Ensuring great customer experience through a merger – 4 keys to effective merger communications
When your company takes on a merger or acquisition, you may see great opportunities, but you should also keep a sharp eye on how the transition affects your customer experience. With all the challenges of change – how do you retain customers and strengthen brand loyalty so you can capture the full value of the deal?
In our experience, effective merger communications play a vital role in a successful integration. The right communication strategies can help you positively influence customer perceptions and behaviors to preserve relationships. They also help you build internal alignment to ensure teams stay focused on delivering a great customer experience.
4 keys to effective merger communications
Change can be disruptive and unsettling. It’s important to reassure and strengthen relationships with both customers and employees — especially those coming via acquisition who are new to your company. Consider these best practices for your merger communications:
1 — Deliver clear, consistent messaging
Merger integration often stalls out when people are left with uncertainty. Both your customers and employees will want to understand the big picture, and most importantly, how they’ll be affected. It’s mission critical to define key messages that provide a clear, cohesive, and reassuring story about the changes. Highlight what’s happening and what to expect — and communicate that story consistently across all channels. It’s one of the best ways to build alignment and momentum for a successful transition.
2 — Identify and address stakeholder concerns
It’s not enough to simply issue statements about the merger. Empathy is essential. You need to understand stakeholder concerns so your communications convey what’s most relevant and meaningful to people, to help generate positive perceptions about the changes. Helping customers and employees feel reassured and confident can drive a smooth transition and speed adoption of new processes.
Do your homework early with change readiness assessments that identify customer and employee concerns. Then craft merger communications that will resonate well and build buy-in. Creating customer personas can help you tailor messaging for specific audiences.
3 — Engage early and often
You want to make sure your customers (and employees) feel like you’re paying attention to their needs during times of change. In addition to servicing letters, engage directly through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin. Social media monitoring enables you to respond promptly to customer feedback about the merger and promote positive impressions that help strengthen cooperation and retention.
Internally, keep your teams well prepared to support customers with any questions or issues by providing regular updates through email, newsletters, or internal portals. And make sure you regularly communicate your appreciation to employees for all their efforts through a merger. When your people feel valued and engaged, they’re more likely to go the extra mile for customers.
4 — Equip internal teams with communication best practices
Consistency is all-important in communicating through a merger. To keep things on track, provide customer-facing employees with messaging tools that help them understand how to best support customers through the changes. For example, a writing guide for merger communications can include core talking points, best practice examples for customer emails, links to helpful resources, and even legal tips for talking about the merger.
Ultimately, successful merger integration means you retain and grow your customer base, strengthen brand loyalty, and build stronger internal teams to lead the company forward. Well-planned, effective communications are a powerful tool to get you there — enabling you to overcome many common challenges and help ensure a profitable outcome for the merger.