If applied to any business, it can be distilled to one important step: give the customer a good experience! So, Never Ever EVER EVER EVER Give Away Your Edge! That may sound obvious, but many businesses fail to do so.
They put up a good front and then give a customer a bad experience. What they fail to understand is that a bad customer experience is a good lesson for your competitors. In the long run, a customer who feels they have received bad service has a greater incentive to share their experiences, spreading the word. If you want to increase your competition, all you have to do is give a good one.
The experience/service should be exceptional. For example, if you own a restaurant, your customers will come back because of the food. It shouldn’t be merely good or acceptable. That may be all other restaurants are doing, but in reality, they’re doing much more. Your customers are there because they have been disappointed in the past, and when given a good experience, they will likely return.
If you are in the retail trade business, if your customers are disappointed, they will tell others, and others until they no longer have a desire to shop at your establishment. And you will be left with nothing but empty shelves.
So how can you build a winning franchise? Here are 14 steps to excellence in customer service.
1. Go above and beyond what the norm requires. Your customers will appreciate it because it’s unexpected. They’ll also tell others about it, but only if you go out of your way for them to do so. I’ll give you a few examples. If your store only sells certain products, then bring in more types of products at a time that aren’t typically found in the store. If your franchise isn’t allowing you to sell certain items on-site, then go to another store and find them. Or if your franchisee isn’t keeping track of all of their merchandise, then track it for them. In each case, you’re going above and beyond what is required, and you’re going to get a great reputation for going above and beyond.
2. Do the unexpected with promotions. They always work, and they give you a great reputation in the community. Your franchisees will get a buzz about their store, and they’re going to talk to their friends, their family, and anyone else who will listen about doing the same.
3. Do what you do very, very well. You’re going to get a reputation as being a great franchisee in the community, and in their words, “no one else is doing it” will be the only reason anyone would try to do better.
4. Do your franchisee’s work. Failing to do your franchisee’s work will give your franchisee a reputation as being incompetent, and they will be perceived as not being a very good businessperson. This will not help in the least in getting future franchisees.
5. Do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT. If you say you’re going to make a sales call, MAKE IT. It’s really that simple.
6. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you say you’re going to take a message to the store manager, DON/T STAY AWAY FROM THE STORE FOR THREE HOURS. If you say you’re going to make a sale, MAKE IT. In each case, the person on the other end of the telephone line can smell a rat in minutes after the store manager leaves.
7. Never say, NEVER. Never ever! NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER! This is one of the most powerful phrases in a franchise business. It’s a great way to get people to buy something you’re selling, but it’s a nightmare for a potential buyer to hear NEVER NEVER because they get nervous that they’re about to miss out on something that really won’t happen. So, Never Ever EVER EVER EVER Give Away Your Edge!.
8. Never EVER EVER EVER give away what your company is offering your customers. If you’re giving a workshop on marketing, make it completely marketing-oriented.
9. Don’t lie to your customers. If you tell them you’ll have a meeting with them later, then give them that meeting.
10. If you’re going to give your customer a discount, give them a real discount.
11. Never EVER EVER EVER give your customer something for free. It’s a great sales tactic, but it doesn’t add value to the relationship. It takes away value from the relationship, and it’s a breach of contract.
12. Never EVER EVER EVER give away your learning too soon. Don’t start handing them stuff too soon, because there’s usually a point at which you’re just pushing their hand into the fire. It’s important to build the relationship first, and then show them stuff they really want or need.
13. Don’t EVER EVER EVER ever let yourself be pushed off course by clients or prospects. If they say they want XYZ, deliver it, or don’t give it to them. If they say they want XYZ, and you give it to them.
14. Never EVER EVER EVER EVER give away your edge. If you do, your edge will be taken away, and your edge will lose its power!