South Africa
Conquer the franchising space without compromising on quality
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Conquer the franchising space without compromising on quality

Attracting and maintaining customers are key to business growth. But how do you increase your footprint without compromising on quality products, services and customer interaction? TWT share their insights.

Diana Albertyn, 15 May 2017

Your dream of hitting the 100-store mark may well be within reach. Tiger Wheel & Tyre (TWT) opened their 100th outlet a few years back, and you could do the same by following in their footsteps.

Franchise success in the automotive sector comes down to picking the right locations, offering a wide variety of quality products including the big brands, using the latest technology and delivering unmatched customer service. TWT made a few wrong turns when they were getting started, but the franchisor learned that persistence and learning from their mistakes led to success—even in the toughest of economic situations.

Take note

“Customer service is important to an organisation because it is often the only contact a customer has with a company,” says author Rick Suttle. You could be losing up to 70% of your first-time customers because of rude or poorly trained staff, poor product quality, limited options or even simply being in the wrong location.

Here are three factors that helped TWT grow from strength to strength to become one of SA’s leading automotive brands:

1. They look for convenient locations

“Attracting the right target market to your door depends on where you’ve decided to start your new store,” says demographic data firm AfricaEye, “The location of your franchise outlet is critical to the success or failure of your business. For this reason alone, you should carefully research all your site options, taking a wide range of factors into consideration.”

“Not every franchise concept will do well everywhere, and not every franchise site is an automatic winner,” advises AfricaEye.

TWT’s latest Klerksdorp branch changed location in 2014 and again in early 2017. Why the moves? TWT say that it was to ensure continued convenience and comfort of loyal customers: “Customers will find the new location to be a welcome improvement over our previous address. Some things that won’t change, however, are the friendly manner in which you’ll be treated and the high level of professionalism you can expect from our staff.”

They gave a similar reason for the latest move in February 2017: “Loyal Klerksdorp customers, who had to make do while waiting for Tiger Wheel & Tyre to return, will find the new location offers the same full complement of services and world-leading wheel, tyre and automotive battery brands as other Tiger Wheel & Tyre stores in the network.”

2. They offer class-leading solutions

The first time a new customer walks into your store, you will want to make sure they are happy enough to come back. But that will only happen if they feel their needs were met and that they were treated well. So, how do you ensure this happens?

There’s no better way to build loyalty than offering quality products and services and responding to your customers when they need you most. TWT kept this in mind when opening their newest store.

“Customers will love the shiny, new, high-tech showroom, stocked with the world's leading brands and manned by staff who are eager to discuss the features and benefits of these top-quality products,” boasts the company, “On display and for sale is a wide range of tyres from leading brands plus the offer of free automotive battery testing to customers, and a comfortable and inviting hospitality area.”

Consumers come for the product or service you offer, but they will return for the experience. Make sure you’re giving them a memorable one.

3. They provide unparalleled service excellence

Research says that over 70% of customers who take their business to a competitor do so because of the service they receive—or the service they don’t.

“Hire the right people and train them well. No matter how fancy your software, if you don’t have the right people manning your customer care lines, for example, you’re in for big trouble,” says business analyst and strategist Rohan Ayyar. Here are some of the traits he looks for in an ideal employee:

  • A helpful disposition
  • Strong listening skills
  • High-level cognitive skills to understand and address customers’ problems
  • Quick decision-maker
  • Knowing how to calm irate customers
  • Exuding genuine personal warmth and empathy to put customers at ease

As a franchisor, growth is important to the success of your network. But before approving a new expansion, remember to ensure the location is both appropriate and profitable and that you’re offering only the best in your field when it comes to products and service. If you get these ingredients right, your customers will remember the experience, tell their friends and return again and again.

Consider this

  • The location of your latest addition is vital to attracting the right target market: not every concept will work in every place.
  • Quality and variety of products, together with advanced technology, will add convenience to the customer experience.

People like to share memorable experiences with their friends. Make sure that they have a positive story to tell about your franchise.