Cultural Differences – Customer Billing

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    Gina Miele
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    Our most recent acquisition was large; it doubled the size of our corporation. This large company was barely profitable, causing us to create a task force to increase the site’s profitability. As we sent our executive staff on-site for a granular analysis of operational processes, we discovered that this entity honored initial customer quotes for billing, regardless of whether the scope of work had changed during testing. As a result, customers learned to “work the system,” asking for initial quotes well below the actual level of work they needed, and changing the scope after their samples arrived in-house. I have not yet integrated this acquired company’s billing process, but have been working with our VP of Sales and Marketing, as well as our Director of Operations and the acquired company’s Site Director to alter the culture at this site. We have had to encourage a paradigm shift in the thought process from “if we alter the customer’s quote, they will leave” to “if the customer asks for a change of scope, we will re-quote for the additional work”.

    Has anyone else run into a significant cultural difference in an acquired company’s approach to billing their customers?

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