How an engaged team led to a million-dollar franchise: The story of Caci Blenheim

18 November 2022

When Krista Coningham purchased the Caci Blenheim franchise in April 2021, she had two clear goals: Build an engaged, motivated, and high-performing team dedicated to creating a superior customer experience, and hit the million-dollar revenue goal in record time.

Today, Caci Blenheim has far exceeded both those goals – making the million-dollar club and also exceeding the business’ sales target by 15%, even during COVID-19 uncertainty and lockdowns. Three members of Krista’s high-performing team have received treatment and sales awards, while the clinic as a whole was recently awarded the highly coveted supreme Gold Clinic Award for overall excellence. In addition, the clinic has posted one of the highest net gains in member acquisition across the Caci network. Krista recently won the coveted Westpac Franchise of the Year Award at this year's Westpac New Zealand Franchise Awards.

How has Krista achieved such outstanding results? By understanding that team culture, combined with a strong purpose of creating meaningful journeys with their customers, is a pre-cursor to any sales and revenue increases.

Building a strong team culture as a franchisee

From the outset, Krista knew that team culture is key. She still sees her biggest achievement as building a highly connected and engaged team, “without whom, we would never have achieved our results.”

Krista established a strong sense of purpose from the outset, aiming to create an extraordinary customer experience that Marlborough has not seen before. She did this through:

  • Creating strong incentives and commission frameworks - In addition to individual sales incentives, when the team achieves group goals rewards are added to a pool that is shared across the team. As Krista says, “this has fostered a strong sense of team and hunger to achieve targets. We are competitive as a team, but not against each other.”
  • Implementing daily team huddles to prepare for the day ahead and make staff aware of who is coming into the clinic and what their membership status is, identify any opportunities to further support their customers and each other as a team.
  • Introducing a weekly team meeting to provide updates and review performance, as well as take turns doing a mini training on a skin care product or services.
  • Updating the whole team on clinic performance – “As we are aiming high, the team deserves to know how we are performing on a daily, monthly and annual basis. This is hugely motivating explains Krista.
  • Building individual development and training plans – Krista holds regular one-on-one meetings with staff to set goals, review performance and discuss any training opportunities, as well as discuss any personal goals they may wish to share. This includes not just training provided by the franchise group but also supporting one junior member of staff through her Level 4 NZQA certificate in retail and merchandising, as well as another staff member doing her business management certificate.  
  • Holding regular team events, including quarterly team dinners and trips, staff treatment nights, and an annual development day to review the previous 12 months and share ideas for the year ahead.

The Caci Blenheim team celebrating their success.

Putting on the “customer lens”

Krista understands that a happy, engaged team naturally flows onto a premium customer experience. As Krista says, “every day we ‘put on our customer lens’ and ask ourselves, what is the customer seeing, feeling, smelling, hearing, and can we improve on this in any way? In addition to expert advice and treatments, we focus on the little touches, such as scented candles, herbal tea, upbeat relaxing music which all contribute to the overall experience.”

The clinic aims to provide expert advice and a deep level of care. Krista has an arrangement with a locally-owned skin surgeon to refer any customers that need checking before they proceed with treatments. Caci customers receive a discount when referred to them, and the skin surgen occasionally attends team meetings to help educate the Caci technicians on how to identify suspicious skin issues.

“We have referred 3 customers in the last 12 months who have returned to us with deep gratitude for pushing them along to the skin surgeon which has resulted in major surgery and skin grafts to remove cancer,” says Krista. “Two of these customers even said that our level of care and determination to get them to a skin specialist before we treated them saved their lives. When we hear stories like this, there are always proud tears amongst the team! This level of care and diligence positions us as the experts.” 

Supporting the local community

For every business, in any local community, word of mouth is important. Krista knows that community connection is her most powerful marketing tool and key to growing their membership base. She ensures every member who refers a friend is rewarded with a thank you gift, and sponsors a variety of community events, focussing on groups that members are part of. This has included supporting various important women’s initiatives such as Women’s Refuge, Anti-domestic Violence Day, Entrepreneurial Women With Purpose and hosting an International Women’s Day Lunch.

Caci Blenheim supporting women's charities. 

When operating in a franchise, it can sometimes feel like there’s less room for creativity. However Krista’s story shows just how much franchisees can achieve when they focus on innovative ways to boost team engagement and create a superior customer experience – especially when they have a strong finance and business structure behind them.

“BDO has been there right from the beginning of my franchise journey, supporting me through the purchase of Caci Blenheim back in April last year,” explains Krista. “It was an uncertain time, right in the middle of Covid, and BDO helped us set up the right structure to protect this hard-earned family asset for the future. BDO assisted with the valuation of the business, worked closely with us and our lawyer to make the due diligence process seamless.

Being an extremely busy family with two young boys, it’s been great having Xero support from BDO to help make sure the financial administration stays under control with only a small time commitment from us. This has enabled me to focus on those value-add activities that have helped create such a tight-knit team and culture at Blenheim Caci, as well as enabling me to spend quality time with my family!”

If you would like assistance as you begin your franchise journey, or want advice on how to grow your customer base and boost performance as a franchisee, BDO’s specialist franchise team can help. We offer end-to-end franchising support, all tailored to your industry. Reach out to your local office today to find out how we can help.