A commitment to first class customer service has proved a winner for specialist mobility retailer Ableworld
Like most businesses, Ableworld, the country’s largest specialist mobility retailer, owes much of its success to the people who built and run the company, but equally to the franchisees and staff who serve the most important people of all - the customers.
Ableworld’s core customers tend to be so called ‘baby boomers’, the generation born in the years after World War Two, who, like many people reaching their senior years, often need help with their mobility or managing in the home. Ableworld’s large range of specially designed products means customers’ needs can be met by a visit to their local store.
Gap in the market
It was founder Mike Williams’ experience of trying to find something to make his elderly dad’s life easier that led to him noticing a gap in the market for a modern one-stop mobility store.
“I couldn’t find much at all and when I could it was poorly presented and overpriced,” Mike says, who is still the group’s managing director. Having been in the retail trade all his working life, Mike saw the need for change to meet the demand of an ageing population.
He opened Ableworld’s first company owned store in 2001. In 2008 Ableworld awarded its first franchise to Andy Rees in Birkenhead. Andy saw the enormous potential that exists in the mobility sector. He diligently researched the market and eventually decided he wanted to team up with Ableworld.
In 2010 Ableworld successfully applied for membership of the British Franchise Association and started its search for other franchisees to join Andy. Along the way Ableworld has been keen to partner with professional people affiliated to the bfa, including its legal advisers, marketing firms and other specialist franchise professionals.
All franchisees are taken through Ableworld’s comprehensive six-week training programme, ensuring the customer service delivered is of the highest quality.
What do the people who take on an Ableworld franchise think? Donna Wilson from Ableworld Lincoln says: “Head office has been brilliant. You can pick up the phone and get help with any aspect of the franchise. Nothing is too much trouble and you can pick the brains of professionals with many years’ experience.”
David Gaffney from Ableworld Broxburn adds: “When we opened the business, we never for a minute realised how rewarding and humbling it would be to deal with some of the wonderful customers who come through our door in need of guidance and advice on products to support their daily living. We would definitely recommend the franchise.”
Pioneered the concept
The mobility sector is one of the fastest growing areas in retail. Ableworld has successfully pioneered the concept of the one-stop mobility superstore. Franchisees get a generous exclusive territory and the franchise provides good earnings potential.
A six-week training programme, along with in-store management support from the franchisor, ensures franchisees are equipped to run their store within a realistic time frame.
The rewards you can expect from investing in an Ableworld franchise are similar to those you would expect from any franchise, ie ‘an income’, ‘capital appreciation’, ‘being my own boss’ and ‘running a business’.
There’s also one extra very important benefit for Ableworld franchisees - the job satisfaction they get from helping their many customers live more comfortable and active lives.