Get To Know Your Customers

When you buy into a franchise, you will be given the tools, marketing material and training to get you started, but how well you do will ultimately depend on your ability to engage with your customers and push your products and services. Therefore, getting to know your customers is the most important first rung on the ladder to business success.

The first step is reaching out to your prospective customers and clients and letting them know what you do and what you are selling. Make sure to embrace franchise branding and promotional material to ensure that you are sending a consistent message and not taking customers by surprise. What you are promoting should not come out of nowhere. Instead, you should be pleasing customers by letting them know that they can buy or benefit from the consistent quality of the "big name" that you are a part of in their local area.

Take customer feedback into account. Respond to queries and engagement on social media. This not only makes the people who have engaged with you feel good but also builds your reach and supports your ongoing networking. When issues are raised, take ownership of them, bring them to the attention of your franchisor and let your customer know when the franchise has solutions or proposals that may please them.

Ask your customers questions, such as what they like and whether there are any elements of your offering that they are less interested in. Where you have the ability to do so, be flexible in your offering and focus your attention on the areas and items that customers and past sales indicate are most popular while working behind the scenes to improve and develop areas that are less inclined to satisfy your customers. It may be that they are known issues that the franchisor is aware of and already developing, in which case your feedback and support can help to resolve them more efficiently.

Follow up on sales by asking your customers for feedback or photos of the products in use. If you are part of a service-based franchise, ask for permission to use before-and-after photographs in your marketing or as part of your social media engagement. This "real life" engagement often attracts new customers very effectively while also making the existing customer feel good, so it is a win-win scenario. If the feedback is less positive, engage with it and learn from it. You can turn negative feedback into positive feedback by taking proactive measures to make things right.

Finally, make the most of the networking and training opportunities offered by your franchisor. They have experienced everything that you are going to go through firsthand and will be best placed to advise and support you on your franchising journey.


Improving the Customer Service Experience in a Franchise During Tough Times

Whether there's a national emergency or not, customer service levels in your Canadian franchise matter. When your customers aren't happy with your service, they're simply not going to come back. Even worse, over time, scores of dissatisfied customers posting reviews online and sharing their negative experience with other people will make it harder to get new customers.

When there's a serious, widespread situation going on, such as the recent pandemic, it can be even more difficult to offer top customer service, but it's certainly possible. The franchises who do this during a tough time will benefit even more greatly from it by way of extended customer goodwill. Customers may forget getting good service in normal times, but during trying periods, an excellent customer service experience tends to become more memorable.

To improve customer service now and in the future, apply the following tips in your Canadian franchise location.


Put yourself in your customer's shoes

Consider things from the customer's point of view to get a real feel for their experiences with your business. Look into whether your services or products are still meeting the wants and needs of your customers. To do this, you'll need to review feedback regularly. If you are not gathering input from customers already, now is the time to start by adding feedback options on your website, in your marketing emails and inside your locations.


Think about the customer experience then and now

How did you treat customers before the tough time hit? How do you treat them now?

Whatever your answers are to the questions above, it's likely time to raise the bar, so you can remind your customers why they come to you in the first place. How you do this will depend on your internal practices, but there is a good chance there are ways to improve.


Talk to your employees

The first-line team for providing customer service is likely your staff, so you need to remind them just how much customer service matters to your sales and the store's overall success. At the same time, let your employees know they matter to you and that you are going to invest in and support them. Make sure they have all the tools they need to be successful. When your employees feel supported and have what they need to do their jobs well, they will be happier and less stressed--two elements that often translate into better job performance and improved customer service levels.