Since first launching the fast-growing Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning franchise system in 2006, Oxi Fresh President Jonathan Barnett, MBA has aggressively sought innovative ways to give his franchise owners a competitive edge.
One of the most significant advantages of the Oxi Fresh franchise program is an ambitious in-house Scheduling Center that frees Oxi Fresh franchise owners from the burdens of answering initial phone inquiries, educating would-be customers, scheduling appointments, and having to maintain their customer databases all by themselves.
FranBest recently spoke to Oxi Fresh President Jonathan Barnett about the newly upgraded Oxi Fresh Scheduling Center.
FranBest: When and why did you first launch the Oxi Fresh Scheduling Center?
Jonathan: We’ve supported our franchise owners with a centralized scheduling center ever since we first launched our franchise program in 2006. The goal was to enable franchise owners to focus on creating satisfied customers and building repeat business instead of answering phones and maintaining schedules. Unburdening them from these tasks is to everyone’s advantage… customers included.
Currently we are in the process of finalizing a major software and system upgrade that both increases the efficiency of our Scheduling Center and provides Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning® owners access to their schedules 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
FranBest: Jonathan, is setting up a national scheduling center as major an undertaking as it seems? What kind of commitment in time and resources does it require?
Jonathan: Building and maintaining the Oxi Fresh Scheduling Center has required a major commitment of time and resources from the start, but we think it’s an essential investment. After all, our franchise owners have made a major investment in their Oxi Fresh businesses, and we’re committed to giving them the tools and support they need to be successful. The more they can focus on providing superior cleaning and excellent customer service (instead of administrative tasks), the more successful they’ll be.
FranBest: How does the Oxi Fresh Scheduling Center benefit franchise owners?
Jonathan: Well, the first benefit is that customer calls are promptly answered by representatives who not only have excellent phone skills, but who are knowledgeable about carpet cleaning, about Oxi Fresh and who have access to all the franchisee’s information at their fingertips. This saves Oxi Fresh franchisees the time and expense of maintaining an administrative staff to answer phones, field calls and schedule appointments.
FranBest: In addition to scheduling, what other functions do the Schedule Center representatives perform?
Jonathan: Our Schedule Center representatives perform a number of very important functions. They educate customers about the other services we have to offer, such as upholstery and tile and grout cleaning. Our representatives are trained to boost sales not in a pushy way, but by making sure customers know the other services available. That can result in higher revenue for the franchise owner on an ongoing basis.
Another important function our representatives fulfill is information gathering. Scheduling representatives input the specific lead source and/or the advertising code from each customer who calls in. The system automatically tracks the revenue each ad or promotion produces and compares it to the original cost. Franchisees can log in and see detailed results and the actual return on investment for each ad, mailer or promotion that they run.
FranBest: Wouldn’t it be easier just to outsource the scheduling center? What went into the decision to create it in-house?
Jonathan: There are several reasons we maintain the Scheduling Center in-house. The first is control. The Scheduling Center is often the first contact a prospective customer has with Oxi Fresh. First and subsequent impressions are a critical part of building Oxi Fresh into a powerful and meaningful brand. We really don’t think that can be outsourced. It’s just too important.
The second reason is refinement and improvement. We are learning every day by having the Scheduling Center in-house. It’s an integral part of what we do. There’s not a day that goes by that someone doesn’t come up with an idea or suggestion for how we could be doing a little better or more efficiently. We are constantly tinkering, continuously refining the system.
The third reason is that having an a dedicated Scheduling Center enables us to directly partner with our franchise owners, to be in touch throughout the process, and to provide real value to them every single day. In the end, we think that will be invaluable in maintaining a strong internal relationship no matter how big we grow.
FranBest: What additional capabilities are being developed through the new CRM software upgrade?
Jonathan: In the near future, the entire organization will interact much more effectively in the scheduling process. Technicians will be able to log in to the system directly and view their schedules 24/7. The new system will also notify techs and franchise owners via text message for any same day changes to the schedule. When techs log in, their jobs will already be “MapQuested” for them.
In the future, customers will be given on online scheduling option that will allow them to log in and schedule their next cleaning. The system will email scheduled reminders to customers every 6 months or as needed, helping our customers enjoy regularly cleaned carpet, upholstery and tile and helping our franchise owners enjoy the growth that comes with repeat business.
FranBest: Thanks for your time.
Jonathan: Thank you.
For more information on the Oxi Fresh franchise opportunity, visit the Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning website.