A pioneer in any industry naturally emerges as the pack leader, but maintaining this market position requires an ongoing commitment to innovation. Technology is key to providing an outstanding customer experience that helps attract customers in an increasingly competitive landscape and maintains a profitable business model for your franchise partners and shareholders.
Technology is more important than ever, especially in today’s COVID-19 environment. We have all become accustomed to seamless customer experiences that prioritize accessibility and convenience, so it’s no surprise that consumer demand for technology is at an all-time high, with 90 per cent of customers expecting an omnichannel experience.
That said, investing in technology and innovation is crucial to creating a customer experience that attracts modern consumers and meets their needs – especially for franchise concepts that want to maintain their brand’s credibility, value proposition, and leadership in a given category. Here are some ways franchise brands can seamlessly digitize their operations to enhance their overall customer experience.
Many modern brands have already digitized in some way, whether it’s rolling out a mobile app, or offering online scheduling or ordering. If yours hasn’t, there are a few things to consider before jumping in.
First, do you know what digitizing should look like for your brand? What do your customers want and what functions do they need? Second, what does the competitive landscape look like? Has a competitor already done what you are setting out to do or are you cutting-edge? If one (or more) of your competitors already has a fully digitized system, that should play a role in how you approach digitizing your brand.
You need to also consider the resources that will be required for your brand’s unique digitization, such as investment capital, the time commitment, and the expertise needed to execute. Having a clear understanding of all of this is key, as well as knowing how this technology solution will fit into your current franchise ecosystem.
Function over flashy features
Technology continues to evolve at extraordinary speed, which makes digitizing incredibly exciting but also potentially overwhelming.
It’s easy to get sidetracked or become paralyzed when evaluating the sheer volume of opportunities technology presents, so keep your primary goal top of mind: making life easier for your customers, your franchise partners, and yourself.
The first version of any technology solution should be focused solely on utility and function. For example, before we rolled out our fully developed Scenthound consumer mobile app, we first built out our six-point S.C.E.N.T. Check, which provides our customers with a report detailing our assessment of their dog’s overall external health.
There wasn’t anything super flashy about it, but it was something that helped us better serve our customers and create consistency in our operations for our franchisees. Plus, it would become foundational as one of our app’s signature features.
Once you have laid the groundwork with the first version, all the bells and whistles can come later.
Having utilitarian technology solutions can make a huge difference on the labor front by reducing administrative responsibilities and putting transactional work into the hands of consumers. For example, our customers can schedule appointments, pay for services, and access resources 24/7 via our mobile app.
By shifting these transactions from in-person to the app, it has reduced friction in our overall system and allows time in-Scenter to be used for a more personal experience between employees and customers.
Essentially, omnichannel give consumers the power of choice and puts the control back in their hands. This, in turn, can help your franchise partners streamline their operations and cut labor costs.
Create a better informed customer
Omnichannel, personalization, and curation are the future. The better you know and understand your customers’ wants and needs, the better your position to serve them in the best possible way. Having digital platforms allows you to extract information from your customers more easily and triangulate what they need and want from your brand.
Creating a more informed customer was the primary driver behind our S.C.E.N.T. Check, providing our customers a detailed, yet digestible, report on their dog’s overall external health. It was a way for us to capture better data, personalize experiences and streamline the delivery of information to each dog parent, while also providing another way for our customers to stay informed, educated, and empowered when it comes to their dogs’ health and wellbeing. With our app, our customers have easy and unlimited access to their dog’s health records and the power to book their next appointment whenever, wherever.
All in all, omnichannel is the interconnectedness of multichannel and those connections are extremely important – you get to create the ‘easy button for your customers while simultaneously streamlining and simplifying operations for your franchisees.
Tim Vogel is the co-founder and CEO of Scenthound, the first and only wellness-focused dog care franchise concept that prioritizes health over beautification