Christian Johannsen and his family have been with the Foot Solutions franchise system since 2001. During those years, they made lots of new friends, welcomed two children to the family, and recently added a second franchise in West Vancouver to their portfolio. Christian is our most energetic franchisee and one of the most dynamic owners.
When we spoke with Christian, he reflected that he prefers to refer to his customers as friends, and many are on a first name basis. To improve customer service at his locations, he recently adopted Foot Solutions' new online appointment scheduler. This allows him and his staff to be better prepared and informed for the consultation, and hence deliver the helpful service that his customers have grown accustomed to.
In January, we asked Christian to speak at our Annual Meeting, where he shared the steps he and his staff take to help each customer find solutions to their foot discomforts. He believes it is not about the sale, but rather about developing a relationship with the customer and helping them learn more about their feet and how to care for them as they age and change.
To reduce stress in the workplace and improve employee satisfaction, his Foot Solutions stores are closed on Sundays and Mondays. Scheduling appointments gives the stores the freedom to work hard Tuesday through Saturday and play hard Sunday and Monday. He believes best results are achieved with full time staff, who are involved in the decision making processes. This means closing the store and giving them a full two days off in a row.
We asked Christian a few questions:
BeTheBoss.ca: What inspired you to enter a career in this industry?
Christian Johannsen: When I graduated with a Major in Economics and French I had the opportunity to choose an office career. However, given my short stint in quality assurance, testing computer software for 8 hours a day, I quickly realized that it wasn't for me. I preferred the more fast paced world of retail, dealing with customer inquiries, solving problems and generating smiles.
BTB: What are the best qualities about the community you work in?
CJ:Our stores are located in two very vibrant communities of Vancouver, one being Ambleside, the other Kitsilano. Both communities are very artsy with a lot of local musical and artistic talent. Everyone is very friendly, especially when the sun shows itself, and it's easy to strike up a conversation. Multicultural, artistic and musical events will again adorn the streets and beaches of Vancouver this summer.
BTB: Where do you feel the local market is going in the next year? Where are the strong points?
CJ:Customers still love personalized service. Even though online sales are increasing, customers love to be sold. They want to shop where they can be sure they've made the best purchasing decision when leaving the store.
BTB: What tools and systems offered by Foot Solutions do you find most helpful in your business? Why?
CJ: The systems we use the most are Zeezor & Systino. Both tools help us assess our company performance. Zeezor sets targets and provides instant actionable data. Systino on the other hand provides feedback on employee performance, potential customer concerns and future improvements.
BTB: What was your professional background before joining Foot Solutions?
CJ: I worked part-time at Foot Solutions throughout my university career. I've always had an interest in technology and did some work in quality assurance. I consider myself a jack of all trades with a specialization in pedorthics.
Christian exemplifies Foot Solutions' ideal customer service model. Christian says,” our main goal is improving our KPIs: Employee Performance, Referrals and Profit. This business is about people; if you do not enjoy making friends and lack personality, this business is not for you”.