From quick turnarounds to a beer while you wait, Alex Fourie, founder of iFix understands that businesses must add value to every client to create great customer loyalty.
Alex Fourie has grown his business, iFix, from one to eight stores in four years. He’s enjoyed an average of 180%+ growth for the past three successive years. And he’s developed a loyal client base that regularly use his services. So what’s his secret? As a start-up he didn’t have capital to spend on marketing, so he needed to focus on customer experience instead, and he’s done that through hiring a great team.
Here are his four lessons of success.
1. Ask why your customers should use you over your competitors
“My attitude is that anyone can repair a phone, so why do we get business?” says Fourie. “I don’t believe businesses are always honest with themselves when this question is raised. It’s easy to spout your differentiators, but you need to question if you really live them.
Ours are simple: We’re an affordable business that focuses on repairing iPhones, iPads, iPods and Samsung smartphones, we have a fast turnaround time, and we treat our customers like a major catastrophe has just disrupted their lives – because it has.
“Tablets and smartphones are an integral part of our lives and businesses. When something breaks, it’s already disruptive. The thought of taking days or even weeks to get our devices back can cause massive stress. We understand this. It’s why we offer a 24-hour turnaround time, and even a slightly more expensive one-hour express service.”
But Fourie doesn’t stop there. He understands that any service offered is only as good as the people offering it.
2. Get the right staff
Fourie’s business consists of two elements: The back of store technicians who fix the products in-store (who have to be good at what they do, fast, and able to work under pressure); and the front of store ‘service’ staff.
Good technicians need to be reliable, but Fourie has found that his main customer service edge comes from the fact that he hires people from the hospitality industry.
“There is a certain type of personality who can deal with a customer in such a way that they feel well looked after and taken care of, even when they are stressed. My experience has been that the hospitality industry fosters these skills in their managers, which is why I only recruit my store managers from that sector.”
3. Focus on training
“I need everyone who works in an iFix store to completely embrace our values, particularly as we now have a national footprint and I can’t be at every store.
I need to rely on my managers to ensure service levels and our brand values are maintained. Hiring is one element of this, but I also spend many weeks personally training each new manager.
I travel to each store on a weekly basis, but it’s important for managers to feel empowered enough to make on-the-ground decisions, and for that training is essential.”
4. Add flavour to each customer experience
Quick turnaround times and excellent customer service are expected, so what do you do to really stand out? Fourie’s solution is to really focus on the customer when they’re in the store.
“They can have a beer or a cup of coffee while they wait for our on-site technicians to fix their devices. It’s a great, homely atmosphere.”