Keys to Success

Keys to Success

Why building a customer experience is critical for franchisees, even in our digital age.

By Ben Davis

When it comes to running a franchise, 95 percent of the factors for success are the same as those for a small business owner: maintaining cash flow, finding new customers and retaining quality employees, to name a few. Having the benefits of being both an entrepreneurial business owner and interdependent with your franchisor can lead to exceptional success for a franchisee. If you can take shamelessly, learn from others, give freely and share your learnings, you’ve set yourself up for success.

Those are critical elements to your success, but there’s one additional ingredient needed to sustain momentum for long-term profitability: delivering a consistent customer experience.

Franchisees can offer a lot of bells, whistles and conveniences to a customer, but they simply cannot fake a good customer experience, especially one that needs to be replicated each time a customer returns. The experience you provide to customers must be genuine. In a franchise model, having dozens or even hundreds of franchisees that are equally invested in the company is essentially like having board members who have put their own money into the venture.

That is why franchisees tend to outperform their non-franchise counterparts. For this reason, franchisees are naturally good at filling the awareness and trust gap with customers on a local level, something that is much harder to do on a national level. Here’s how franchisees can create a customer experience that keeps clients coming back for more.

Personal Touch Still Matters

Running a franchise is, and always will be, a “people business.” Even in our increasingly device-driven world, consumers still want that local, face-to-face touch. Consider an industry like financial services. How many times a month do customers walk into their local branch today vs. five or 10 years ago? Yet in a 2016 Accenture study, 86.7 percent of banking customers said they expected to still use physical bank branches in the next two years.

Of those respondents, 47 percent said they would do so because they receive more value through human interaction. Whether your franchise is retail, small business lending or foodservice, you need a welcoming customer experience with a personal touch to clearly demonstrate the benefit of a hands-on personal experience.

Consummate Customer Experience

Online marketplaces are some of the most fascinating businesses in the world. Whether it's Amazon, Kayak, Uber, Yelp, AirBnB, Lendio or others, consumers have come to expect a great customer experience from these online marketplaces.

But for franchises, the in-store customer experience is still the best touchpoint, and creates that coveted personal touch. The future shopper, Generation Z, actually prefers shopping in a store 67 percent of the time, according to a National Retail Federation report. Ninety-eight percent of Gen Z shoppers still make their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores.

Creating the consummate customer experience starts with maintaining a positive attitude. Whether it’s foodservice or retail, a positive attitude creates positive customer and employee relationships, leading to an enjoyable customer experience for all involved. If a problem does arise, listen to the customer’s feedback, acknowledge their frustrations and work with them to solve the issue. Mistakes happen, but how you handle them will go a long way in cultivating a first-class culture.

Creating a customer experience means going beyond selling a product. No one likes a product pushed on them, so instead offer advice on your different offerings, and thank them regardless of whether they buy something or not.

It takes a special person to run a franchise. You have to see the value in living at the intersection of being an entrepreneur and a small business owner.

By blending forward-thinking technology to deliver an impeccable in-store and online experience, coupled with a local touch where a friendly face can answer questions and give peace of mind, franchisees can create a customer experience that will separate their franchise from the rest. This marriage of ideas allows franchisees to gain new customers and retain existing ones.

Ben Davis is Lendio’s chief franchising officer.

Contact Us

Franchising Today

Cringleford Business Centre
Intwood Road
Cringleford, Norwich, UK

Click here for a full list of contacts.

Back To Top