O2’s strong franchise performance has been recognised by the British Franchise Association (bfa), who applauded the network’s local repairs and community services.
The national franchise body awarded O2 the Customer Focus gong at the 2016 bfa HSBC Franchisor Of The Year Awards. Speaking to Mobile the bfa attributed this accolade to O2’s ‘local business owner’ approach, which the association said encouraged a greater community focus.
The network was commended for its repair services, available to non-O2 customers, as well as the launch of O2 Gazebos. This was set up outside stores to help engage with foreign language speakers in portuguese, hindi and polish.
A bfa spokesperson said: ‘O2 have taken corporate practices and allied it to the ‘local business owner’ model of franchising. Through KPIs, benchmarking and customer surveys they have had strong outcomes. The result is a more personal customer experience and community-focused initiatives, from festivals to fireworks to sports clubs.
‘Perhaps the best example is an employee of an O2 franchisee, who after losing his sight ran a campaign to help visually impaired people use social media and get the most out of their devices; it’s typical of how franchisees are very community-focused and, in the words of the head office, represent O2 in ways a large corporate structure can’t replicate.’
The business case of franchise
The network has taken a number of steps to integrate its brand with local communities. O2 franchise Communications Plus recently told Mobile that over 50 network stores are now franchisees, MD Steve Roberts attributed this to an increasing acceptance of the franchise business model.
For Martin Jordan, O2’s head of franchise and store operations, franchisees are perfectly placed to act as a hub for local businesses, an area of the market O2 is looking to build on.
‘Business is a hugely growing market now’, he said, ‘and those customers sometimes get forgotten but franchisees have the ability to have conversations with business. They can do networking events and present O2 to them as a brand and talk about reasons to come to O2 to do business on a local level.’