Outsourcing Inbound Franchisee Customer Calls

Believe it or believe it not, if franchisees are relied upon to answer all their inbound calls, your network is losing potential revenue every day. Outsourcing franchisee customer calls ensures effective communication with potential customers and optimisation of sales opportunities across the entire franchise network. One common pitfall that franchisors often overlook is the lost opportunity when consumers attempt to contact their local franchisee only to be met with voicemail.

Outsourcing inbound calls goes a long way to solve this common problem. The modern consumer expects instant gratification. A missed call all to often leads potential customers to the next available service option found through a quick Google search. To address this issue, many successful franchisors turn to outsourcing  inbound calls to professional contact centers. However, the key to a fruitful partnership lies in a close and collaborative relationship between the franchisor and contact center management.

Outsourcing Franchisee Customer Calls should be considered for the entire network including top performing franchisees

Understanding the Dynamics

Outsourcing franchisee customer calls involves careful consideration, planning and execution. At the onset of the relationship, franchisors should ensure that the contact center aligns with their brand values and customer service standards. Franchisors must fully understand that a contact center will never replace the expertise of their local franchisee’s. But they must also be aware that thousands of missed calls each year can mean the loss of huge amounts of revenue. Here are some indicative numbers to consider – a network of 100 franchisees, each franchisee misses an average of three calls per week, two of those three calls are either uncontactable or not interested any more, lead to appointment rate is 70%, appointment to sale rate is 70%, average customer value is £1500 –

100 x 3 x 52 = 15600 missed calls per year

15600 x 66% = 10296 uncontactable or no longer interested leads

10296 x 70% = 7207 lost appointments/consultations

7207 x 70% = 5045 lost sales

5045 x £1500 = £8,107,500 lost revenue – yes, over £8 million lost revenue!

The numbers are compelling but there are essential factors to be mindful of to ensure success. Working closely with contact center management pre and post service launch is essential. Quarterly account reviews are recommended to ensure outsourcing inbound calls is a success. Below are key elements to consoider when outsourcing to a contact center:

1 Agents Are Not Salespeople

While sales are undoubtedly important, the primary focus of contact center agents should be on assisting and directing callers rather than pushing sales. Outsourcing franchisee customer calls and by adopting a service-oriented approach, agents can build a foundation of trust with callers, creating an environment where customers feel heard and understood. This approach aligns with the franchise’s commitment to customer satisfaction and helps in establishing a long-term relationship with clients.

2 Keep the Scripts Scripts

Scripts play a vital role in maintaining brand consistency and ensuring that key information is conveyed efficiently. Keeping scripts short and focused prevents information overload and allows agents to deliver a clear and concise message. Franchisors should collaborate with contact center management to develop scripts that capture the essence of the brand and provide valuable information without overwhelming the caller.

3 Friendly and Empathetic Agents

The ability of contact center agents to connect with callers on a personal level cannot be overstated. Franchisors should emphasize the importance of friendliness and empathy during agent training. These qualities contribute to a positive customer experience, making callers feel valued and heard. Establishing a warm and welcoming tone sets the stage for a positive interaction with the brand.

4 Instil Confidence

Confidence in the brand is crucial for potential customers. Agents should be equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the franchise’s products or services, enabling them to reassure callers that they have indeed reached the right brand for their requirements. This confidence-building establishes credibility and sets the stage for a positive engagement with the franchise.

5 Efficient Data Collection

Accurate data collection is the backbone of effective customer relationship management. Contact center agents must be trained to efficiently collect caller details such as name, email address, and phone number. The accuracy of this information ensures franchisees are able to make contact with their prospective customer – one error in an email address or a digit missing in a phone number can cause the end of a potential sale. Contact center management must be fully aware of the true value of each call.

6 Message Taking

Efficient message-taking is crucial for facilitating communication between the caller and the franchisee. Agents should be skilled at capturing information from callers about the purpose of their call. This information acts as a bridge, ensuring that the franchisee is well-informed and prepared to address the caller’s specific needs when following up.

7 CRM Access

Providing contact center agents with access to the franchisor’s network CRM is important. This enables agents to schedule appointments, access customer histories, and provide personalized service. The seamless integration of CRM into the contact center’s operations ensures that every interaction is informed and tailored to the individual customer’s needs. Franchisees can immediately see when appointments have been scheduled.

8 Agents Taking Control of Calls

Contact center agents must be confident to take control of calls from the beginning, leading the caller through a friendly and concise call experience, the purpose of which is to make the caller feel comfortable, capture their message, accurately take their personal details. This approach contributes to a consistent and professional customer experience, which can sometimes be lost when outsourcing inbound calls. It involves guiding the conversation, actively listening to the caller’s needs, and efficiently navigating through the script. Taking control ensures that each interaction aligns with the brand’s standards and leaves a positive impression on the caller and maximises the opportunity for a successful outcome.

9 Ask the Callers Limited Questions

Efficiency is key when handling inbound calls. Restricting agents to asking a maximum of three questions about the reason for the call serves multiple purposes. It streamlines the conversation. It prevents potential frustration on the caller’s end, and ensures that the most critical information is gathered swiftly. This approach respects the caller’s time and contributes to a smooth and satisfactory interaction. It also ensures the caller does not ask additional questions which the agent may not have a satisfactory answer for.

10 Test and Modify With a Pilot

Finally, begin with a pilot. Identify a small number of franchisees who are willing to participate in building the success model. Ensure that the pilot franchisees are fully informed of the reasoning behind taking this route. Outsourcing inbound calls is a big change. One of the greatest advantages of beginning with a pilot is that it fine tunes the service. You can then launchto the wider network. And importantly, call data can be collected and presented to the network to demonstrate what success looks like.

Outsourcing franchisee customer calls to a contact center can be a game-changer for franchisors looking to enhance customer communication. Genuine enquiries for franchisees will increasw and so will network revenues. However, the success of this strategy relies on a collaborative approach. Ensure careful consideration of the factors outlined above. By creating a relationship built on clear communication, franchisors can ensure that every caller’s journey is positive and impactful. Ultimately, the right contact center partnership can turn, what would be, missed opportunities into customers.

Tim Morris has more than 30 years experience managing and supporting franchise operations around the world. He has a success record of driving sales and profits, managing multi-site units, as well as positively influencing individual franchise owners in franchise B2B and B2C environments.Tim has seen particular success supporting groups of high performing franchisees in peer group settings. He has managed teams developing and implementing sales and marketing strategies. With senior leadership experience, he has achieved 80% growth in net profit through motivation and development of teams. From assisting with the expansion of an international franchise brand to heading up the support functions of both national and international franchise systems, he has been instrumental in the growth of hundreds of franchisees. His proven success record comes with a passion for ‘360 business development’ and his unique perspective empowers franchisors and franchisees alike to get the very best from their partnership.