Regardless of industry or sector, franchisees often face similar challenges at similar points as they navigate through their franchise journey. Whether you’ve just launched, have found your groove, are driving for growth, or are even in the process of expanding, technology can help give your customer the very best experience.
Tim Morris, Managing Director of outsourced customer communications provider, Cymphony, believes that utilising technology in your sales process, day-to-day operations and customer service reduces the number of hats franchisees are compelled to wear.
As business owners, we generally accept without question the benefits of technology for our daily operations; email, Google, CRM systems, accounting software to name a few obvious places. But in something of a never-ending chicken-egg scenario, if we’re not keeping our prospects and customers happy, would there even be a need for those things anyway? Here’s how you could integrating modern technology solutions into your customer service experience.
Answer every customer call, even when you’re busy
Franchisees, like all business owners, often have dozens of plates spinning at any one time. But what if I told you that you could take dealing with customer enquires out of the equation completely without hiring a new member of staff? By outsourcing your telephone answering services, you can.
With a telephone answering service, franchisees can eliminate missed calls and voicemail messages – which is never a positive experience for customers – without compromising on the personal touch. Regardless of your actual availability, no matter where you are or what you’re doing, customers have constant access to your business. This in turn increases your conversion rates to appointments or consultations and, ultimately, sales. On an equally important note, receiving a consistent brand message increases consumer trust and confidence in your product or service.
Outsourcing your telephone answering service is also a cheaper alternative to hiring a full-time member of staff. Gone are the worries about recruitment, training, payroll and all the other costs associated with employing staff. By only paying for the time you use, there’s no staff downtime, sickness or absences to deal with. All of this makes a telephone answering service perfect for franchisees who are just starting out, preparing to expand, or looking to reduce their workload.
Diary integration for smooth appointment booking
Anyone who owns a franchise understands that time is money. Often, especially as an owner-operator franchisee, your focus needs to be on business-critical activities rather than admin. An outsourced appointment booking service works by integrating your appointment booking software with their call management system. When a customer calls to make an appointment, the call handler can check your diary and can schedule an appointment instantly without it ever passing through your hands. This service eliminates the time wasted playing telephone ping-pong with customers and allows you to focus on what’s important. On the flip side, your customer benefits from an immediate sense of satisfaction having achieved their desired level of commitment from you, first time.
Turning what would once have been a missed call or opportunity into a confirmed appointment is the crucial step in lead conversion. As I have seen in my decades of working with franchises, a booked appointment solidifies the buying process in the customer’s mind; they are on that journey with you and will most often cease to shop around at that point. As bonus, with customer information now on file, you’re able to nurture leads through regular engagement.
Capture leads from your website
With companies doing more business online than ever before, your franchise needs to keep up with technological advances to protect profit margins. Live chat is a sure-fire way to do this. In fact, at Cymphony, our live chat operators pride themselves on taking the initiative, reaching out to consumers, and offering timely, relevant guidance via our chat services. Because of this, our live chat clients have reported increases of up to 300% in lead generation since using the service.
Live chat is so effective because it alleviates a customer’s problem almost instantly. Because the choice is endless online, consumers today don’t just expect instant responses, they demand them. Therefore, businesses that fail to offer functionality and responsiveness will fall by the wayside.
Through live chat, you give your customers a way to reach you at their convenience, solving problems and answering questions that would otherwise be barriers to a sale.
Not all live chat services are created equal. Unlike Cymphony’s person-led service, many rely on impersonal AI (bots), which can lead to infuriating loops of inappropriate responses. Ensure that any provider you choose will eliminate these frustrating and impersonal interactions by getting to understand your business – not just regurgitating answers to your FAQs. For additional peace of mind, live chat services can also be utilised on your franchise’s social media pages. A common headache for business owners. Yet another way you can ensure your business is delivering a consistent message to all your customers across all platforms.
With these essential customer service solutions in place, you can concentrate on doing what you do best – whether that’s delivering your service, making sales or managing your team. This will ensure consistency and clarity of brand voice across the network, which, as your franchisor will tell you, is key to the nationwide success of the business.