It can be pretty intimidating to start a business from the ground up, and that’s where the franchise model comes in. When you open a franchise, you’re still running your own business––however, the branding and system of operations are already designed, and proven to be successful. Opening a franchise offers the rewards of business ownership, without the risk or uphill climb of building it from the ground up. The franchise itself grows stronger with each successful branch that opens up, adding to a network of business owners who can lean on each other’s experience to thrive.
When you consider the features we offer: handling calls and texts from the cloud, tracking advertising campaigns and reporting on data, managing your historical interactions with contacts––it becomes clear why we have so many deep relationships with franchise businesses. We’re driven by the success of our clients, so we spoke with Jason Smith, one of our most seasoned account executives, to learn how he advises his franchise contacts.
Which of our feature sets would you consider to be the most valuable for franchise businesses, and why?
That’s a great question, but honestly, it’s hard to pick just one. We have so many features that are relevant to the franchise business model.
To start, let’s focus in on our marketing attribution feature set. Just about any business could benefit from marketing attribution; basically, knowing which of your marketing campaigns is resulting in a return on your investment.
What is Attribution?
Attribution refers to process of associating details of individual marketing campaigns to leads and conversions. It provides insight into the specifics of what efforts (e.g. keywords, campaigns, sources) are generating sales and driving interactions.
For any size franchise, being able to identify exactly which of your advertising channels are generating phone calls is invaluable. We manage this by tracking the entire journey of your customers, all the way up to the moment when they made that crucial first contact––whether they first saw your number on a billboard, or clicked through an ad on Facebook. All of our plans offer attribution tools and reporting, so there’s a really low entry point for trying out these features. Even better for the franchise model, our attribution software goes hand-in-hand with digital tools like GeoContact, which can swap out the phone number on your website based where your visitor is located. Imagine a user from Indianapolis browsing to your main site, and automatically seeing the contact number for your local Indianapolis branch!
Many franchises tend to advertise via printed materials, such as lawn signs and mailers. This can work really well for some models, but it’s so important to get started with online advertising if you haven’t already. Platforms like Google, Bing, and Facebook have huge numbers of users that log on every day, and they have the ability to serve up highly targeted, localized advertising to those users. We’ve built super powerful integrations with these platforms, so if you’re running a larger franchise with more established, complex advertising campaigns, you can use our tools to analyze and report on those campaigns.
Larger franchise networks should also be utilizing call management software. I don’t mean hardware––we don’t believe in clunky desk phones here! Migrating your call management to a cloud-based platform means you can change, upgrade, or even overhaul your whole network in minutes, without breaking out a screwdriver. Powerful software can save you a ton of time by automating the actions you take every day, and for a franchise, it can make it incredibly simple to add a new location to your phone system. We’ve also seen some franchises with large, dispersed call centers use our platform to easily load balance calls between locations, no matter where they are in the world. One of my clients seamlessly transfers calls from their Chicago queue to their team in the Philippines when the lines reach capacity!
For our franchise partners, my number one call management feature would be our Geo Router. The Geo Router allows us to define a very granular set of conditions which can determine where, when, and how your calls are routed. If you’ve got a toll free number, and you’re distributing calls across 50 different franchise locations, you can imagine things might get messy. We call this tool “Geo Routing” because it allows you to automatically distribute calls to the appropriate franchise location based on the caller’s number or zip code. You can even define how the calls are handled if there’s an overlap (multiple stores located in the same zip code), or if there aren’t any locations covering the zip code of the caller (route them to the nearest branch, or corporate headquarters).
What’s the most creative way in which you’ve seen a franchise utilizing our tools?
I’d have to give that award to Luke and Brian Bazely with DriverSeat. They run a unique chauffeur service; basically, if you need a safe ride home from the bar, or your elderly parent needs a ride to the grocery store, they’ll send someone to do the driving in your vehicle. They’ll even take your car to the shop while you’re at work!
We started working with Luke and Brian a few years ago. Since then, they’ve implemented our software across all of their franchises in 200 communities. Now, DriverSeat uses our platform to handle all of their communications, to track their advertising campaigns, and even manage their appointment booking. With all of their communication data in one place, including every touchpoint they have with customers and new recruits, it’s now incredibly quick and easy to manage their relationships across a large network. It’s a really great example of how information, when collected and analyzed within the same platform, can unify the communications of an entire organization. All of their data can be easily referenced when needed, saving time, and saving resources.
DriverSeat works with field agents, like many other franchises. How do you advise clients with that business model?
The first thing I’d suggest for our franchise partners that have remote teams is to start working with our mobile app. It’s got all the power of our desktop platform, but it’s packaged perfectly for your agents working in the field with iOS and Android devices. With our mobile app, your agents can place monitored calls and send text messages from the field. This can eliminate a lot of accountability issues; for example, one of your contractors could text a photo of their completed home repair to a customer who had to leave for work. All the communication is logged and securely stored in our platform, so you can draw upon that if a historical reference is ever needed.