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[Podcast] 4 Steps to Growing Your Franchise by Optimizing Communication

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This article is taken from the Build Your Queue podcast below, Season 1 Episode 11 with Brian Elrod, CEO of Text Request. 

Your franchise wants to cut costs while increasing revenue, but you can’t do that without being able to effectively attract and communicate with customers, first.

To revamp your customer communications, so you can drive lead generation and increase profits, you need to consider:

  • What communication channels does your target customer prefer?
  • How can you make yourself more available to those customers, so they come to you?
  • What parts of your buyer’s journey require faster communication?
  • What tools can your franchise team use to improve customer experience?

We’ll help you answer these questions and learn how to make your brand connect with more customers, so they’re inspired to buy. Keep reading, or listen to the full audio in the player above.

1. What communication channels does your target customer prefer?

You have to adapt the way you communicate with customers to fit their preference and meet them where they’re already at—and the best way to do that is by knowing their age.

It's crucial to know exactly who your target customers are (and if you don't, our custom buyer persona guide will help), but the quickest way is to go by age.

You can identify your target customer’s age demographic by:

  • Looking at your current customer base
  • Researching the age demographic your competitors target
  • Revisiting who your product or service was made for

Once you’ve figured out your primary customers’ age demographic, you can start breaking down their preferred communication channels by generation.

Communication Preferences By Age

Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) still appreciate face-to-face meetings and phone calls for business communication, but they also regularly text. In fact, 64% of baby boomers wish businesses would text them.

Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) can easily switch between email, phone, and text to communicate with businesses. They were the first generation to assimilate with the internet and are very open to new kinds of technology.

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1997) are accustomed to written digital communication channels, like email and text, where they can carefully plan what they will say. This means the majority of them do not appreciate phone calls. They also typically prefer using their mobile device, over a desktop, to communicate with businesses.

Generation Z (born post 2000) are even more digitally inclined than their Millennial counterparts. They expect communication to be instant, like text, and will ignore slower communication channels, like voicemail and email.

The key takeaway is that text messaging is 3-8X more preferred than face-to-face communication across all generations, while phone calls and emails fall more out of favor the lower in age you go.

No matter which age demographic you’re targeting, a safe bet would be to stop prioritizing any communication channels that aren’t digital (like print and voicemail).

2. How can you make yourself more available to those customers, so they come to you?

You want customers to reach you, but you have to let them know exactly how they can, first (and preferably through a communication channel they also use).

Start by making sure your contact information on your Facebook and Google My Business page are accurate, especially if you have multiple locations.

When consumers discover new businesses:

  • 52% of of them use Facebook
  • 43% use Google Reviews

So the contact information on those profiles has to be correctly filled out with your franchise’s phone number, location, and website to maximize the amount of customers that reach out to you.

68% of consumers will stop using a business if they have incorrect information on their company profiles.

Related: [Podcast] 5 Essentials to Succeeding on Social Media

It also doesn’t hurt to SMS enable your business number and advertise that you text on your website, since texting is the number one preferred form of communication by people under 50.

You can do this by including an SMS Chat to your website, where customers can reach you as soon as they find your website.

The easier it is for customers to contact you with their questions, the better. 50% of sales go to the business that responds to them first.

3. What parts of your buyer’s journey require faster communication?

Customers have their own lives going on outside of the contact they make with your franchise. Maybe they’re searching for the type of product or service your franchise sells when you reach out to them, or maybe they're not.

In either case, you need to make their buyer’s journey as smooth as possible so they stick with you until they make a purchase (and after).

A buyer’s journey is how your franchise takes a stranger and turns them into a customer through stages, which typically include:

1. Awareness

2. Engagement

3. Subscription

4. Conversion

5. Excitement

6. Core Offering

7. Advocation

8. Promotion

PC: Crash Creative

Map out your buyer’s journey, then look for the places where your communication could be improved. Those spots will typically be in the stages where the most customers fall out of your sales funnel—and are usually because of communication barriers, such as the time it takes to contact warm leads or the unnecessary amount of steps it takes to confirm appointments.

From there you can set KPIs, or key performance indicators, to track benchmarks for the communication barriers you’re trying to improve, including:

  • The length of time it takes to contact a lead
  • The steps it take to schedule and confirm appointments
  • The amount of time it takes to review a contract

Related: [Podcast] 3 Essential Steps to Eliminating Workflow Bottlenecks

PC: Tech Target

4. What tools can your franchise team use to improve customer experience?

Leads want to be able to reach you whenever they have a question, and one tool that makes that easy, for any generation and at any stage of your buyer’s journey, is texting.

When you text enable your business number, you’re inviting people to communicate with you the way they prefer to communicate in their daily life.

Texting also allows you to connect with leads almost instantly and with a ridiculous response rate:

  • 99% of texts are read
  • The average text message response time is 90 seconds
  • Text message response rates are 40-50%

These kinds of numbers will have a major impact on your bottom line by saving you time whenever you’re scheduling appointments, filling empty openings, closing deals, or gathering reviews.

And saving time is always saving money.

But what if you’re a franchise with busy and slow seasons?

When you’re extremely busy three months out of the year, managing a phone can be chaotic.

85% of people hang up and don’t call back when they go to voicemail—but if they can text you instead, they’re much more likely to stick around. You’re also much more likely to talk to them at all.

You can essentially use texts to channel excess communication during your busy months, you just need the right platform to help you manage it.

Text Request has dormant plans, where you can turn your texting on and off at the start of busy seasons, as well as a host of features to make managing contacts easier, including:

  • Autoresponses
  • Groups
  • Templates
  • Keywords
  • And more!

Reach more leads on the communication channel they’re already at.

People’s communication preferences have fundamentally changed:

  • 89% would rather text a business than call or email
  • 91% would rather get a text from a business than a phone call

At the end of the day, your franchise needs instant communication to grab and keep customers’ attention and the platform to manage it to make the most impact. Text Request can help, just check below to see if your business number is eligible.