It’s all about the customer experience. When your patrons have a good encounter at your place of business, they’re happy. They want to come back. And they tell others about what a great transaction they had at your business. (The opposite is true for a bad experience, of course, but only 10-times over.) As a franchisee, it’s your goal for your business to come across in the best light possible to increase business and customer retention. It’s a simple, yet effective marketing plan.
What can not feel so simple, however, is the ways in which you find that positive exposure. Aside from great customer service, look to these growing ways to help expand your brand in the ways it’s seen by others.
1. Get Social
As in social media. These accounts are free and offer a great platform in which you can reach your customers. Share promotions and plenty of pictures, but also simply use it as a way to interact with your guests. Remember to have fun with it – the more people you’re able to reach, the more widespread your franchise business can go. Share jokes, products (this is an amazing tool for educating others on your brand), and more. You can even schedule posts in order to minimize time spent on managing each account.
2. Promote Reviews
When new customers look online for a location in your industry, where do you think they’ll go? The new place with zero online existence? Or the one with great reviews? People don’t want to chance it with the new place, they’ll go where they’re statistically proven to get better service. Achieve reviews by encouraging customers to leave feedback on Google, Yelp, and whatever other industry platforms might be most relevant. You can even offer discounts for those who show their review in order to get the ball rolling. Or incorporate software that reminds customers to review via email or text.
3. Focus on Customer Service
If your employees aren’t well trained or don’t understand the importance of good customer experience, they’re likely to overlook what’s expected of them. As the business owner, lead the way in how you treat customers. Tell them your expectations and reward good behavior by pointing it out. In the same light, keep track of each worker to ensure they are holding up your standards even when the boss is away.
4. Reward Programs
Folks love a good reward system. Even when the reward is simply small, there’s something about a punch card or app that gets them excited about visiting your stop. Not only is this a conversation piece that you can discuss with the customer (“Hey where’s that punch card?” “Just a few more and you can come see us for free!” and so forth.), it creates incentive for them to visit your location. Even if your cost of the discount/free item is incredibly low, the return can be ongoing.
5. Remain Positive About Your Franchise, Always
As a franchisee, there’s no doubt that you’ll have a frustrating day or two. However, mum’s the word. Keep any and all frustrations to yourself to avoid coming off badly in front of customers. If you must vent, do so in a private location and only to a very trusted individual. Otherwise, take a deep breath and power through. Some days as a business owner will be harder than others, but the more positive you remain, the less those times will affect your bottom line.
6. Get Involved in the Community
Meet people and attend events! Networking will do wonders for your brand, simply by letting folks know who you are and what your franchise can do. People will first come just to check it out, then they’ll return as a friend. This also goes for donating locally, too. Whether time, funds, or facility use, make an effort to help as much as possible for a way to give back to the community.
7. Reach Out to Your People
Before you even open your franchise, create some positive buzz by informing those closest to you. Inform the masses and let them know what you’re up to with your franchise business. Let them know when it’s ok to tell others and you can start educating future patrons before you even open your doors.
8. Do Interviews
The more you can get your name in the press, the better. If possible, reach out to media sources and offer your expertise within the franchising industry. Whether you’re serving food or changing oil, make yourself available to comment as needed. You can also subscribe to outlets such as HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to field queries and find ones that best relate.
9. Run a Tight Ship
That’s not to say one that is rigid, but rather a franchise location that does a great job. Ensure your standards are set high (and kept there) at all times. The better service you’re able to provide, the better experience customers will have. And while all of the above are great exposure to your name, nothing beats a solid business setup.
Create a buzz for your franchise business and keep it growing along the way. Use these business and community friendly methods to gain local trust as you grow your brand.