Your Three Customer Groups and How They Affect Your Business

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Franchising is by far one of the greatest industries to work in and we are fortunate to be able to serve so many diverse groups. Managing and balancing the needs of three important customer groups requires strong planning, management, and measurement to be successful. Let us dive into these three groups to get a better understanding and chart a course for customer satisfaction for each group.

The first customer group is our own Home Office, World Headquarters, Franchise Support Center Staff, or whatever you have named your team that is at the heart of your brand. Whether your team is 5, 50, 500 or more, this team is in the driver’s seat to obtain ongoing growth. It is a complex group, as everyone represents a necessary business function that services an important part of your concept’s success. Each business function represents your other two customer groups that are discussed below. In 2022, we now must add the layer of where this group resides – it could be at your Home Office building full-time or in hybrid mode or it could be fully remote. No matter the location of this group, we are going to apply the 3Ws method to help us create a plan of success for this and all three of our customer groups. By creating this plan, we can achieve success for each customer group, and by creating that success, we will secure the greatest opportunity for success for our brand.

The 3Ws simply stand for Who, When, and Why – yes, this is not a complex model. Understanding Who our employees are is especially important in creating a connection. Connection is important in building strong business relationships. Taking the time to set your teams up, so each employee has a connection to their leader, assures each employee feels cared for as an individual. Employees who have that connection show greater interest and engagement in helping grow your brand. Engagement is often the most measured analytic in employee satisfaction surveys. The next W is When. This applies to where an employee is in their career. It is an amazing fact that we sometimes have four generations working on any given brand at any given time. Taking the time to understand where each employee is in their career journey is important in your coaching mentality. An employee with 5 or less years of experience vs an employee with 20+ experience have two completely different mindsets when it comes to their goals. Stopping to understand and create an action plan against that important timeframe will create a personalized plan that your employees will appreciate. The last W is the Why. We have all heard why it is so important to understand the why of our brand’s product or service for its end users, but have you stopped to ask your brand’s corporate employees what their why is? Why did they choose this career and why do they come to work every day? When we take the time to understand their why, we can better align our company’s evolving culture to help serve their needs. A hard part of these conversations unfortunately can also happen – when an employee no longer aligns with our culture. Being truthful about this is important for both the growth of the employee and your brand. When we connect and measure the 3Ws to our employee customer group, we create a strong collaboration that creates loyal employees who will have our brand’s growth at the center of their professional hearts.

Now that we have explained the 3W plan, this can be easily applied to our other two customer groups. Our second customer group is our franchise owner. Another extremely important group, this group can also have several complexities, including different business structures of single, multi-unit or Master franchise owners (if your brand has expanded internationally). This group can also be owner-operators or have someone running their store/s for them. What I find is the absolute most important with this group, is understanding their why goal. We all know why they choose to join a franchise, but more important, what is their real-time goal? Combining their real-time goal, which is often financially driven, with their when goal will create the greatest opportunity for connection. The when part of this customer group includes asking yourself where they are in their franchise ownership journey. Will they be with your system for as long they can work, do they have a financial goal of resale, or do they have retirement goals we should keep in mind during planning? There are many other “when” factors that could come into play. Once again, understanding the 3Ws will allow us the greatest engagement with the franchise owners customer, which in turn will establish another talented team member’s connection to growing your brand. Engagement is also typically one of the strong metrics we can measure to make certain of long-term franchise owner satisfaction.

The last customer group is our brand’s actual consumers or customers. This group typically has been researched and created by your brand marketing team. Hopefully, you know so much about this group that you could invite them to your kitchen table to talk for hours. You know who they are, and you know when they are likely to need your products or services. You are why they want to purchase. I challenge you to take a step back and reassess what their why is after they purchase for the first time. Does your system create an exceptional customer experience that will make sure they will choose you again, over, and over anytime they have a need for your service? A great, straightforward way to understand this is by measuring your internal customer satisfaction utilizing Net Promoter Score (NPS) and by measuring your external customer satisfaction ratings with reviews. Each will give you an understanding of how the customer experience can be optimized to secure lifelong customers.

In the end, each one of these three customer groups are equally important to the growth and success of your brand. I encourage you to start by measuring each groups satisfaction. You will learn a lot of information that will help you plan, optimize, and manage each of these important customer groups engagement with your brand. However, do not set it and forget it. Make putting each of your customer groups at the center of your ongoing brand growth plans. Each group will thank you for the active service you provide in helping them achieve their goals. This is true servant leadership.