What franchise owners can do to improve customer service

customer service tips

Here are five easy tips to help franchisees provide better customer service that will ultimately lead to repeat business and more sales

Customer service can make or break any business. Just because you own a franchise, it doesn’t mean that you can put customer service on autopilot or take it for granted. As a business owner, you should have a proactive approach to the customer experience. So, think about it, how would your customers rate your customer service? Does your staff — from you as the owner to your frontline workers — rate an A+ or an F?

Do you train your employees, or do you just wing it when it comes to the customer service area? When a customer walks out of your franchise establishment, do they leave with a positive experience? 

Failing at customer service is completely avoidable. It is a simple business practice to master as long as you put in a consistent effort and lead by example. Is your staff — and we’re talking all of them — helpful and knowledgeable? If not, you could badly damage your brand and reputation. Never has this been truer than in our current social media climate, where viral shaming is commonplace and an all-too-real occurrence. And please remember it only takes ONE staff member (including you, the franchisee) to bring your grade point average down.

So, what can franchise owners and franchise managers do to encourage excellent customer service? Here are five easy tips — both for in-person and on-the-phone customer service — for any way you communicate with customers. These will help up your game and provide better customer service that will ultimately generate sales and repeat customers for your franchise:

Prepare your managers and staff with a “mental” suit of armor. Make sure they’re aware that all customers fall in between nice and difficult.

  • Train! If your franchisor provides a customer service training plan, review it with your employees daily. If you don’t have a customer service plan in place, think about bringing in an experienced expert to spend time training your staff. Investing in your people will pay off wildly.
  • Remember the basics. Even without an official plan, basic pleasantries are vital. Remind your staff that saying, “Please,” “Thank you,” and “You’re welcome” go a long way, costs nothing, and leaves a lasting, positive impression on customers.
  • Communicate. Meet with your staff at the end of each day. Yes, every day. Discuss what went wrong and what went right. Make sure any customer service concerns are addressed immediately and solutions are made so customers are always satisfied.
  • Offer strategies. Prepare your managers and staff with a “mental” suit of armor. Make sure they’re aware all customers fall in between nice and difficult. Give employees strategies for the occasional abuse. Warn them in advance and make sure that even when those incidents happen, that they should still treat customers with politeness and respect.
  • Hire for attitude. If a job candidate seems unfriendly or rude on an interview, most likely it will just go down from there — despite an impressive resume. Even if you have an urgent need to hire, hold out for someone with a good attitude. It’s vital that your staff show they care and want to help. Remember, “your customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
  • Positivity wins.The most important customer service win: SMILE! Don’t let your employees greet customers without a smile. A smile leaves a positive, friendly first impression. Every time. 

Remember. If your franchise doesn’t earn an “A+” grade in excellent customer service and fails to leave a positive impression, you risk the brand’s reputation and ultimately hurt the bottom line of your business. Plus, you’re automatically giving the competition a helping hand. 

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Nancy Friedman is Founder and Chairman of the The Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. A former franchisor, she is expert on customer service and is a frequent keynote speaker talking about customer services best practices. Her real-world, hands-on tips, ideas, skills, and techniques help both franchisors and franchisees take their businesses to the next level.
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