“Customers aren’t just dollar signs”: The Westpac Franchisee of the Year talks customer engagement

  • News
  • November 15, 2016
  • Sarah Dunn
“Customers aren’t just dollar signs”: The Westpac Franchisee of the Year talks customer engagement

Ash has been involved with the shoe repair, key cutting and engraving chain Mister Minit since 2000, and acquired his franchise in 2012. He runs the St Lukes kiosk with wife Amanda Han and a tight-knit team of four staff.

Mister Minit St Lukes’ success is down to excellent customer service, Ash says, which in turn is determined through high-quality team-building.

“I’m big into laying a foundation for our staff where they have an environment which is fun and professional at the same time,” he says.

Staff are encouraged to interact and enjoy conversations with one another, but as soon as a customer arrives, the customer must be their number one priority. Ash says he’s raised the customer’s average dwell time from around 30 seconds to over two minutes by asking his staff to engage with them socially. They might spot an Auckland Blues shirt on the shopper and comment on it, or ask about the customer’s country of origin.

It’s important to forge a connection with the customer, Ash says: “They’re not just a dollar sign, they’re another human being.”

St Lukes is a high-volume area, says Ash, who is proud that his Mister Minit franchise is the busiest in New Zealand. In fact, it this year won Mister Minit’s internal awards, beating 278 other Mister Minit franchises to become franchisee of the year across New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia.

Winning the Westpac Franchisee of the Year Award had the Mister Minit St Lukes team “walking around a foot taller” on Monday morning, Ash says, but the earthquakes further south brought them crashing back to earth as some team members had family caught up in the disaster. Ash empathises with their concern.

“We’re a small family business where everybody feels part of our St Lukes family.”

Michael Ash and Amanda Han

Here’s the full list of winners from the awards:

TitleSubheadingWinnerSponsored byFranchisees' names
Franchise System of the Year      Community involvement Fastway Couriers (New Zealand)Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre    
Field Manager of the Year     Home & Lifestyle Services - under 500kSofia West - Green Acres Franchise Group Ltd    Franchise New Zealand Media
Field Manager of the Year     Home & Lifestyle Services - over 500kBrad Hay - General Manager Sales & Marketing - Signature Homes LtdFranchise New Zealand Media
Field Manager of the Year  Retail, Food & Beverage - over 500kGreg Hoar - National Operations Manager -  Super Liquor Holdings LimitedABC Business Sales
Field Manager of the Year Business Services - over 500k    Sangeetha Shaikh - Paramount Franchise Services LtdCrowe Horwath    
Best Emerging     Franchise System of the YearZones Landscaping Smyobpecialists    MYOB
Master Franchisee of the Year        Oporto Franchising New Zealand Ltd    McDonald's New
Erica and Lawrence Pereira
Export Achievement     System of the YearDream Doors NZ LtdStewart Germann Law Office 
Media Campaign of the Year        The Coffee Club Franchising (NZ) LimitedABC Business Sales
Service Provider of the Year        MYOBJani King
Business Services     Franchisee of the YearFastway Couriers (Wairarapa)Crowe HorwathRussell and Therese Boniface
Business Services Franchise System of the Year    Paramount Franchise Services Ltd Crowe Horwath
Retail, Food & BeverageFranchisee of the YearSKEW NZ Ltd - Mister Minit - St LukesFranchise Accountants & Franchise Infinity    Michael Ash
Retail, Food & BeverageFranchise System of the Year    Mister minit New Zealand LimitedFranchise Accountants & Franchise Infinity
Home Services     Franchisee of the YearVogue Homes Ltd - T/A Signature Homes Bay of Plenty Franchise New Zealand MediaCraig and Debbie Williams
Home Services  Franchise System of the Year Signature Homes LtdFranchise Accountants & Franchise Infinity
Lifestyle Services     Franchisee of the YearJust Cabins - NorthlandWaipuna Hotel and Conference CentreBen and Jan Wood
Lifestyle Services Franchise System of the Year Just CabinsWaipuna Hotel and Conference Centre
Supreme Award    Westpac Franchisee of the Year    SKEW NZ Ltd - Mister Minit - St LukesWestpacMichael Ash
Supreme Award  Westpac Franchise System of the Year Signature Homes LtdWestpacGavin and Anneta Hunt

​ ​

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