The key to success

With so many businesses out there offering the same products and services as you, what is going to set your franchise apart from the rest? We explore the most successful and traditional method of repeat business – customer service

Customer service is first and foremost the only contact a customer has with a company. Customers are what make your business and good customer service can mean one loyal customer will spend hundreds or even thousands of pounds a year with you. Customers’ expectations are increasing and however they communicate with you - either by, telephone, email and the ever-increasing social media platforms, where they expect the ‘customer service department’ to resolve issues fast and effectively. It’s easy in business when you’re concentrating on other areas, to forget how powerful customer service is.

Franchisors are always looking for prospective franchise owners with excellent customer service and people skills. Here’s how customer service can guarantee repeat business and increased overall success.

Stand apart from the rest
Good customer service can differentiate you from your competitors. If your prices, products and services are the same, putting in that extra effort will mean customers will feel the need to go to your franchise more. They associate the brand with helpful, friendly service and products they need at a good price. Customer service can ultimately lead to increased brand recognition.

Repeat Business
A company with excellent customer service is far more likely to get repeat business and therefore will make greater sales and greater profit. It has been said that it costs approximately 10 times more to gain new customers than to keep the ones you’ve already got, so retaining your customers is key. Poor customer service makes a huge impact on a business; it will mean that you continually lose sales. By making sure your team are appreciated, well-trained with focus and responsibility, the extra effort will pay dividends in the future.

If a customer has a positive shopping experience, even if compared with other competitors your service or products cost slightly more, the customer will still value that treatment and could lead them to recommend to friends and family. It has been proven in recent consumer surveys that service driven companies can charge up to 9 per cent more.

Sustaining the same level of customer service will drive people to come back again, recommendation means repeat business and your loyal customers will do your marketing for you. Again, if your customer service is well known in the market, you’re more likely to receive more publicity online and in the press and therefore reaching to new and wider audiences. On the other hand, if customer service is poor you may also unfortunately receive bad press and bad recommendation. If the customer feels they have been treated badly, or even mis-sold, they can file a complaint with The Trading Standards Institute if they are dissatisfied.

Remember that customer service is a moving target, it’s whatever the customer thinks it is and this could mean good quality products, convenience, reliability, knowledge, fast response or competitive prices. If you can keep up with the demands of your customer, sustain good service, appreciate, value and train your employees there is no reason why customers will not come back. As a franchise owner you may have gone into your franchise because of your skill and passion of working with people and providing excellent customer service. Don’t forget the tradition of good customer service, customer loyalty will build profit.

Written by Jenna Leeds