Transition Smoothly Or Incur the Wrath of Customers

Last week, I received a call from a CEO who had been mishandled by a prominent professional services firm. It turns out that because one of the senior professionals was moving on to other accounts, the CEO was ‘transitioned’ to an other professional – who would be handling her account.

Sounds simple enough. You’d think so, wouldn’t you? You’ve probably introduced less potentially disruptive changes to how you work with customers/clients yourself.

But, the unfortunate truth was that this firm — in the interests of efficiency, profitability and some inaccurate assessment of customer service — kept the CEO completely in the dark of the transition.

All of a sudden someone else was handling the account — no warning, no communication, no rationale…just a new person.

The lesson here, can be summed up by way of a key question: “How do you prepare your customers/clients for any kind of transition?”

Keep in-mind that a transition may come in many forms, for example — a transition from one primary contact to another primary contact. Or, it might be from one contract to another. Or, it may involve upgrading products, new processes for ordering, new technologies or new pricing.

The reality is that how you make the transition is often more important than the new product, process, person, etc. that you’ve introduced to your customer — regardless of the benefit that it brings them (or you).

So, keep in-mind that no matter how small you think the transition is for the customer/client, you’ve got to think about it in terms of the their day-to-day activities. Best rule of thumb: give them a heads-up. Let them know the nature of the transition so that they can plan for any potential impact on their business. And, use that opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them.

Robert and I will delve more deeply into this subject in an upcoming BusinessCast Podcast later this Autumn.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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