Retaining Your Clients, Customers, and Suppliers: Effectively Communicate Change

Recently, my Internet and cable provider sold the servicing of my account to another company. The new company sent me an EMAIL to advise me of this and included a link to another site where I could register. Given the abundance of security warnings about clicking on unsolicited links, I logged onto my current provider’s network and found no notification of the change. This prompted me to call my current provider’s customer service line and talk with a customer service representative. The customer service representative knew nothing about the change and advised me that it was probably a phishing EMAIL and recommended I ignore it.

Several days later I received an EMAIL in my business account from a trusted colleague alerting me that EMAILS to my personal account were bouncing back.

As I reflected on the communication failure of this behemoth communication empire I realized how the failure to communicate and listen to the impact of how change will affect clients, customers, and suppliers can damage those relationships. While this would seem to be common sense, I’m consistently surprised at how often businesses don’t notify me or consider the impact upon my business when they make changes that affect my business. For example:

The impact my accountant’s uncommunicated change in record keeping requirements had on my ability to get her the records needed to complete my taxes.

The impact a client’s change in their payment cycle had on my need for working capital.

The impact a change in a client’s insurance requirements had on my bottom line.

Learning from the mistakes of others, I resolve as a small business owner to:

    1. Consider the impact any change will have on my clients, customers, and suppliers.
    2. Consult with them on any proposed change.
    3. Communicate why the change is necessary and listen if they have suggestions.
    4. Be specific on how and when the change will be made and how they will be affected.