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With the use of tablets continuing to rise, more SMB owners are looking at how they can use them to effectively conduct business.

The team behind dog grooming service Blue Wheelers has taken on the challenge to innovate, creating a tablet app to help franchisees work on the road.

“Most franchises are developed from the franchisor’s perspective, and the developer develops the program to meet the franchisor’s needs. This product was developed in the exact opposite way; we looked at what would make a franchisee’s business more efficient, what they needed and what would help them run better businesses,” says Martin Rose, owner of Blue Wheelers.

Martin bought the business, formerly operating as HydroDog, with his wife Janie seven years ago. Now boasting over 200 franchisees around the country, Blue Wheelers has seen growth of more than 80 percent since the couple took over.

The decision to create the application came through recognising the changing needs of the business as it continues to expand, with technology and communication standing out as key aspects ready for innovation.

“Our franchisees spend all day on the road, so it’s important for them to be equipped with the right technology to operate their businesses as effectively as possible,” says Janie.

The CRM (customer response management) app, set to be rolled out across the company throughout the year, was trialled with 60 franchisees.

The couple acknowledge that not everyone will be completely comfortable with the app, but will continue to make adjustments to improve it.

“We expect that it might be a slow manoeuvre into people embracing it, but we believe that they definitely will in time, and it’s just a matter of managing the process,” says Janie.

One of the main features of the app allows franchisees to show customers before and after shots of what their dog will look like after a treatment according to breed, ensuring customer satisfaction.

As well as booking and confirming appointments, the app will also act as a marketing tool by allowing franchisees to send out emails tailored to suit different customers, for example special offers based on their dog’s birthday.

“It’s all about customer relations management. It gives them the ability to communicate with their customers in a valuable, constructive, and personable way,” says Martin.

Blue Wheelers recently participated in Telstra’s Overland Office adventure, travelling 4000km across Australia and putting their mobile technology to the test as they continued the day-to-day running of their business on the road, and meeting other SMBs along the way.

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Gina Baldassarre

Gina Baldassarre

Gina is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She enjoys learning to ice skate and collecting sappy inspirational quotes.

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