It’s important to be positive and to always emphasise the bright side of every situation, but this needs to be said: There is a customer service crisis in South Africa.
Generally speaking, service has never been worse than it is today. One only has to look at:
- The lackadaisical levels of service in business
- Poor training of customer-facing staff
- Low wage levels in all customer-centric roles.
Customer service performance in South Africa is like the Springbok rugby team’s performance against Japan or England’s loss to Iceland in football. South African customer service is really in trouble. When you lose like that, someone always loses their job — don’t let it be you. We need a change in tactics or a change in management.
I’m sure you can easily list examples of poor service you’ve encountered at South African businesses in the past few weeks or days alone. It’s not good.
However, this is a great opportunity. In a business environment where bad service is almost standard, the businesses that do deliver world-class customer service will stand out like the shining lights of excellence that they are.
Excellent customer service is almost guaranteed to make you a leader in your industry and ensure your business succeeds.
Here are three secrets to success that you can implement today.
1Minimise the handovers
Every time you hand over a project, communication can break down. It’s a problem in South African business that too often a customer query or complaint is handed over from one staffer to another.
I once dealt with a media agency about a website I was trying to build. Every time I contacted them or came for a meeting, I dealt with a different person. I was told,
“Karen will be handling your project now.” Then it was Katlego. Then it was Grant. Then it was Dave. And every time, what I wanted for my website had somehow gotten lost in translation. I had to explain myself from scratch to every person. It was so frustrating! I’m not sure what was going on in that company. I would far rather deal with a one person show, where you only ever deal with Mpho and she knows your project inside and out.
Try to keep project handovers to a minimum. Especially in the systems of your company. Some firms have even built a system where you phone up and speak to one person, who puts you through to another person, who finds out what you want, then puts you through to another… This is an inefficient way of running a business.
Try to ensure that a customer gets through to someone who can actually help as soon as possible. And that every time they get in touch again, they speak to the same person.
2Make the wait worth it
Waiting areas are a notoriously neglected part of South African retail. You know the vibe: A pile of magazines from 2006, a water cooler, perhaps some powdered coffee and some sticky teaspoons around the corner somewhere, and a dead potplant.
If you don’t have your smartphone with you, you’re in for a boring ten minutes. And those ten minutes will feel like 20. And when you’re still not attended to, you’ll imagine you’ve been in that waiting-room hell for half an hour.
But consider this, the time your customer spends in your waiting area is time spent thinking. He’s sitting there flipping through a Garden & Home magazine from ten years ago, or fiddling on his phone, and he’s thinking to himself, “Now what could be taking so long!” He’s making up his mind about your business, evaluating you. If he’s having an unpleasant experience, he’ll eventually decide, “You know, I don’t have time for this,” — and he’ll never be back.
Instead of providing the bare minimum of waiting-area service, why not make the wait worthwhile. If you take your waiting area to a new level of excellence, it becomes an asset instead of a liability. Customers will come to you and look forward to the wait.
Here are some examples of how you can make your waiting area an asset to your business.
- Provide a television with DStv
- A selection of charging cables so visitors can charge their phones
- A children’s area with crayons and colouring books
- Play the radio — it’s a great form of entertainment; Talk, music or magazine shows — whatever suits your business
- A couple of computer terminals with Internet access
- A bookshelf of current reads — be they books, magazines or today’s newspapers
- An automated coffee machine that provides cappuccinos, lattes and decaf options.
3Anticipate your customers’ needs
Once you’ve been in business for a few years, you know inside and out what customer requirements are. Of course, they’re not always the same, but there are many common issues that crop up.
Try to anticipate what a customer is going to want before she asks for it. It’ll reduce her stress levels and you’ll impress her with your initiative.
Related: Customer Service Success Secrets
Here are some examples of how to do that:
- A child needs to decorate a shoebox for a school project. As a shop assistant at a craft shop, you know everything that goes into making one. Anticipate and provide everything so the mother doesn’t have to come back later that day, fuming, “Those stickers aren’t self-adhesive. We need glue!”
- A barman knows what all the locals drink at his pub. When a regular comes through the door, he finds an ice-cold glass of his favourite Castle Draught waiting for him on the bar.
- A customer at your cellphone shop is buying a new Sony Android phone after he lost his last one. Recommend he upgrade his contract to include insurance, as he is clearly a little absent-minded and may require it later.
