Franchise Update Magazine Issue II, 2017 - Page 48

CHOOSING TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS Ali Rauch process, but it’s worth it.” The results of that winnowing pro- cess have been very satisfying. “When we selected to manage all of our listings and reviews, one decid- ing factor was the mobile app they have that allows every one of us to receive and respond to reviews and social comments from one consolidated place—and where our owners and managers need to access it—on their phones,” says Rauch. “It has made life easier and fulfilled our need.” she recalls. That level of specificity and interaction between vendor and client at each phase sometimes meant the vendor would catch something she didn’t think about. “That helped us end up with a final scope of work that is pretty complete.” She also viewed the new platform as a work in progress. A year-one evaluation showed some areas for improvement. “Year two, we went back to the system and really tricked it out and took the design and questions to a completely different level,” she says. “I’ve built out enough technology systems to know your first pass is not your last. It’s your tester platform. I’m a believer that you have to walk before you run and make mistakes and go through a little pain to understand ultimately where the sweet spot is. One key piece of advice, she says, is to keep technology upgrades simple in the first phase, to learn what needs to be improved in the ensuing phases. Two-vendor solution Tropical Smoothie Cafe recognized that updated technology was essential to keep up with the brand’s evolution from smoothies-only to smoothies and a full line of food. It wasn’t a straightforward transition, combining a high-frequency Phase it in product with fast casual–paced products In her early days with the brand, Nancy such as wraps, flatbreads, and sandwiches. Bigley, CEO of Bottle & Bottega, knew One thing that was certain, however: what she wanted—and it was a tool cru- customers wanted to customize their cial to the success of her small start-up orders and do that with a mobile app. brand. “I had a very specific vision for Tropical Smoothie used two vendors the experience I wanted our candidates to solve this problem. One tool hones in to have as they evaluated our business. on customer performance, tracks purchase It was the same journey behavior, check average, I went on when evaluat- and frequency; it also ing whether to buy into highlights opportuni- the company or not. We ties around increasing are a painting and wine user visits and spending party business, so I had through targeted cam- to make our studios and paigns along with a dis- the guest experience tinct loyalty program, says Kira McCabe, the come to life for them since we were brand brand’s associate direc- new and only had one tor of digital media. location at the time.” In “The other software those beginning days, delivers directly to our she says, “Every dollar cafes and assists in line we spent had to count.” management, order ac- Nancy Bigley Bigley phased in the curacy, and labor over- new technology, with the scope of work head,” she says. “With both of these tools at each phase representing movement we are able to view into guest behavior, toward the long-term goals of her vi- check size, and purchasing preferences sion. That meant many phone calls to in the cafes. Before our new technology, answer questions about functionality, that wasn’t possible.” 46 Franchiseupdate ISS U E II, 2 0 1 7 An eye to the future Sport Clips President Mark Kartarik had ambitions for the brand that could only be achieved through new technol- ogy. “We wanted to allow our clients to be able to check in online, see wait times on a fully integrated digital dis- play wallboard, select specific stylists, and most importantly, manage their time by choosing where they want to wait for their service,” says Kartarik. He also monitors the technology available for hairstyling businesses and selected a vendor that not only had the best ex- isting solutions, but also was willing to innovate to suit the needs of the brand and its customers. His technology goals, just halfway through implementation, are like Holt’s: first of its kind to offer all capabilities at all locations. “The early feedback,” he says, “has been overwhelm- ingly positive.” Get the help you need For Jonathan Barnett, founder and presi- dent of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning, the results of its technology update have been spectacular. In its early years, Oxi Fresh’s job data was entered into spread- sheets manually. As the company grew, Barnett realized he needed a tool that Jonathan Barnett would scale, automate, and streamline the process. Like Brennan at Always Best Care, Barnett had the advantage of finding help at industry conventions. He also networked the question. He found the right company to begin the process, but has since hired a programmer. The transition from spreadsheet to CRM platform was so dramatic that Barnett said evaluation wasn’t needed. But some numbers help. “Since implementing the software,