How bad business etiquette leads to losing franchise buyers

By Sarah Stowe | 15 Dec 2016 View comments

Ever been really keen to run with an idea you really want to make happen? You read all the material, follow the link to the information page, grab the contact number and make the call… 

Words come back like “”Thank you for calling XXX. Your call is important to me and I will come back to you as soon as I am able. Please leave me a message”.

So you do – and you never hear back from them again! You would spend your money somewhere else.

Now if this was a franchise prospect calling your business what would happen?

They would contact the competitive franchise system and probaly invest their $300,000 with a franchisor who was responsive, and either answered the phone or returned the message at their earliest convenience.

I call this business etiquette, and in my view it is sadly missing in Australia today. And not only is it a matter of manners, poor phone (or email) etiquette can cost you business.

Many firms need to look at themselves from the customer’s viewpoint and ask themselves ‘would you put up with this if you didn’t have to?’. Surprisingly, many of the same businesses tell everyone who will listen they are great at customer service.

What should a potential franchisee expect if they want to make a call and feel it is important enough that they want to speak to someone? If they want to invest in your business, they’re keen.

So why aren’t you? Of course there are times when you can’t pick up straight away but I think very few people are so busy or so important that they cannot take or respond to a phone call.

3 ways to manage communications

  1. If you have a manned office, do NOT allow people to put voicemails on their phones. Our office has a designated person to take the first call, designated person for the second call if the first person is busy.

  2. If you are hearing complaints about not getting hold of someone or always having to leave a message – find out why. Maybe try calling from a different number and see if it is answered? If not, what happens?

  3. Counsel the staff that customer service is important to the business, and it is everyone’s responsibility to participate. Customer service starts with the first interaction.

If you cannot speak to people or they do not return phone calls, just imagine how your customers feel and what opportunities are being missed. What message does it send to potential franchisees about the rigour and commitment of your business?