Franchising Retention: How to Boost Local Customer Loyalty

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The basic concept of the franchise model resides in the notion that the products or services you offer are so good, people in several different cities, regions, or even countries will want to buy it, and this has clearly proven to be true for many franchise brands. While this may be true of products and services, the way we look at customer service and how to reach consumers has become much more individualistic. Today’s consumer expects to have a uniquely personal experience from the brands they patronize, one that is centered on their preferences and considers their emotional connection to the brand. To do this properly, franchisees need to look more at local trends and habits and focus on how to use data from their local community to grow their franchise profits. By using data collected from loyalty programs, purchasing habits, and social media interactions to inform strategy, franchisees can build a brand-to-consumer experience that boosts customer retention and attracts a steady stream of new customers as well.

Using Emotions Creates a Bridge

How we nurture customer loyalty these days has changed dramatically from efforts in the past. While special offers and discounts still work, consumers today respond more to offers designed around experiences and emotional connections. They want to feel as if a brand “gets them,” and is invested in being a part of their lives. For the franchise business, these means finding ways to capitalize on their customers emotions.

Using data, a franchise can determine not just when a customer shops at their location or what they buy, buy WHY people in your community came through your door in the first place. A restaurant franchise can utilize the emotional connection of being the place where a customer’s family goes to celebrate special milestones and build lifelong memories. A coffeehouse franchise can zero in on how they have been the backdrop of many intimate conversations with close friends. An accessories boutique can highlight they are the place you go to treat yourself when you’ve worked hard and deserve a reward for your efforts. Using emotions to create a bond with your brand and demonstrating how you’ve been a “silent partner” in many of the important little moments of their lives builds an emotional bridge and a memorable experience for consumers.

Loyalty Programs Shows You Care

Loyalty punch cards and “star rewards” are certainly no stranger to the franchise business; indeed, most franchise chains offer them. And because of this, a standard “Buy 9, get your 10th one on us” system won’t do anything to excite your local clientele. This is how a personalized loyalty program can make all the difference. How much of a difference? A recent article published in Forbes Magazine indicates that people are 8 times more likely to be satisfied with a customer loyalty program that is personalized to them.

Building a personalized loyalty program starts and ends with data analytics. Remembering customer preferences, birthdays, loyalty program anniversaries, etc. can all boost the connection consumers feel to your franchise. A simple message of “We know you love this sandwich, this week, come in for a free one on us!” or “It’s your one-year anniversary with our loyalty program, and we got you more than a card; come in for your gift!” can make a customer feel they are valued and remembered. Tailoring the message to your location can also help build your community standing. A special offer that celebrates a local sports team’s victory in the State Championship or even suggesting local favorites on your menu can show you’re invested in being a partner in your neighborhood. Using language that speaks to them on a more personal, friendly level will also make your interactions more intimate, and enhance their experience of your brand.

Get Social on Social Media

Many more regional and even national franchisor umbrella brands are encouraging their localized franchisees to utilize social media to showcase their individuality and community involvement and taking advantage of this opportunity is a pivotal way for a franchise to enhance customer experience and loyalty.

You can use social media to personalize your message to your everyday patrons. Using data collected from local favorites and trending purchases to get other patrons in the door. If your data analytics indicates a certain item from your menu is trending, posting a message of “Everyone else in town loves this new flavor, don’t be left out! Cone in for 10% off today!” can tell customers that you pay attention to what your community likes and that you care about providing everyone with a special experience. Book a demo, today!