Building franchisee loyalty by Nigel Williams of Century 21
Integrity, support and communication are three core values fundamental to the growth of a superior Franchise network, but there’s one more core value that’s critical if a Franchise is to keep Franchisees and grow.
If the number of Franchisees in a Franchise group is the engine that drives a Franchise forward towards achieving market dominance, then providing good customer service to Franchisees and building high levels of Franchisee satisfaction with the Franchisor, is the fuel towards achieving and maintaining that market dominance.
Successful Franchisors recognise that Franchisees are their customers and accordingly treat them as such. These Franchisors have the ability to identify and satisfy the ever changing needs of Franchisees and in return, gain and maintain Franchisee loyalty which is a critical determinant to a Franchisor’s growth success.
The degree to which Franchisors meet Franchisee expectations is based upon four established levels of customer satisfaction. The higher the level of customer service Franchisors provide, the more Franchisors build Franchisee loyalty and therefore the greater will be the ultimate success of the Franchise.
Level 1: Build Franchisee Satisfaction by Meeting Franchisee Expectations
The minimum requirement to simply stay in business (to survive as a Franchise) is to meet the expectations of its Franchisees as per their Franchise Agreement. At this level, Franchisees have no complaints. They are satisfied for the moment but at this point, long term Franchisee loyalty may not exist. Over time if a competing Franchise demonstrates that it can and will do more than merely meet Franchisee expectations of Franchise service, then at the end of the Franchise Agreement period, the Franchisee may decide to move on, becoming not only an ex-Franchisee but a competitor!.
Level 2: Exceeding Franchisee Expectations
This higher level of Franchisee satisfaction is achieved through Franchisors surprising their Franchisees by continually going beyond a level of customer service that Franchisees expect. Franchisees experience fast, friendly customer service followed up by regular phone calls to make sure everything is running OK. The Franchisor’s level of service is perceived by Franchisees as being cut above that of its competitors.
This second level of Franchisee satisfaction moves the Franchisor beyond mere survival. It builds a measure of Franchisee loyalty and positive solidarity that provides the Franchisor with a valuable edge over its competitors and may attract new Franchisees.
Level 3: “Delight” Creates Stronger Loyalty
Have you ever experienced a level of good customer service that not only exceeded your expectations, but actually brought a smile to your face?
A Franchisee who experiences service at this level is truly delighted. Not only have the Franchisee’s basic needs been met, or even exceeded, but he/she has truly been touched on an emotional level. Once Franchisees have enjoyed this experience, the Franchisor gains even stronger loyalty. Accordingly it becomes very difficult for a competing Franchise to pry Franchisees away.
When a Franchisor “delights” its Franchisees with service, it’s on its way towards creating an exceptional highly competitive Franchise business. There are countless cost effective ways Franchises can delight its Franchisees and build loyalty, for example, consider the difference between first and “cattle” class airline service.
To “delight” Franchisees is to demonstrate that the Franchisor GENUINLY CARES about them. No wonder it brings a smile to the Franchisee’s face. And the greater a Franchisor’s success in delighting its Franchisees by providing good customer service, the greater success the Franchisor enjoys.
Level 4: “Amaze” Franchisees With Good Customer Service
This fourth level of Franchisee satisfaction rapidly propels a Franchise business forward. It requires the Franchisor to not just meet or exceed Franchisee expectations, nor to simply delight them, but to truly amaze them.
When a Franchise is able to accomplish this on a regular basis, it’s in a position to dominate the marketplace and achieve remarkable rates of growth.
Nigel Williams of Century 21
Nigel Williams is the State Franchise Development Manager (Vic) for the global franchise group Century 21. Supported by his considerable expertise in business development, training, leadership & management coaching, Nigel spearheads C21’s strategic growth strategy throughout Victoria and Tasmania to locate and develop high profile, profitable "attraction" businesses.