Advisory Apr, 13 2012

Big smile begets grinning profits

No doubt hard work and smart business ideas can surely drive an entrepreneur to the zenith of success, but customer satisfaction is equally important. A franchise enterprise is not an exception and can never be profitable till the time it fulfills all the

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Big smile begets grinning profits

Busy schedules, fast pace of life and no compromise on quality and experience attitude has brought about a drastic change in consumers’ buying behavior. No one would like to waste time in an outlet while shopping or taking any service where the owner and employees are too busy to even acknowledge his/her presence. This is especially applicable to franchising where franchisors have franchisees and in certain cases a single franchisee who is operating multiple franchise locations. Keeping this in mind franchisors across industries have developed special training sessions for their franchise partners and their staff on how to welcome and treat clients/customers and make them fully satisfied before they leave their outlet to happily pay a visit again.

Handle clients with care

Whenever a client/customer enters the outlet he needs to be given a warm welcome so that it brings a big smile on his face and makes him relaxed. Employees should always be motivated to learn and remember the name of every regular customer. Additionally it would make customers happy if the staff recognises where they work and what they like the most in the outlet. Franchisees can offer incentives to employees who remember most of the customers and their small likings. In this context Pawan Gadia,CEO, Retail & Online, Ferns N Petals Pvt. Ltd says: “Polite and personalised service, timely delivery, loyalty programme for earning points, best products are some thoughts to employ customer loyalty.”

Client handling is of utmost importance and thus franchisors need to provide special training on client management to the franchisees. Sharing her opinion on this Shahnaz Husain, Chairperson and MD, Shahnaz Husain Group of companies informs: “An important aspect of the Shahnaz Husain beauty course and training given to franchisees is client handling. The student learns how to deal with clients and all the various aspects of client handling, right from the reception of clients to professional ethics. Students and future franchisees learn the importance of attitude and behaviour towards clients, as well as personal appearance and hygiene.” Highlighting his views  Gadia said: “We run a training programme for franchisee how to deal with the clients and a personal engagement develops a trust. We train the franchisee and our staff in how to handle a client and address his specific needs, whether they be for individual or corporate requirements in terms of his budgets, meaning of flowers, up selling add on products like cakes, soft toys etc.”

Essential front line services for success
Different segments need different kinds of services for satisfaction of clients/customer. Let us have a look:

Winning confidence by enhancing their appearances: Beauty salons, hair salons, spa etc require special training on client handling. Clients usually come to salons for enhancing their beauty so the staff should be entrusted to win the trust as well as develop a friendly approach towards each client. As said by Husain: “We have a global chain of franchise salons. The beauty service business is a people’s business. The success of the business depends on client satisfaction. This not only depends on the actual solutions to beauty problems, but the extent to which you can develop an ideal relationship of confidence with the client.”

Providing tasty food and relaxing environment: Being the 21st century more and more people love to eat out in restaurants and fine dine’s. This sector is on the rise with many national and international players emerging in the franchise arena. However the mantra for success in restaurants is the mouth watering food as well as the warmth and manners displayed by staff and owner. Clients feel happier when they are greeted warmly and are given lot of respect. Eating at a place where one is treated as a VIP usually brings a big smile on everyone’s face and surely makes the patrons revisit again and again. Therefore good behavior by staff is the first and foremost step towards success.

Offering best education and security to child: In case of education industry the consumers are the parents but they are not directly availing the services. It is their kids who are experiencing the pre-schools and kindergartens. By providing best environment to kids franchisees can gain the confidence of the parents.

Offering emotional satisfaction: Flowers are usually given to display love, good wishes etc. Therefore they have to be perfectly suited to the need of the occasion. Gadia shared: “We are in a very customisable products business, wherein the customer wishes to get his own bouquet made as per his specifications. Reminding the customer a couple of days in advance before his occasion, ensuring delivery of his order at the correct time and ensuring the best of product is what the least we do to ensure satisfaction.”

Understanding consumer’s psychology: Selecting what suits and looks best on others is easier then selecting for self. Therefore customers while selecting clothes, jewellery etc for themselves need a lot of advice from the staff. Well trained staff would surely win more points from customers if they offer timely and suitable help. Moreover such behavior would help making customers permanent and loyal.

Thus front line services are a must in each and every industry whether service or retail. To conclude it can be said that front-line employees are the first step towards success. However, good the services or products are, they would be meaningless unless accompanied by a lively smile on the franchisees and his employees face.

Related: Why opt for MBOs over EBOs in Kids Retail

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