Communication Essentials with Acquired Answering Service Clients

In the post what should you do after the acquisition? we looked at seven essential steps to take once your answering service purchase is complete. These steps will help ensure a smooth and profitable transition. One of the key steps is to communicate with the newly acquired clients. Failing to effectively communicate with them increases the chances that you will fail to successfully integrate them into your answering service. There are only two reasons why you wouldn’t communicate with clients about the acquisition. One is if it’s a rush deal, and you have no time to do so. But if this is the case make sure you do it later. The other reason is if they will encounter absolutely no changes whatsoever either now or in the future. Since this is highly unlikely, communication with them is essential. Here are the key elements you will want to communicate to your newly acquired answering service accounts. While you may combine these elements together into one communication, you will more effectively get your message across if you sequentially share each item in separate mailings or emails. Announce the Good News: Clearly explain about the acquisition. Don’t bury the news in the middle of a bunch of text or obscure the meaning with wording provided by a team of lawyers. Anticipate common concerns and give them honest assurances. Let them know how this will benefit them. Confirm that you value their business and will do everything you can to make a smooth transition. And most importantly, let them know who to reach with questions. Share the Transition Schedule: Next let them know what to expect during the transition and when to expect it. There’s no need to share activities that will happen internally, but it’s essential to provide detail in the items that will directly affect them and the service you provide. Again, be clear and concise. Don’t confuse them with industry jargon or detailed explanations that will only complicate matters. Again, let them know who to contact if they have questions. Reveal Improvements: Once they know you bought their answering service and have established a timetable, now is a great time to let them know about the improvements you plan for the service you provide. Though you hinted at this in the prior two messages, now is the time to give details. Let them know specifically how things will improve once you complete the transition. Celebrate these improvements as tangible benefits you will provide to them to enhance the service you offer. End with a reminder of who they should contact if they have more questions. Introduce Your Team: In the fourth communication, introduce your key staff who will work with them. In the prior communications, there was probably one person who they could call. Unless you will provide them with a dedicated account rep who will serve as the point person for all interactions, now is the time to let them know who to contact for customer service, sales, and billing. These are the customer-facing employees who they will normally interact with. You may also want to introduce the corporate management of your answering service. Though recognize that if you do, you open these folks to receive questions and concerns from the newly acquired accounts. You may or may not want this to happen. If you include these individuals, don’t mention them first, but start with and emphasize the people you want them to contact in the normal course of interaction with your company. Stuff the Bill: The fifth critical communication occurs with the first invoice you send them. If you mail invoices, this is a great time to include a bill stuffer. Explain the bill and how it differs from what they may be used to. You can also address other items you want to reinforce or cover questions that have come up during the transition. If the bill is sent by email, you have an opportunity to include this communication electronically, though it may need to be abbreviated if you expect them to read it. Conclude with who they should reach if they have billing questions. Also include other key contacts in your company. Depending on the situation, you may want to provide additional communication to help ensure a smooth transition. However, if you are short on time or the transition is relatively easy, you can combine some of these elements. Just remember that each time you communicate with your new clients, you have an opportunity to enhance your long-term relationship with them and increase their lifetime value as a client. Don’t skimp on communicating with newly acquired clients or you may fail to realize the financial value of your purchase. Janet Livingston is the president of Call Center Sales Pro, a premier sales and marketing service provider and consultancy for the call center and telephone answering service industry. Contact Janet at or 800-901-7706 to arrange a private consultation about buying or selling an answering service. Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan.