market standpoint. They also translated that they have a customer-first mentality and that the merger will provide better experiences like increased cell receptions, faster internet and that there would even be cost savings for the customer. While a week’s worth of media tours is a great start, it’s not enough to keep customers engaged and maintain their trust. Brands cannot afford to underestimate the power of over communicating benefits to the customer.

Make sure message delivery is receptive

How brands go about communicating the merger to the customer is just as, if not more, important than the content of the message itself - but somehow this is a process in the CX program that is often overlooked. Personally, I can’t stand to receive email notifications from brands so I’ve chosen to opt-out of this form of communication. If, for example, I were a T-Mobile or Sprint customer and I received an email explaining the details of the merger instead of via a channel I prefer (like SMS messages or phone calls) I would personally feel as though my brand preferences went out the window at the onset of the merger. The moral of the story here is that how brands choose to communicate with customers on an ongoing basis must adhere to the customer’s preferences. Change can sometimes be hard for customers and what you don’t want is for the change to be disruptive to their day-to-day lifestyles. If the content of your message and the method in which you communicate with your customers is in-line with what they’re used to, the news of change will be less disruptive.   

Court your customers throughout the transaction

Just because they’re your customer today doesn’t mean they’ll be your customer tomorrow. The truth is, customer retention amid a merger is a delicate topic because of the aforementioned “change.” This is the time where brands need to “step it up” and put an emphasis on courting their customers. If a particular set of customers appreciates cost savings -- offer them a discount for being a loyal customer. If you know that features and functions are a top priority for another customer demographic, treat them to limited-time free access to new services. Understanding each demographic within your client base not only exhibits that your brand has a pulse on what’s important to them, it build credibility and trust -- two characteristics that are important to uphold during a transition. 

When going through a major transition like a merger, it’s important for brands to prove their commitment to over communication, transparent message delivery and the fact that they’re willing to surprise and delight their customers. These tips can be applied to any CX program but should absolutely make up the DNA of a CX strategy during a merger.