If you’ve made the decision to start a franchise, it’s because you realized after doing your due diligence that your chances of business success would be much higher if you used a turnkey business model rather than starting one from scratch.
In effect, you were buying a proven system already in place, with plenty of support on how to run the business. After reviewing the best franchises, you decided to go with one that had a well-established corporate image and that had succeeded in creating high brand awareness for its products or services.
Since you now had a higher likelihood of being successful, it was much easier to obtain the financing that you needed with your bank. Your bank approved the loan because they perceived that they were assuming less risk and that you would not default on your repayment.
After going through the training program, both at the corporate office and then at your own store or in the field, you then used ongoing support to fine-tune your business operations. Over time, you became familiar with how to run the business, how to market it effectively, and how to steadily increase your sales.
Improve Your Customer’s Experience
Now, for the next step in your business growth, for your franchise to be even more successful, you will need to make the customer experience a key focus.
Here is a five-step strategy to achieve this goal:
Step #1: Develop a vision of how to improve customer experience.
“Customer experience” is an umbrella phrase. It means different things to different people, and it codifies different principles for different organizations. So, it is up to you, based on your franchise and your personality, to outline what it means. If you have a retail franchise, it could mean training your sales clerks to smile and welcome customers when they walk in, engage with them in a positive manner, listen carefully to what they want and need, and try your best to fulfill those needs within company guidelines. Now that you have developed a set of principles around what you mean by customer experience, you can train your staff, monitor their progress, and develop your customer service experience in a practical way.
Step #2: Get insights about your customers.
Unless you understand your customers; in particular, their needs and wants in relationship to your franchise, it will be difficult to provide excellent customer service. Start to understand your customers better by using surveys to create a customer avatar. Based on this data, it will be easier to empathize with customer’s desires and resolve any issues.
Step #3: Build relationships with customers.
In order for the customer avatar to be more accurate, it’s not enough to just rely on survey data. Often these are merely written responses to a form or responses gathered over a scripted telephone conversation. Consequently, it’s also important to get feedback from your sales team based on their relationships with customers. You can also get feedback from customer’s themselves by creating some kind of customer satisfaction rating system after they make a purchase.
Step #4: Initiate suggested changes.
After creating surveys and getting feedback from both the sales team and the customers themselves, you will have amassed a significant amount of data. It’s now time to put these insights into use.
Pinpoint the changes that need to be made to improve the quality of your business and then initiate a training program for employees to begin to improve customer service.
If necessary, make any changes in your business process or technology if that has contributed to customer dissatisfaction. A policy change might be adjusting your refund policy because many customers consider your refund policy to be unfair. A business process might be necessary if customers say they’re frustrated with how long it takes to ship out products after they have placed an order.
Step #5: Measure improvements.
The only way to figure out if you are now delivering a better customer experience than before is to measure the effects the changes you made in policies, business processes, or customer interactions have made a difference. One simple way to measure change is to see if there has been a positive ROI when it comes to customer service.
In closing, by providing customers with a great experience, you will ensure the success of your business.