Establishing customer loyalty as the foundation of franchise success

In today's fast-paced and highly competitive business landscape, the relationship between a brand and its customers has never been more critical

Establishing customer loyalty as the foundation of franchise success

For franchisees, this relationship is the linchpin of success – serving as both the foundation and the driving force behind sustained business growth. 

The concept of being customer-centric is not just a trendy buzzword but a strategic approach that ensures the loyalty and satisfaction of customers. Here, Cheryl Harper, Managing Director of Greensleeves Lawn Care – the UK’s number one trusted lawn care provider – discusses why embracing a customer-centric approach is imperative for franchisees who aim to foster loyalty, ensure customer happiness and secure a competitive edge in the market.

Ask any CEO or business owner what’s more important, customer retention or customer acquisition, and they’ll probably tell you both! Customer acquisition is about attracting new prospects, understanding their needs and convincing them that your product or service is the solution they’ve been searching for. It’s an essential element of expanding your customer base and entering new markets. But attracting new customers has a cost – in fact, it’s estimated that acquiring a new customer is five times as expensive as retaining an existing customer. And if you fail to nurture these new customers, you’ll quickly find your short-term investment garners short-term results. 

But businesses that effectively retain their customers historically succeed. A Harvard Business study has said that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%1. It’s crucial to note that customer retention doesn’t just happen overnight. It involves listening to customer feedback, anticipating needs and providing value. 

Customer feedback 

The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%2. Simply put, there is a financial incentive for customer retention. But loyal customers can also become brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences with others. You can have the best marketing strategies in the world but there’s no substitute for word-of-mouth referrals. And, in today’s digital marketplace, online testimonials play a crucial role in serving as modern-day word of mouth. They can significantly influence potential customers and have the power to either enhance or harm a business’s reputation.

Think of your online presence as your digital shop window, where online reviews heavily influence new customers’ perceptions. Positive reviews can provide a substantial advantage, especially in a competitive market, by boosting your credibility and attracting more customers. It’s equally important for customers to have a platform to express both positive and negative feedback. A negative review, while initially disheartening, can be invaluable as it highlights areas for improvement, helping you refine your business strategies. 

At Greensleeves, we’re incredibly proud of the feedback we’ve had from our customers. With over 8,500 reviews and an average rating of 4.8 out of 5, our customer reviews have been crucial for building trust and growing our business. Being customer-centric isn’t an overnight fix; it’s a culture that you need to instil in your business and constantly refine. 

Anticipating needs 

Successful franchisees don’t just react to customer needs and issues; they anticipate them. By proactively engaging, you can identify trends ahead of time, allowing for smoother and more efficient solutions. 

At Greensleeves, our franchisees have collected a lot of data over the years. We know what services our customers need and when they need them. Lawn care is a year-round service, but the treatments required for the perfect lawn are largely seasonal. Using this information, we can tailor our marketing efforts for the best results. It also helps guide our franchisees trying to upsell or offer new services to our clients. 

It’s also important to ensure that there is a seamless method for customers to provide feedback and that this feedback is quickly addressed. This could involve follow-up calls or emails after a service is rendered to enquire about the customer’s experience and any additional needs that were not met. Utilise this feedback to refine products and services continually.

Providing value

If you were to look on the Greensleeves website, you’d find a treasure trove of information – packed with handy tips and advice on lawn maintenance. This resource is invaluable for homeowners looking to understand the essentials of lawn care, including when they can manage tasks themselves or when it might be wise to call in a professional. This blend of guidance not only empowers users by boosting their gardening confidence but also highlights the accessibility and expertise of Greensleeves.

Whether it’s through engaging social media posts, informative blogs, or personalised email marketing campaigns, by showcasing your value to potential customers, you’re starting to build stronger customer relationships. This approach doesn’t just enhance brand visibility; it also significantly boosts word-of-mouth referrals. Satisfied customers are more likely to share their positive experiences with others, ultimately driving more business to their local franchisees.

Cheryl concludes, “The journey towards becoming a customer-centric franchisee is both rewarding and essential for carving out a significant presence in today’s competitive market. Invest in your customers. Their loyalty, happiness, and advocacy are not just the by-products of exceptional service but the cornerstone of sustainable growth and competitive advantage. Embrace the strategies that prioritise customer needs and values and you will not only meet but exceed expectations, setting your franchise on the path to enduring success.

For more information about a franchise opportunity with Greensleeves Lawn Care, visit 

1 – Harvard Business Review, The Economics of E-Loyalty, 2000

2 – Hüify, Acquisition vs Retention, 2018

Cheryl Harper
Cheryl Harper