I recently had a moving experience, literally, when we pulled up stumps in Brisbane and moved to Melbourne. It was also
If you have simultaneously sold and bought a house in different States you will know it is a complex project requiring assistance from many people. In our case around 25 separate suppliers of personal and professional services were involved, a mixture of franchised and independent operators. Some of these people and businesses were outstanding, most were mediocre and a few were, let’s say, hopeless.
In hindsight, there are two reasons why only some of these people delivered an outstanding service which I would unreservedly recommend. The first is they used a good process. The second is they delivered it with a high level of zeal and care.
Several of the franchised systems we used obviously had a process, but the person delivered it in a sloppy or half hearted
manner. For instance one started off well but failed to follow through on his promises. Another had a mindless approach that left us feeling more like a number than a customer.
On the other hand several of the independent business operators we used were highly enthusiastic and full of good intentions,
but were all over the place because they weren’t following a process. This resulted in frustrating inefficiencies for them and us.
Being rigid for a reason
All the excellent performers combined a proven process with enthusiasm, care and attention to detail.
Take Reuben, the young real estate agent who sold our Brisbane house. When he made his initial pitch for the business I was
in the USA on business. His initial sales presentation was thus delivered to my wife face to face in our home while I participated virtually on Skype from the Denver airport.
I tried a number of times to speed him up or get him to jump ahead, but he stuck to his process, explaining patiently and with good humour why it was in our interests that he take us through each step.
Reuben consistently combined this commitment to using the process developed by his franchise system, with enthusiasm
and dedication to keeping us satisfied. For instance he explained the benefits to us of him taking the time to go through things carefully. In fact he made the whole process about us. We were both quite taken with his professionalism and care, which was thankfully sustained throughout the three months it took to sell our home. All this time he never cut corners, never failed to show up for an agreed appointment and always treated us and our home with care and respect.
We had a similar experience with Sue, our mortgage broker. At times she was almost rigid in how she took us through her process. However she always explained why she insisted on certain things and regularly took the initiative to ensure we felt supported. When we hit a snag with the bank she went out of her way to support us and on occasions called me on the weekend to check on things. Again it was good process with a human touch.
As a result, both these people turned us into advocates for their respective franchise brands. An advocate is someone who
basically markets your business for you by singing your praises.
The process and the passion
Not all the great performers were part of a franchise. Take Karin, an independent buyers advocate we used to find our Melbourne home. We used her because she was highly recommended by a happy client I knew, and I wasn’t disappointed. Think about this. Karin’s marketing expense to get our business was a bit fat zero. Like any advocate, her past client was providing free marketing services for her!
Karin also followed a process she had obviously developed through trial and error. For instance, after each house we inspected she would give me a detailed report on the house and the area. Whenever I asked to see this report prior to visiting a house, she insisted on sticking to her process, explaining that she has found it best that I first gather my own impressions of the house before being influenced by hers.
Similar to the other excellent performers we used, Karin clearly enjoyed her work and was always cheerful and available
when we needed her. While she may have worked a bit harder than the mediocre service providers we used, she will be
repaid handsomely because she also turned us into advocates. So I guess I will also be providing Karin with free marketing services in the future. Her commitment to us means we are committed to her.
Whether you are part of a franchise system or not, a good process implemented with passion and care is what creates a truly
moving customer experience. And in any business, franchised or not, this is what ultimately drives referrals, growth and
What does make me smile from time to time is that franchisees pay good money to have access to some excellent business processes. Then, because of laziness, pride or boredom, they fail to follow the processes they paid for and end up complaining they are not getting enough customers or making enough money.
But just following good processes alone won’t guarantee your success. Passion for your work, for the customer and for your
brand is what brings a process to life. More importantly it’s what turns a reasonably satisfied customer into that most priceless of all business assets – an advocate.
Greg Nathan is Founder of the Franchise Relationships Institute (FRI), leading global providers of learning programs to help franchisors and franchisees achieve franchising excellence. He is also author of several popular franchising books including Profitable Partnerships.
For more information about FRI’s work and how you can tap into their services go to www.franchiserelationships.com