Dispatch and Bloomin’ Blinds
How Bloomin’ Blinds partners with Dispatch to conquer “Big, Hairy, Audacious” Goals
“ We would like to be the new, modern version of window coverings—not only in our business model, but in our technology and how we handle ourselves and our customers. Having Dispatch is helping us make progress toward our goals.”
– Kelsey Stuart, CEO Bloomin’ Blinds
Growing quickly, Bloomin’ Blinds is a Trailblazer in Window Coverings
Founded in 2001, Bloomin’ Blinds is a family-run business with big aspirations. The company launched its franchise group in 2014, and now has 40 owners operating in 52 territories. But CEO Kelsey Stuart wants to grow even more, and has what he calls “big, hairy, audacious goals”—like becoming a household name, adding another 50 franchise owners in the next two years, and welcoming 250-300 new owners in the next five years. “We want some extraordinarily expansive growth,” he says.
The Lewisville, Texas-based company is going up against nation-wide direct-to-consumer businesses. Stuart gives their competitors props for proving the model—but says they highlight Bloomin’ Blinds’ key differentiator, which is that their franchise owners don’t just sell blinds: they offer an end-to-end solution that includes design consultations, installation, and repairs. Setting themselves apart, Stuart explains “we would like to be the new modern version of window coverings – not only in our business model, but our technology and how we handle our customers.”
Bloomin’ Blinds’ current software solutions weren’t helping them build and deliver on their vision of a comprehensive service offering, so in 2019 Stuart started investigating new options.
Bloomin’ Blinds’ Looks at the Field of Options
With sights set on growth, Stuart wanted a solution that would give him visibility into franchise owners’ operations, help him attract new owners, and enable him to improve the customer experience.
“We only thrive if our owners thrive,” says Stuart. “And if our franchise owners are providing the same service as competitors, and they’re providing the same price, but their communication and presentation are better…all of that leads to buying decisions.”
Stuart started looking for a field service management platform that would offer visibility into location performance, a consistently excellent customer experience, a robust FSM tool, quoting capabilities—and that was still accessible to a growing business. He looked at close to 20 providers. Most were missing features Stuart needed or were too expensive, and one refused to even work with a window covering business.
Finally, he came across Dispatch, a software platform that helps enterprises manage franchise locations and improve the customer experience. “I found that a lot of software solutions are pretty generic in their offerings, and very few of them had the features and benefits that Dispatch had at a price we could manage.”
Dispatch offered the improved visibility, CRM, quoting capabilities, and other features Stuart was looking for. “I needed a tool that would demonstrate our concern for quality, not just in our products and service, but in our customer communication as well. Dispatch delivered.”
Dispatch Clears the Path to a Successful Implementation
The Dispatch implementation was Bloomin’ Blinds’ first large-scale software installation—a nerve-wracking experience for any growing business. But Dispatch’s supportive team and integration expertise helped to smooth the way. “We were trying to integrate two different software systems—Dispatch and Solatech window treatment software,” says Stuart. “Having somebody who was responsive, who truly seemed to care about our business and how it was going, really helped us be patient and learn.”
As with any new software implementation, challenges cropped up along the way. “But every time Dispatch found an error, they fixed it,” Stuart says. “Every time that there was something that needed adjustment, they got it corrected.” The Dispatch team also customized workflow and notification features for Bloomin’ Blinds, and created short training videos to help Stuart onboard the rest of the corporate team and franchise owners.
Bloomin’ Blinds Cultivates Franchisee Success
The Dispatch platform gives Stuart and his team unprecedented visibility into their franchise owners’ operations, allowing them to jump on problems before they grow too big. “As a franchise owner, I need to have visibility and access into what the franchise owners are doing – I need to be able to get in, help with issues and help new owners guide and manage the business.” With data from the Dispatch platform, Stuart can see if a franchise owner is struggling with, say, generating new reviews or converting prospects, so his team can offer coaching to help get the owner back on track. “The Dispatch platform has a wealth of information,” says Stuart, “it’s clear that there’s no shortage of data available.”
While Bloomin’ Blinds is using Dispatch to help manage franchise operations, the franchise owners themselves use the solution to build up their own businesses. “It’s a tool to help the franchise owners run their business, and they appreciate it for that,” says Stuart. “They also love the simplicity, clean look, and the intuitive nature of the software. Most of them were able to figure it out in fewer than 10 repetitions. Across the board, it’s 100% a win.”
Dispatch’s customer-facing features have also helped set Bloomin’ Blinds apart from others in the industry. Powered by Dispatch, the new online booking page has simplified scheduling for homeowners and franchise owners, enabling customers to request appointments when convenient for them. “The booking page has been a bit hit for us,” says Stuart. “Adding technology-based communication has opened the door for new customers who aren’t naturally comfortable on the phone or need to reach us in off-hours. Since we launched it for our franchise locations, we’ve seen a substantial increase in conversion because it gives the consumer a sense that things are in motion, reducing the need for them to look at other providers. We can capture the business when they’re ready for it, not necessarily just when we’re open.”
With many automated and tech-enabled communication elements, including automated reminders and on-my-way notifications, Dispatch helps Bloomin’ Blinds leave a positive impression well before the first service appointment. “By the time we ring the doorbell, the customer has already had four or five positive interactions with Bloomin’ Blinds,” explains Stuart, “and that’s a great way to win business.”
Positive customer reviews have increased, says Stuart, showing that customers appreciate the new features as much as the franchise owners do. “Having these tools really shows that an owner is on their game,” Stuart says.
Bloomin’ Blinds’ big, hairy, audacious goals don’t look so intimidating when they have the right software on their side. “We absolutely use Dispatch as a tool for our franchise growth,” says Stuart. “We’re one of the few window coverings companies in the nation with this kind of innovative technology and customer experience. There’s no doubt, having Dispatch is helping us make progress toward our goals.”
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