How Engagement Made my Cold Stone Franchise Successful!
My name is Stephen Spiegel and I am a franchisee like you. My family and I operate multiple Cold Stone Creamery franchisees in South Florida with over 80 employees. Each of our family members is responsible for a unique functional area (operations, finance, marketing and PR) but we all work very hard to ensure that we bring our customers the “Ultimate Ice Cream Experience”.
When I first entered the industry in 2003, I had the idea that I would spend most of my time out in the community marketing my stores. I was dead wrong about that! I came to realize that marketing “within the four walls” is the cheapest and best marketing you can do.
'What (Cold Stone) Customers Want'
- Value - Offer a good product and good service at a fair price and your customers will keep on coming back
- Engagement - Treat each customer as if they were your friend and family
- Experience - Make sure every customer that walks out your door leaves happy
I came to realize that delivering those three things were only possible with a happy and well-trained crew. In a highly demanding, low-paid work environment, this was a challenging proposition. Turnover was high with both my management and crew, and I felt I was always putting out fires and never achieving my goal of a stable team delivering excellent products and services. The stores seemed unmanageable.
The Solution that Made us Successful
In order to better manage operations and to provide the ultimate customer experience we turned our focus to our employees. I did a lot of research and came upon the book "Carrots and Sticks Don't Work" by Paul L. Marciano P.H.d. In it he describes the art of maximizing operational efficiency through employee engagement and respect. So, I turned inward to my crew and tried to meet their needs:
- need for appreciation
- need to be given responsibility
- need for an opportunity to grow
I created a ‘raise and promotion’ system that would allow crew members to grow with the company and feel appreciated for their hard work, and created a 'recognition system' that would identify our best people, recognize them for a job well done and reinforce 'A Player' behavior.
After a little while, the fires started to disappear and the crew started to take more initiative. Gone were the days of hiring managers from outside my company, as leaders started to appear right under my nose!
In 2013 we developed an online recognition platform called CrewHu to help us more easily manage and implement our employee recognition programs. Using this tool helped us align our business goals with our employee goals and in 2013 and 2014 we have had amazing results:
- Turnover decreased by 40% and labor cost by $21,000
- Sales increased by $130,000
Ultimately, through our CrewHu employee engagement platform the 3 core needs of our cold stone customers (value, engagement, experience) were fulfilled by our employees because their needs were being met as well.
The golden rule of customer service: Treat your employees how you want your customers to be treated.
I learned that treating people as family was important not just for my customers but also for my crew. Today, I look forward to sharing this information and welcome you and your team with open arms into our CrewHu family.
Stephen & The Spiegel Family