What would going the extra mile mean for your bottom line and your customers’ long-term loyalty? Of course, you’re doing great, but could your franchise be doing better? The answer is always yes, because as the National South African Customer Satisfaction Index has shown, South African consumers aren’t afraid to express their dissatisfaction.
“In general, a product is assumed to meet its customers’ basic needs, but the difference, negative or positive, is made by the company’s transparency, communication and customer service,” says Consulta CEO, Professor Adré Schreuder.
This means that brands with low SAcsi (National South African Customer Satisfaction Index) scores need to be worried, as past experience has shown that constant poor performance is almost always followed by the exit of a brand from the market. Think Saambou, Altech Autopage Cellular and Blackberry.
SAcsi’s latest survey indicates that a company’s transparency, communication and customer service are key values for customer satisfaction. How is your franchise doing in these aspects, and how can you prevent suffering the same fate as the aforementioned companies?
Be more transparent with consumers
What feelings does the brand called Honest evoke within you? Would you trust this company more, not just based on its name, but its reputation? Actress Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company promotes ethical consumerism and it’s earning and keeping her customers.
“When buyers make purchases, they want to know their decisions are good for their family and align with personal or charitable interests,” according to integrated agency Beholder. “Trust can’t be bought. It must be earned.”
Today’s more socially and environmentally aware consumer wants to understand exactly what they are buying and the best way to build trust with them is to share that information. Social media enables you to talk to customers in a manner you wouldn’t on your website.
Make it easier for customers to communicate with you
Before going to Hello Peter to complain about the long wait for the bill or the poor quality of the food at your restaurant, make sure your customers come to you first.
“Be available to your customers and allow them to interact with you,” advises Thomas Smale, Founder of FE International.
“Customers often have questions, and if there’s nowhere for them to go to get their queries answered, or you don’t respond in a timely manner, you could begin to lose credibility.”
It’s important to have a single Twitter, Facebook and Instagram page for your entire franchise group to easily track complaints and follow up on questions, franchisees may not necessarily be able to answer with the same immediacy.
Offer service above and beyond what is expected
Good service should be standard, but when consumers encounter it they are blown away. Ask yourself why, then do your very best to make it as pleasant an experience as possible.
“In general, a wonderful experience has many elements including proactively solving a customer’s problem, delivering unique value and exceeding their expectations,” says Mitchell Osak, managing director of Quanta Consulting Inc.
Something as simple as grabbing a trolley for a customer struggling with the basket they thought would be sufficient to carry their planned purchase, can get you rave reviews online or earn you more customers through word of mouth.