Scale is at the core of every franchise business model. The foundational strategy of every franchise should be to use proven, repeatable models that allow your brand to scale in order to serve more customers.
Yet, that’s often a major challenge for franchises of all sizes. Some have mastered it and provide an experience that is consistent with every customer interaction, but there are many franchises that have struggled to create a repeatable process as they expand over a large number of locations. This failure often results in poor and inconsistent service across the franchise.
The four Ps of scale
There are several areas that have to be in order for franchises to scale effectively, but they can be loosely summarized as:
- Processes: the thing that makes your franchise unique
- Procedures: the methods used to ensure the process is consistent
- Promotion: the ways you get your franchise out in front of customers
- Personnel: the people who drive your success
All of these have to be coordinated effectively in order to handle growth and expansion.
One area of particular importance that touches all of these areas is customer service. Incredibly, 84% of organizations working to improve customer experience see an increase in revenue, according to research by Dimension Data.
Every franchise works hard to develop brand standards for customer service. These standards are then passed on to franchise owners to be implemented at their location. But those brand standards sometimes fall by the wayside because of a lack of focus on details. This results in customer experiences that vary widely from location to location.
Those variations can be detrimental to a franchise brand as customers expect consistency when they interact with a franchise. A customer experience in Dallas should be the same as a customer experience in Boston. The challenge is that the cost and efforts to provide that consistency can be overwhelming and difficult to manage.
The call center solution: four models
Call centers are uniquely positioned to help franchise organizations provide a consistent customer experience at scale, across multiple locations. An established call center can typically help in four ways. I’ll take you through them below.
1. Shared call center services
Shared call center services are most often used as a starting point, allowing for lower cost options that ensure a live response every time a customer reaches out to make contact with a franchise.
This option is often used by individual franchise locations to provide reception and customer service support while avoiding the high cost of hiring staff to perform those functions. They’re also well positioned to help with basic lead capture and qualification for franchise organization corporate offices.
2. Focused call center services
Focused call center services are similar to shared call center services, but call agents have fewer customer accounts to serve which allows them to receive basic training on franchise brands. With this additional level of training they can perform more complex tasks such as scheduling appointments, outbound lead response and follow up, service tickets and order entry.
3. Dedicated call center services
Dedicated call center services provide agents who are fully trained to your brand standards and procedures, and can perform multiple complex tasks for your franchise organization. They provide a single point of contact so that every customer contact experience is consistent across every location. A primary benefit of this model is that your organization doesn’t have to invest in call center infrastructure and staffing, which can drain resources.
4. Internal call center capacity assistance
Internal call center capacity assistance is a flexible, effective way for franchise brands who have already invested in an internal call center to respond quickly to seasonal or growth related call spikes. It’s also a way to manage their hold queues which improves service levels and provides an enhanced customer experience. This can also be used to buffer and supplement staffing issues and help manage employee turnover challenges.
A hidden benefit of call center solutions
An additional benefit of using a call center solution is that it allows franchise organizations to free up resources to work on additional high value opportunities. For instance, instead of hiring a receptionist or a team of customer service representatives, a franchise can invest those resources into high value opportunities to scale the business even faster. This can help the franchise mitigate costs related to equipment, training, supervision, benefits, and human resources.
Consistency across all franchise locations is vital for effective branding and growth. Call centers can be an important resource in allowing them to scale quickly. Business growth is no accident, it’s the result of staying focused on the four Ps of scale and providing great service with every customer interaction.