What do you do when you operate a business with over 300 line items, but most of your customers only know you for a handful? These Levingers franchisees explain how they’re creating new business through customer service and marketing their lesser known services.
All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions
Kuven Naicker and Ashira Francis are business partners and franchisees of two Levingers outlets. They knew they were purchasing good business opportunities because the first unit had been in operation for six years, while the second had been running for nine years.
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Nevertheless, they managed to improve sales even further and generate a loyal following through clever tactics that you can apply in your business too. Here is there advice.
Naicker’s top tip for customer service: Kill customers with kindness
“This is a service-based business and the customer is King. Sometimes they’re in a bad mood or are easily irritated, so you’ve got to win them over by killing them with kindness no matter how they treat you in return. You have to understand that it’s not personal, particularly if you’ve done everything you can as a business to accommodate them.”
Francis’s top tip for customer service: Always state the obvious
“We’ve had occasions where customers have dropped off their items and then return the next day wanting to collect them – even though it says on the receipt two to three days. We now make sure, even with our regular customers, that when an item is dropped off, that we tell them how long it will take rather than relying on them to look at the receipt.”
Naicker’s top tip for winning fans: Always go above and beyond
“We’re not in the habit of turning away business if it’s something we haven’t done before. Rather we’ll ask for a few days to do some research and then come back with a solution, price and time frame. As an example, a customer brought in an expensive dog bed that his Rottweiler had wrecked, asking us to repair it. It’s not a typical item and we had no idea what to charge, so I asked for some time. I came up with a solution, he was happy with the price, and a week later he had a dog bed almost like new. Customers appreciate you going above and beyond for them.”
Francis’s top tip for winning fans: Always be honest
“Many customers are accommodating of a wide range of things so long as you’re being honest with them and keeping them informed. As an example, load shedding can cause delays at the dry-cleaning plant, so we let our customers know if there will be a delay on their items. They appreciate that. Another example is that we offer our customers wanting their suede shoes cleaned whether they want us to do it or to do it themselves with a suede shampoo we sell. They appreciate that we’re not just in it for a quick sale, but are there to offer them the best solution for their needs.”
Naicker’s top tip for boosting sales: Upsell and cross sell every chance you get
“Levingers offers a professional dry-cleaning and repairs service but there so many things we do that people just don’t know about or think to ask for. I like to be at the store by 06:30 so I can work through business admin and by the time customers arrive I can devote my undivided attention to them. When they bring in items needing repair or maintenance I can suggest other products and services we offer. Cross selling is important to securing regular business.”
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Francis’s top tip for boosting sales: Work your local area marketing campaigns
“Because we’re a franchise, we enjoy the benefits of large scale marketing by our franchisor. But the shortfall is that it’s for brand-building and brand awareness. It doesn’t specifically drive people to our particular stores. So what we did is analyse who our typical customers are create a flyer that we give out detailing all the kinds of services we offer that may be relevant to them. For example, people in our area enjoy horse riding, so we advertise services applicable to that. And for fashionable ladies looking to co-ordinate their accessories, we do colour blocking on leather and vinyl items. You’ve got to look at your local market, determine what they need, and then offer appropriate solutions.”