Creating profitable relationships with customers
Rhett Thurston | Managing Director | MBE Business Service Centre
Positive relationships with customers are lifeblood that allows your business to prosper, especially during uncertain economic times, where people are more wary on where to spend their money.
We have previously seen the importance of being passionate about your job and delivering to customers' expectations within tight deadlines. However, this is just one aspect that a truly successful business should pursue: it is also very important to consider the phases that precede and follow the delivery of a job, and all of this comes down to nurturing interpersonal relationships that will drive your business.
Strong relationships help you to create the solid bonds of loyalty. As a matter of fact, at MBE, we believe that one of the core jobs for the franchise owners is creating ongoing relationships with clients. As the possibilities to network within the local communities abound the franchisees become more intricately woven into the fabric of their communities, thus becoming a trusted name.
In fact, many clients - especially small-medium organizations - are more willing to choose a service if they have a personal connection with a company. For this reason I suggest that the right person to run a business based on customer satisfaction such as MBE is an individual able to maintain solid relationships with the clients, before and after the completion of the job.
MBE clients tend to be 1 to 20 employees in size, so the relevance of interpersonal relationship to the client is high as franchisees are likely to be dealing with business owners or someone in a major position of responsibility, whose opinions can have a strong impact amongst other business owners. We rely on the interpersonal skills set of the franchisee, as clients need a franchisee who knows them by name, who responds promptly to the enquiries and is aware of their needs and time constraints, not just a staff manager behind the counter.
For a franchise owner, showing a great amount of concern about the client satisfaction level throughout the job and after will demonstrate his level of commitment and help spread the good word about the business. We encourage our franchisees to invest their time in understanding customers' needs as MBE is really about integrity and trust and making a difference in your community. Word of mouth - especially in local communities where everyone knows each other - is a powerful marketing tool that can help you maintain your customers and acquire new ones through recommendation of your good deeds.
"For a franchise owner, showing a great amount of concern about the client satisfaction level throughout the job and after will demonstrate his level of commitment and help spread the good word about the business."
Building strong relationship it' s really about finding people who believe in your services and in your job' s values.
Keeping in touch and networking with you clients is vital as it can also provide the chance to gain insights on how to improve your service and therefore gain new business. On the other hand, you have the chance to boost your profile by tailoring your marketing messages (e.g. newsletter, promotions) and sharing some free insights, with tips and advice that can be useful to your clients on how to run their business more profitably. A personal touch combined with a more education-oriented approach will keep your communication fresh and generate more curiosity in prospects.
Our head office is particularly active in supporting franchisees in developing relationships with customers by showing them the importance of the single MBE business centre for their visual communications. Our marketing program aims to generate leads with a comprehensive and relationship-based approach which encompass direct mail, letterbox drops, retail merchandising and face-to-face relationship building.
At the same time, as it is in the franchise owner' s interest to gain local business exposure, we recommend enhancing the impact of the corporate advertising program by tailoring the messages to the local business community and spreading the word that there is a MBE Business Service Centre convenient to them. In this way, your business can always stay top of mind and when they are ready they will be more likely to look for you, as you kept your lines of communication open.
Since we are talking about a Business to Business client focused franchise, the ideal franchisee is a person who is enterprising and technical at the same time, enjoys relationships and can get a clear understanding of the technical application of the equipment. Although having a good understanding of computers and the printing business is certainly a benefit, it is not a necessary requirement as you can always employ the necessary people to handle the day-to-day printing and computer operation.
Above all, to effectively succeed in this franchise business, you must enjoy working with the public, have strong problem solving skills, understand the importance of providing outstanding customer service, be a good listener and be considerate of others. All these aspects will really make the connections within the local community grow and pay off in the long term. Creating and nurturing relationships takes time but it is essential to drive you franchise business successfully.