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The love affair between customers and franchises

Written by Karen Kelly on Thursday, 04 February 2016. Posted in Insight

Franchisees have a vested interest in delighting customers but the key for franchisors is keeping service consistent across the board

The love affair between customers and franchises

The UK’s franchise sector has never been stronger. According to the latest bfa NatWest Franchise Survey, the industry is currently worth a record £15bn to the economy and there has been a 14% increase in the number of UK franchise outlets in the past two years alone.

So what’s driving this growth? The answers could be found in a recent survey by Reed Commercial, which revealed that more than one in five British consumers are more likely to buy a product or service from a franchise. This isn’t that surprising: after all, franchisees are business owners, meaning they have a greater incentive to deliver good customer service than your everyday shop manager. 

Nevertheless, the most successful franchise operations are those where the consumer is guaranteed to receive the same service at every one of its outlets. This consistency makes the franchise operation as a whole synonymous with quality and this is what drives trust and loyalty among consumers. In the same survey, over half of participants claimed that quality of service is the main reason they prefer to buy from franchises, followed by value and high standards of customer service. As franchisors and franchisees, we should be learning lessons from the most successful franchise operations by maintaining levels of service and ensuring that everyone representing the organisation buys into its values. 

Unfortunately, when a franchisee or franchisor is focused on building their network and getting to grips with the administration side of the business, the quality of service and customer satisfaction levels can slip. The key to running and growing a successful business isn’t to grow as fast as you can but to grow slowly and steadily while maintaining the trust and loyalty of existing clients and customers. Given that the cost of attracting a new client is estimated to be ten times that of keeping an existing client, retaining excellent relationships with existing clients and growing the business at a reasonable rate is, in the long term, better for the business and the brand.

The beauty of being part of a franchised organisation is that you can access support and guidance. This support ranges from having access to existing and recognised brand material, such as the website and promotional collateral, to training and advice from colleagues who have been through the same process and can offer support about dealing with issues you may face. 

Indeed, the fact that franchisees operate as part of a bigger network means they benefit from something that other businesses don’t. Making the most of this by sharing best practice on quality and customer service throughout the franchise network will guarantee the ongoing success of your business. Whether you’re a franchisor or a franchisee, remember that you’re all in this together. As they say, ‘Together we stand, divided we fall’. 

About the Author

Karen Kelly

Karen Kelly

Prior to founding domestic cleaning franchise Cleanhome, Kelly enjoyed an illustrious career in the travel industry, which included a ten-year stint as head of UK & Ireland Sales at Virgin Atlantic. When's she's not busy growing a business or penning columns on customer service, Kelly spends her time reading, travelling or taking strolls with Leo, her beloved springer spaniel. 

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