Almost every company that moves offices attempts to do so with absolutely zero disruption to their normal day-to-day business. A particular objective is often to try and make the relocation as transparent to customers as possible. Clearly, in a highly competitive world, nobody wants things such as customer service standards to fall below acceptable levels simply because you have moved your business from one office to another.
However, it’s also important to be practical. While many office removals are entirely successful and prove to have virtually zero disruption to the customer base concerned, it is a reality of life that there sometimes are glitches or things that quite simply ‘go wrong’. So, rather than just hoping for the best and then rushing out piles of excuses and apologies should there be an issue, it is better to try and manage your customers’ expectations in advance.
The following are 5 things to keep in mind when moving offices.
1. Avoid doing nothing on the assumption everything will be fine. Accept that there is always the risk of there being a problem somewhere that might end up being visible to your customers.
2. Write or otherwise contact your clients to let them know when you are in your new premises and to confirm that the move has gone well. It’s a smart PR idea to thank them for their understanding during your relocation even if, in reality, there was no disruption whatsoever to your services.
3. In that communication, commit to minimising any changes to the ways they deal with your organisation or your service levels – but avoid issuing unconditional guarantees that nothing will change. That sort of commitment can be hostage to fortune and make you look foolish if it just doesn’t work out that way on the day.
4. Ask for their understanding of what you should state will be a short transition period. In reality, most people are well disposed and they will be prepared to accept the odd delay in getting responses to their emails (etc.) during an office move, providing that the disruptions don’t go on for too long and they are already very happy with your normal service levels.
5. Do whatever it takes to ensure that your basic communication systems, such as phones and email, are up and running and thoroughly tested before the start of business on your first day in the new location. While customers, mainly if they are forewarned, may accept delays in responding to queries or providing information, they will have very little tolerance for getting no answers to phone calls or being unable to access your website. Speak to your telecoms provider about emergency standby facilities should, against all expectations, you actually have such problems upon arrival in your new premises. Your commercial movers might also be able to offer helpful advice here.
The basic objective here is to make sure that your customer base doesn’t receive any unexpected shocks or surprises. All it takes to avoid that is a little effort and proactive communication. Communicate to all of your customers in advance, the fact that you will be changing address and if appropriate, phone numbers etc.
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