- Everyone’s reading spectacles are constantly smudgy. Start a service at your optometrist where anyone who comes in the door gets a free clean of their glasses. You’re simply anticipating what happens with every client.
- As a hostess at a restaurant, anticipate the needs of your customers. When you show them to their table, tell them, “The bar is there, the toilets are upstairs and if you like, you can smoke on the balcony out there.”
Smoothie Franchise Opportunity: Puré Frooty Is A One-Of-A-Kind Smoothie Franchise Business
Looking for the next greatest franchise opportunity? Puré Frooty Smoothie is a highly perfected Australian business model launching in the South African market that doesn’t require extensive shop fitting or a large workforce.
- Brand: Puré Frooty
- Established: 2017
- Website: www.purefrooty.co.za
Puré Frooty Smoothie is a unique business model to the South African market. A delicious, fruit filled smoothie will be created at the touch of a few buttons.
An Innovative Franchising Concept
This innovation in the healthy smoothie industry is ground breaking for South Africa. The machine is manufactured in Australia by a highly skilled team. It took six years to perfect this business model for the consumer market.
The vision of Puré Frooty Smoothie is to offer convenient on-the-go smoothies for anyone. The experience and quality will always be of the highest standard. We aim to be a staple convenience in malls, schools, office parks and hospitals. This is a platform that will allow for self-growth for passionate entrepreneurs.
Our mission is to create a unique customer experience. We want to satisfy the nutritional needs of customers by providing quality smoothies. Puré Frooty Smoothie will be packed with all the goodness a smoothie should offer.
The four values we pride ourselves in are:
- Customer Satisfaction.
Why Consider This Franchising Opportunity
Extensive research into the business model and market
Puré Frooty Smoothie was an idea, researched widely, by people looking to simplify the business process for the consumer and business owner. There was a gap in the market for simplified customer service and a demand for a quicker turnaround time.
Simplified process for setting up a business
For an entrepreneur it can be very overwhelming to start or buy a new or existing business. There are so many crucial decisions that need to be made from the beginning and new concepts to adapt to.
Puré Frooty Smoothie simplifies that drastically:
- Free-standing machines: The business model revolves around a free-standing vending machine which needs to be visited to refill and maintenance.
- No shop-fitting required: There is no need for shop fittings or a large work force. All that is required is an inside space for the machine with a power supply.
- Minimal human resources needed: In terms of a work force, you could either do it yourself or have one person to assist you. There is also a part time involvement where refill station teams can refill and maintain the machine.
- Cashless business: The business is completely cashless so there are no worries of a note jam, full cash canister or insufficient denomination rand values. More importantly the machines would do a higher turnover than an ordinary vending machine so safety of no cash is important.
- Easy tracking of stock and performance: A cloud-based system is linked to the point of sale which allows you to monitor your performance and stock from the back-office platform at any given time.
- Efficient handling of maintenance: With a live point of sale system, the business is linked to a software which monitors the operations of the machine. Should anything malfunction an immediate notification will be sent with a diagnostics report.
- Human error is eliminated: Everything is done with a computer which leaves little to no room for errors. It is self-order and very user friendly.
Related: SA Fast Food Franchising On The Rise
Why Will Customers Love It
Puré Frooty Smoothie offers a vending machine that can produce a delicious smoothie in forty seconds. An informative touch screen ordering panel which displays all the nutritional information of the smoothie ordered and has the current news and weather.
No time wasted for the consumer. In fact, it’s a learning session disguised as a waiting period. The machine has two wash cycles after every smoothie is made to be freshly prepared for the next smoothie, business hygiene is important.
Consumers live in the fast lane. We are looking for something quick and most times we would like to be healthier. With the hustle and bustle of today’s life every little bit helps. Puré Frooty Smoothie fills that gap in the market.
Interested in Becoming A Franchisee?
Visit our Franchise Info Page for everything you need to know about how to become information a Puré Frooty Smoothie Franchisee owner.
You can also call or write to us:
Phone / 012-942 6360
Email / firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to know more about this franchise? Watch the video below for more.
4 Top Tips To Find Your Best Franchise Opportunity
The President’s recent Job Summit highlighted the critical need to reduce unemployment. The franchise sector employs 369 573 people, 93 percent employed by individual franchisees rather than franchisors.
