Our best tips for managing and communicating changes with your clients
Has your business changed?
Have you communicated these changes to your clients?
Throughout the many years of operating your business, there will come a time that you will need to make some significant changes.
An example of these changes could be;
1. Implementing a new brand message and logo
2. Changes to the way the business operates
3. Mergers and acquisitions
4. Even changes to meet new industry requirements or trends.
The majority of these changes WILL have an impact on your clients.
Whether this impact has positive or negative implications often hinges on the way you plan and communicate the change with your clients.
The different personality traits of individuals have a considerable impact on how they accept change. Some people relish the idea of something new while others shy away and need to have their handheld through each step.
Putting yourself in the shoes of your customers is essential.
Plan your communication and implementation process around how you think your customers would feel and what type of information that will need to remain comfortable.
Our best tips for communicating changes with your clients
(1.) Put a plan in place
Without a well-planned communication and response strategy, everything will fall apart quickly once the first complaint rolls in and your reactively change the process.
Plan it, document it, and then communicate this with your staff, so everyone is on the same page.
(2.) Give advance warning
There is nothing worse than having some unexpected news spring on you at the last minute.
Ensure that your communications incorporate why the change is taking place and also emphasises the value and benefits to the client.
(3.) Be honest
Don’t try and sugarcoat things.
Trickery and misleading messages will ultimately have a far worse impact than the change itself.
Being honest builds brand trust and integrity. Sometimes providing a reward or incentive to accept the change can improve the overall outcome.
(4.) Plan for the worst
Put yourself in the client’s shoes and think about the worst-case scenario.
Then take some time and build in the response and potential remedy to each of these scenarios.
(5.) Be detailed in your communications
Publish detailed and regular messages.
Provide step by step instructions where appropriate on how the change will take place. Use many channels of communication such as email, social media, land mail, website, newsletters, and even phone calls.
(6.) Provide a support system or framework
Have a contact person, phone and email that is dedicated to answering questions related to the change.
If possible, have an online help portal where all the information can be centralised. DO NOT forget your social media channels, and not all people stick with phone and email.
(7.) Put your words into actions
It’s one thing to tell everyone about the changes, but another to have your staff lead the customers through the new process. Make sure that any of the changes are acknowledged in the business with your clients, e.g. explain and demonstrate the differences, and then walk them through changes to any processes or systems.
(8.) Follow up
After a period of time, reach out to your clients to get feedback about the change and the impact it has had on them, positive or negative.
Email surveys are excellent for this, but sometimes a personal phone call is even better.
Listen, acknowledge and then act on any feedback and report back to them the results.
Important things to remember
Always remember that change is the only constant in life, and it’s also true in business.
Most businesses lose clients when they make changes not because of the changes themselves, but due to a lack of communication and the transition process.
Keep your clients “in the loop” and you’ll find your clients will stick with you as you grow and expand your business.
Think about how you can use this change as an excuse to get closer to your clients. Turn it into a positive by getting to know your customers again and to reinforce your brand and offer. Loyal and quality customers will follow.
Your brand is one of the most important items in your business.
Treat it with care and make sure you implement the right activities to uphold its integrity.
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