Customer service has always been at the forefront of franchise operations. And since the pandemic, the expectations customers have of us have increased dramatically. In fact, 96% of consumers say that the service they receive is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand1. As such, brands – especially ones entrusted with caring for a customer’s specific – have been met with an even bigger responsibility of ensuring their customer service is ‘spick and span’ at every level of their business operations.
Consumers are actively seeking empathy and human relationships from those who provide services to them more than ever. It is compassion and close relationships that lead to trust, and when a customer decides to use a service provider like domestic home cleaning franchise Poppies, they are trusting complete strangers to work in their home. Here, Chris Wootton, the managing director of Poppies, gives his top tips on how service franchises can provide great, consistent customer service.
Over 80% of customers churn because of bad service2. In tandem with empathy and building real human relationships, transparency and honesty are vital towards building trust. Especially in a customer service brand, being open and regularly demonstrating to customers what you are doing to improve their experiences shows that they are valued beyond simply using the franchise’s services.
Creative problem solving
Being able to solve problems creatively allows us to adapt quickly to the unique needs of each customer, which should be a consistent, visible element in the delivery of your services. This does not necessarily mean reinventing the wheel every time there is a new problem to overcome, but should be done in a way that shows the individual customer is valued. Instilling these skills into your staff at every level of your franchise not only affirms their high-quality training but also demonstrates your company’s attention to detail, which ultimately is an element of customer service that can establish your brand as an industry leader.
Invest in staff training
As with all successful franchise brands, the standards must be set by those at the top of operations, and one way to show that high standards remain the priority is by investing in staff training. High-quality staff training not only shows customers that the delivery of your service matters to you but also demonstrates to your employees that their place in the company is appreciated. This, in turn, encourages brand loyalty both as a customer and employee. Loyal employees remain more engaged, motivated and productive within their roles, which becomes evident when delivering the high-quality service your franchise promises.
Leverage customer feedback
Feedback is incredibly important towards improving your services. But negative feedback in particular can be even more so, as it allows us to monitor our performance and alerts us to important changes we need to make. What’s more, with the immediacy of modern social media channels, it has never been more important to have an online presence for customers to see that you have acted upon their feedback. Franchises that openly accept negative feedback and then demonstrate their efforts to improve the issue make customers feel more valued and show that their unique experience with the brand has been appreciated. Often, the actions made by a service provider following a negative experience can turn it into a positive one.
Maintain a positive attitude and ethos
Importantly, negative feedback should not dampen your brand’s spirits. In customer-facing roles, great customer service can be achieved by simply keeping a smile on your face and showing that you care deeply about what you do. Being positive and maintaining great energy actively shows a customer that your role is not just a job and that making people happy, in turn, motivates you to continue delivering your services.
Chris summarises, “Customer service has never been more important. We live in a world where social contact has been limited and our homes have very much become our sanctuary during the last two years. It’s because of this that the service we provide has to match the care and pride we have for our own homes. Of course, the pandemic didn’t invent the need for high-quality customer service, but it certainly reminded us that an important element of what our franchises do requires trust and real relationships. As we move forward, it’s a great time to make sure those in your franchise network are well equipped to deliver your franchise’s high-quality services.”
For more information about Poppies, visit www.poppies-franchise.co.uk