Several years of strong sectoral growth combined with business opportunities that are often backed by an investor safety net is making franchising the top choice for many who want to own their own business. This assessment is based on the strong foundations of my own experience of establishing Cash Converters nearly a quarter century ago and the recent results of Franchise Association of South Africa (FASA) annual industry survey.
These figures show that the SA franchise industry has grown its turnover by 55 percent from R465 billion in 2014, when FASA conducted its first survey, to R721 billion in 2017. Alongside this, the sector’s contribution to South Africa’s GDP has expanded by 62 percent, from 9.7 percent in 2014 to 15.7 percent in 2017.
The President’s recent Job Summit highlighted the critical need to reduce unemployment and boost the national economy by growing business and stimulating job creation. The franchise sector employs 369 573 people, 93 percent employed by individual franchisees rather than franchisors.
Franchising can be a win-win for franchisees. It enables you to make your dream of running your own business come true as well as contributing to providing much-needed new jobs.
These factors make franchising a particularly attractive option for those wishing to start their own business. But with 865 different franchise systems active in the country last year, the huge range of choice can be confusing.
To prevent analysis paralysis and ensure you can get set to make the most of franchising, I can offer four top tips for selecting the best franchise opportunity for you:
1. Choose a credible brand
As you shortlist franchisors that appeal to you, go beyond what they tell you about themselves and find out about what people are saying about them. Do social media searches to find out how consumers are reacting to the product or service offered, pricing and customer service. Your franchise fee should buy you a halo effect thanks to your franchisor’s good reputation. Too much negativity around the brand will affect the potential success of your franchise, from your ability to attract customers and the turnover and profit you can hope to generate.
2. Look for a proven business model
A worthwhile franchise shares with franchisees the intellectual property it has developed over the years. It has created and grown this business model over time, knocking off rough edges and fine-tuning systems for mistakes as they become apparent. Check the brand’s news history online as well as its own sales material. Be wary of any franchise that claims to be perfect or invincible.
Nobody is – so either it has something to hide or it is fooling itself. Either way, such a brand is not keeping its eyes open to navigate the brand and its franchisees through the changing fortunes of business.
Related: Thinking Of Going Into Franchising?
3. Check the support systems
Getting relationships and systems right is vital in business success. They have become even more important since we founded Cash Converters nearly 25 years ago because the volume of legal compliance has mushroomed. Make sure that the franchises you shortlist offer you support in coping with this and that those running the brand are in touch with what happens on the ground in the franchisees’ stores. At Cash Converters, for example, our front-end support staff are in stores every day and the directors devote three days each month to visiting stores. This ensures that our expertise is available to guide the franchisees through any business issues they face.
4. Follow the recipe
When you sign up with a franchisor, you receive access to its business model, including the “recipe” for running your franchise. This forms a kind of safety net so you do not need to reinvent a wheel when setting up your business. But you cannot complain that the business model does not work if you do not implement it. This is one of those times when you must follow the recipe to bake the cake successfully. If you are not the kind of person who wants to do that, then think again about whether franchising is for you.
Don’t Tread On Toes – Why Investing In A HIQ Franchise Will Offer You More Opportunities
Are you looking at investing in a tyre replacement and service industry? Look no further than the Hi-Q franchise.
Established in 1999, Hi-Q is a successful and diverse multi-product, multi-brand leader in the tyre replacement and service industry with a network of over 130 franchisees nationwide.
With the support of international tyre giant Goodyear, Hi-Q has established a solid reputation of ‘the one you can trust’, and the Hi-Q approach and philosophy is embedded in this. We have the trust of our customers, our network and our suppliers – that’s why you can trust us to take you and your business to the next level.
When you’re working with people’s safety, trust forms the most significant part of the equation
Hi-Q introduced the original and innovative TyreSurance initiative – the only aftermarket tyre damage guarantee product that backs the consumer no matter the brand of tyre. Each Hi-Q Franchise offers a broad range of brands within the different product and service categories that customers know they can trust, and at prices they can afford. Product and services include tyres, exhausts, shocks, batteries or brakes, wheel alignment or balancing, and a 10-point safety check.
We have identified areas of opportunity to extend our Franchise footprint growth. If you are looking to join a new franchise and you share in our values and vision, we would like to hear from you.
For further information on how to become a franchisee, call us on +27 11 394 3150.
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