Some of us will remember being able to buy any number of different components to build a transistor radio or basic computers at the local RadioShack. Heck, even the first wearable technology, Lizzy, was constructed with a few odds and ends that came from the nationwide hardware retailer. Though things have not been so rosy lately for the ‘Shack. With the advent of online retail and big box stores decimating their market share over the last 15 years, the venerable retailer has had to make some big changes to stay afloat.
A History of Communications
Founded in 1921 by a pair of ham radio enthusiast brothers, RadioShack has been a model of American franchise business. Even in spite of deciding to close nearly 20% of their locations in 2014, RadioShack persists to be a desirable franchise business opportunity and still cracked into the top 150 companies in Entrepreneur’s 2015 Franchise 500 list of best franchise investments. Though there are many financial reasons that contributed to this favorable listing, one of the most valuable propositions of owning a RadioShack franchise has been far less tangible.
Brand Stability Equals Profitability
Even in the current state of affairs where RadioShack has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, there persists a very profitable endeavor to acquire the majority of their locations. If the company is in decline, sells dated technology, and is currently contracting, though, why then would there exist a bidding war for their last storefronts? The same things that investors want from them now is what entrepreneurs and IT professionals have known they would be able to get from them for almost a century- a consistent, authentic, enthusiast’s experience for communications technology. Creating a solid brand experience is one thing, curating and preserving it through global expansion how RadioShack has done for decades is entirely another. Maintaining that purity of a brand as it is entrusted to a multitude of franchisees is something that throttles many business owners as they look to expand their own companies. It doesn’t have to be that scary.
Keep Your Business Yours, Even When It’s Someone Else’s
No, that’s not a riddle or Zen kōan, it’s how business owners maintain consistent brand standards with their franchise partners everyday with VirtualPBX Franchise Phone Systems. With locations growing and cropping up all over the country, there exist two key challenges to keeping a brand’s core experience intact, Customer Connection and Brand Cohesion.
You’ve built a successful regional or national brand, how do you continue to connect customers over an increasingly large area with the right locations during rapid expansion? The best way to do that is with singular, corporate contact points in the form of your existing website and a national toll-free number. Just having a toll-free number can be a drain on your staffing requirements if it requires a call-center and operator functions, though. VirtualPBX toll-free numbers can be programmed to automatically direct your callers to the most appropriately located by identifying the caller’s area code and routing it to the nearest franchisee.
Employing a national toll-free number is also the best way to maintain control over the most important aspect of a franchise network: consistency. Just like how generations of tinkerers have known that no matter where in the world they were, RadioShack would be able to provide the same valuable insight into their communications needs, your customers expect to see your brand’s high standards maintained through your franchise network, too. With a toll-free number, you get to control the message and all-too-valuable first impressions of your customers every time, even if you yourself will never have the pleasure of meeting them. Plus, because VirtualPBX toll-free numbers are all cloud-based, you can manage, change, edit, and monitor the content and function of the toll-free number from anywhere in the world that you have an internet connection.
The Unfair Advantage
RadioShack didn’t have access to these types of unified communications when it was founded. They, like you, have relied on the tried and true method of identifying a need and providing a reliable and valuable solution to fill that gap in their communities. Today, you can utilize the latest iterations of technologies that were designed with RadioShack components to ensure that your brand’s growth can be at least as potent, consistent, and effective as even the largest franchises in the world.
To learn more about how VitualPBX’s unified communications strategies can best be employed for your business, you can read more about it on our blog or get in touch with one of the VirtualPBX Franchise Experts today.