By Shawn Saraga
These days, customer service is the number one reason a business succeeds or fails; franchises are no exception. In the 1980s, McDonald’s, one of the biggest players in the franchise market, made customer service and culture a priority by centring its advertising around ‘free smiles,’ a simple idea that made a big impact. With online shopping gaining a foothold, successful franchises can set themselves apart by exceeding customer service expectations. In fact, you could say this is the foundation upon which bricks-and-mortar retail environments are built.
No matter what type of franchised business you choose to operate, customer service will always come into play. The following five questions can help you determine if a franchisor can give you the tools to succeed in this competitive customer service-based environment.
1. How do you emphasize customer service?
A franchisor should have very clear customer service policies in place, with training programs designed around the customers’ experience. A good franchisor will work with its franchisees to focus on satisfying the customer and increasing repeat visits. The more a customer frequents your franchise, the greater the likelihood of them spending more money. Increasing repeat customer visits is one of the easiest ways to boost sales. Ask prospective franchisors what policies or procedures they have in place to encourage repeat business and keep customer service top of mind.
2. What does the company culture have to do with customer service?
Company culture comprises the little things that happen every day to help create a better customer service experience. This can involve team meetings, outings or events—anything that helps make the franchise system a more cohesive group that works better to provide exceptional customer service. Successful franchisors organize events like these throughout the year, both for franchisees and their employees. These events are great team-building experiences, which foster positivity and good service among employees. These gatherings often make the difference between a good franchise system and a great one.