Although negotiations on your latest M&A deal may have been completed to everyone’s satisfaction - it’s ultimately your customers that will decide the success of your merger and acquisition project.
Will both acquirer and acquired company keep their existing client base? Or will change and uncertainty undermine the position they currently hold in the marketplace? The answer to this very much depends on how well you communicate your company’s intentions, and the degree with which you reassure your customers that it’s business as usual – despite any changes.
Put your customers at the heart of your M&A integration project
Your starting point is to ensure that you take a wider assessment of the project that goes beyond purely financial considerations. You need to look at your current business and operating model and decide if it’s going to continue to deliver at expected levels.
Next, compare what you currently offer your customers against the service that you would ultimately like to provide. What are the gaps between your existing and target capabilities? Can these be bridged by new technology that can be implemented as part of your merger?
How can your teams help?
To ascertain how you could improve service delivery, bring together various members of your teams. Together, they can help you to uncover new ways of delivering more value to your customers – and potentially reveal new business opportunities.
Start with your desired business outcomes from the M&A and look at how your people and your technology can be used to deliver them. In some cases, there could be quick wins from the merger that come about just as a result of increased capabilities.
It’s the longer-terms wins that will take more strategic planning and pre-implementation is the time to take a look at these. Do you want to enter new markets, create new products or services or simply improve the customer experience?
Align people and technology
The outcome of these team meetings will also give you a better idea of your employees’ experience and crucially their attitude to the M&A project. Are some resistant to change while others are eagerly looking forward to learning new skills?
Now when it comes to your integration, you will find it easier to align your team’s resources and expertise with the technology that’s in place and any new systems or procedures that you plan to introduce.
Throughout all of this, service delivery should be front of mind, and this is where customer advocacy comes into play.
Delegate a customer advocate
During each stage of your M&A integration, you should take stock of the customer experience. It’s easy to alienate loyal customers by suddenly failing to deliver what they’ve come to expect.
From your team meetings, you may be able to see which member of your staff would be best placed to play the customer advocate role during M&A implementation. This person will have responsibility for customer due diligence pre-and post-integration. It’s important for them to put themselves in the shoes of your clients and consider any potential impact on the service you deliver to your customers during your integration project.
With strong customer advocacy throughout an M&A project, you will help to secure post-merger success and lay the groundwork for future business initiatives.
If you’d like to know how can make your M&A integration more customer focused, contact us for a friendly discussion regarding your IT needs on 0800 622 6719.