Customer Experience during Merger & Acquisition (M&A)
Customer Experience during Merger & Acquisition (M&A)
Merging of businesses often comes with benefits such as gaining market share, financial stability, efficiency in operations, and cost savings (Chron, 2020). They also come with other developments like price changes, diversity in the products or services offered, changes in customer service, and improved product quality (Chron, 2020). These effects of mergers can be positive or negative to the consumer. The impacts of mergers are felt in many ways during and after the turbulent period of the merging process.
Customer experience is an essential factor that should be considered when companies merge (Kiely, 2018). In the merger between Marriott and Starwood Hotels’ Loyalty Programs, the members expressed discontent in the customer service, long waits on calls, tedious automated systems, and transfer of records to the new program. These are genuine expectations and complaints from the loyalty program members. Scholars further affirm that mergers bring changes that can be stressful to customers, such as forced migration or integration to a new customer interface (Britt, 2019).
Companies should put customer experience into consideration in the merger process (Kiely, 2018). They can do this by creating a team dedicated to the M&A issues, separating normal business operations from the M&A process, understanding customer expectations and putting them in the M&A plans, and communicating effectively about the merger (Kiely, 2018). Time, energy, and attention must be well integrated for a smooth transition. Furthermore, having a designated professional team to handle arising issues ensures seamless day-to-day operations (Kiely, 2018).
During merging, fervent communication plays a fundamental role in maintaining exceptional customer experience (Britt, 2019). Once customer expectations are clearly understood, the company needs to communicate with members effectively and consistently while at the same time minimizing disruption to the customer experience. This can be done using employees such as sales and service reps, the use of technology like automated services like automated emails, and mass media (Britt, 2019). Companies should provide clarity to their customers.
Britt, P. (2019, August 15). How to handle customer experience during a merger or acquisition. CMSWire.com. https://www.cmswire.com/customer-experience/how-to-handle-customer-experience-during-a-merger-or-acquisition/
Chron. (2020, October 13). How can a company merger affect consumers? Small Business – Chron.com. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/can-company-merger-affect-consumers-37226.html
Kiely, D. (2018, June 6). Don’t neglect your customers during a merger. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2018/06/dont-neglect-your-customers-during-a-merger
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