In this guest post, Tanya Brusse, Senior Product Manager at TripSpark Technologies, shares questions to ask when considering the impact of an acquisition on customers.
Your customers have come to rely on you and your products to make their lives easier, and they trust you to look out for their best interests.
Selling your business will inevitably have an impact on your customers. By selecting a buyer that will protect their interests and improve the customer experience, you’ll be honouring the trust your customers have put in you.
5 Questions to Consider
Here are a few critical considerations to help you evaluate the impact of an acquisition on your customers:
Will the acquirer continue to offer and invest in your product, or will customers be forced to migrate to a different platform?
Some acquirers will want to phase out your software and incentivize customers to move on to their software, leading to the eventual disappearance of your product. When this happens, your business’ legacy is impacted, and customers are faced with significant switching costs as well as the headache of learning a new system.
Will customers continue to receive the same attention and service they received in the past?
Customers may notice a degradation in service if they are being absorbed into a bigger organization. Find out if customers will retain their support staff or if they will need to develop new relationships as a result of organizational changes.
Consider the business’ long-term stability. Is there risk of your company being re-sold?
Review the track record of your potential buyers. What happens to their companies post-acquisition? Some acquirers buy and sell companies, and some hold on to their businesses for the long-term. When a company is re-sold, there is an increased risk of churn as customers worry about the future viability of the business.
Will the acquirer enable you to increase the value you are able to provide to your customers?
Will there be opportunities to learn and employ new processes that will allow your company to better serve your customers? Find out if the acquirer offers professional development opportunities or access to best practices to help you maintain and improve your level of customer service. Also consider if the acquirer will support product initiatives or user groups to better address customer needs.
How have customers of previously acquired companies fared?
Before you decide on an acquirer, get the perspective of likeminded leaders and ask to speak with sellers that have sold to them. There are many interview questions you can ask sellers to gain an understanding of the buyer’s commitment to their customers. It’s also worthwhile to connect directly with customers of acquired businesses to understand the impact of the acquisition from their perspective.
Do your Due Diligence
Doing due diligence when selling a business is a two-way street. You want to be sure that a potential buyer will treat your customers in a manner that you want them to be treated. Past behaviour is a great indicator of future behaviour so look for a company with a track record of valuing their customers. By selecting the right buyer for your business, you’ll be honouring the trust of the customers that have helped you build your business to where it is today.