Making an extra effort with customers can spell the difference between a franchise that merely survives and one that thrives
Everyone knows the personal touch is a powerful tool when it comes to promoting your business and fortunately this is an area where franchised businesses can really excel. A simple online car-battery order placed with our Reading branch perfectly demonstrates how franchisees can deliver the kind of service that will inspire customer loyalty, attract recommendations and put money in the bank.
All it took was a short note in the special instructions box that read: “Please fit ASAP: our autistic son is having a major meltdown because of it.” Immediately picking up on this plea for help, our franchisee called his customer and arranged to fit a new battery within an hour. She was so relieved and appreciative that she wrote to tell us we had “prevented a disastrous couple of days”.
Whether you call it empathy, company ethos or being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, it comes down to wanting to help, striving to please and putting the customer first. And this is where a franchisee should exceed expectations. A franchise offers the perfect opportunity to run a top-brand business but with a personal touch that should inspire loyalty and therefore future business and security for your venture. However, we're talking about doing more than just inserting a customer’s name into a piece of direct mail to get that personal touch.
Taking on jobs outside regular working hours, rearranging your schedule to accommodate an emergency and essentially being prepared to go the extra mile to secure your customer’s future business: this is the attitude a franchisee needs to succeed.
Being your own boss requires you to think beyond the initial pay cheque. You look ahead to the next order you'll get from a loyal customer or the countless word-of-mouth recommendations they will give. Having a customer-care ethos that will make a business stand out, and yet it costs nothing. All you have to do is give your customers the same treatment you would want your own family to receive.
This is the spirit that can set a good franchise apart from a major, industry-dominating brand. Massive marketing departments and enormous advertising budgets cannot create loyalty for repeat business as effectively as a phone call offering immediate help or an out-of-hours appointment. Put it this way: we would all return to a restaurant where the food is tasty. But if two eateries are similar in quality you're more likely to favour the one where the proprietor remembers you and welcomes you with open arms. That’s the feeling every customer should have when using your franchise.