When news of the 1995 acquisition of Columbus-based McElroy-Minister Co. by Indianapolis-based Acordia Inc. reached Franklin International, one of McElroys longtime clients, the usual questions arose: Would service be interrupted? What changes might result?
John Markham, senior vice president of human resources at Franklin, a South Side adhesive-products manufacturer, says the companys first call was to Tom Hadley, senior vice president at McElroy.
Tom reassured us that they would take care of issues, and it would basically be business as usual, Markham says.
The long-lasting business relationship between the two executives was important in easing Markhams worries.
Its especially important in a relationship businessand I think all customer relationships come down to personal relationshipsthat you just respect the customer as a person and communicate with them, Hadley says. Theyd expect that from you, and youd expect that if they were merging.
Hadley has been on the other side as well. Hes fielded calls from clients when insurance companies merge.
We are, in effect, buying insurance for all of our clients. Insurance companies are going through all kinds of mergers, so we deal with this very frequentlyfor example, United HealthCare Corp. [and] Humana Inc. But I can go back and name about 20 other deals, he says.
When the Acordia/McElroy-Minister merger was final, Hadley sent a copy of the news announcement and a letter to his clients explaining the situation.
It was surprisingly quiet, he says. The biggest question from all of our clients [was], Whos going to handle my account and is it still going to be you? When I said, Yes, that was all they needed to hear.
On Franklins end, the merger brought few hassles but many questions from the 475 employees covered under McElroys insurance plan, Markham says.
Basically the same thing Tom did with us is what we did with our employees, Markham says. Through internal communication, we tried to reassure them they probably would not see any difference in the services theyre provided.