Customer loyalty is the key to any top franchise business. It is important for franchisors as well as franchisees to understand the need of their customer to achieve optimum success. A franchisor needs to concentrate his efforts on front-end sales and should understand the importance of rich consumer experience. A continuing stream of sales is realised over the existence of the past and present customers. It is one of the major reasons behind the success of franchising in the various industries.
Strategy for continue customer flow
Acknowledging the significance of old customer, franchisors have developed strategies to keep their consumers happy and to encourage them to repeat their visit to the stores. Supporting the strategy for strong consumer base Vithal Kamat, CMD, Vithal Kamats -The Original Family Restaurant says, “Today people understand the brand name and the quality that comes with it. Therefore, offering franchises of your business is very lucrative and brings customers to your doorstep because they already know you (the brand name).” Today almost every franchisor and franchisee adopts various marketing strategies to bring in new clients or retain old ones. Here are a few steps that a franchisee or franchisor can follow to grow his customer base, these are as follows:
- Develop strong relationship: It is very important for an entrepreneur to develop healthy relationship with his customers as they are the ultimate source of revenue. Serve them with the best products and services and treat them as if they are your strategic partners. Long-term clients and customer loyalty is a big time challenge as they easily detect indifference and insincerity and take no time in switching on to other franchise companies. Therefore, it is utmost important to gratify them with quality products and best services; supported by impressive marketing and promoting them at the right time and place.
- Need for strong databases: Maintaining a centralised database to keep the records of your customers is also a very effective way to get in touch with your customers for repeated marketing and selling. As Kamat says, “Repeated customers are an add-on benefit in taking up a franchise business. All a franchisee needs to do is to maintain the benchmark standards of the brand name and the business.” So, you can organise the names, addresses, contact details, purchase histories and interests of your customers.
- Ask for customer feedback and testimonials: Most of the players in different sectors are using the feedback and testimonial strategy for reviving their strategies. Asking for feedback and testimonials will give direct view-points of your customers and a clear idea of what you need to do in order to win their loyalty.
- Offer evidences: You can use the best testimonials and feedbacks of your customers by posting them on the official website of the company as a proof of your best products and services. Nothing can speak louder than these testimonials for your potential customers.
- Communicate regularly: Here regular communication does not mean to call or mail your customers on regular basis. Rather you need to come up with innovative ideas to communicate with your customers like inviting them to your outlet for availing special offers, coupons, holiday cards, discount, sale and so on.
- Practice cross-selling and up-selling: Once you have succeeded in building a good relationship with your customers, you can exercise cross selling and up-selling with them. Cross-selling is a marketing term which is used for suggesting related products or services to a customer who is considering buying something. Whereas up-selling is another similar practice that involves suggesting more expensive items to a customer, who is making a purchase. But you can do this only when your customers know the entire range of your products and services.
Remember a repeated customer is always a happy customer. All those dealing in franchise businesses, just make sure that you have made all the above mentioned points a part of your strategy to build a strong customer base for your franchise.