The First Acquisition
Following my father’s footsteps, it was time to pursue growth through acquisition. I knew from my father’s experience that when you buy a business it is not a good idea to make changes, at least not for a while. Give yourself time to get to know everyone. There will be plenty of time later to make changes, that is, if you need to make any changes at all. In the mean time, try to learn from the seller; get to know your clients, employees, and vendors.
The answers are usually not in one place so keep your ear to the ground and “Don’t make any changes”! Yep, that was the plan, plain and simple, acquire and don’t make any changes.
So armed with this plan we completed our first acquisition. No sooner than I had returned to my office a couple of days later I was handed a fax that required we must move all of the clients because the current telephone provider was no longer able to provide service. The choice was either find another carrier or be out of business. We did not even have one week without making changes and here we were making major changes.
No nobody likes change, and we were not planning to make any, but with time now against us we did what we could to keep the business going. Had we not taken steps we did this business would have shut down and the employees would no longer have work. It was amazing to see the process and teamwork swing into action. Training, operations, technology, client services and billing. It was an especially proud moment for me, because the best managers are able to delegate these tasks. I’m one of those types that has a difficult time letting go, but here I was, with nothing to do after the closing. The team was in top form and I am sure proud of all of them.
When you make these sort of business deals there are always a thing or two that you didn’t think of. Here is one of them. It turns out that some of the telephone receptionists involved were feeling uneasy about their future employment, because the system is now connected to a much larger team of telephone receptionists. They may have felt that their jobs are no longer secure and/or important. This could not be further from the truth.
Clients develop trust with the people that handle their calls. Therefore, we designed the system for skill sets that are specific to certain clients. In this case the core team consists of the people that are most familiar with these clients. The answering service skill set is designed so the same telephone receptionists that clients are used to have been assigned to handle calls. The answering service telephone receptionists involved in the acquisition are really the core of the business! However, because of the advanced system design there is team of a additional telephone answering service receptionsists to back up the core staff. So when there are more calls than can be handled by the core team the calls will overflow to other members outside of the core team.
We hope to develop long-term trust between the company and our new employees.