In 2018, current Chief Operations Officer Rob Goggins will become Great Clips’ next president. 1851 Franchise sat down with Goggins to discuss the brand’s current position and plans for the future.
1851: Tell us about your career path.
Goggins: I cut my teeth in franchise sales, recruiting new franchisees for a major service brand, a job I held for just over four years. In 2007, I joined Great Clips as Vice President of Franchise Development. In that role, I led a team that identified, recruited, and qualified prospective franchisees for our walk-in hair salon business. At the time I came to the company, Great Clips was already growing, adding about 48 new franchisees every year. In the next few years, that number skyrocketed to 125. My development responsibilities evolved to include real estate, and then, in 2014, I was named COO. Since then, I’ve taken on a number of other aspects of the business, including marketing and communications.
1851: That franchisee growth has not slowed down. What do you attribute that to?
Goggins: It’s certainly an offshoot of our tremendous growth through the years. We’ve experienced 51 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth and 46 consecutive quarters of customer count growth. We measure how many customers walk in each store every week. Right now, that number averages 515.
Much of this growth is a product of deliberate front-end growth drivers. We are always adding new franchisees, but we also focus on signing leases. We’ve been signing about 275 to 300 leases per year, which puts us in the top 10 retailers in terms of rapid growth. Of course, beyond the growth, that’s also an encouraging indicator of how our franchisees feel about the business; they wouldn’t be signing more leases if they weren’t optimistic about the future. Franchisee profitability has increased significantly in the last seven years, so franchisees are seeing a strong return on investment.
1851: What makes Great Clips stand apart from the other franchises you’ve worked with?
Goggins: I point to the franchise model. Great Clips doesn’t have corporate stores, so our investment and focus is on the franchisees. We’ve got a lot of insight into how individual franchisees are performing. Accurate data tracking from the system-level all the way down to the unit-level is something many other franchisors can’t provide. Great Clips data helps us better understand key growth drivers and gives us the ability to offer an extraordinary level of support to each franchisee.
1851: What are your thoughts as you prepare to become Great Clips’ next President?
Goggins: I’m focused primarily on continuity. The challenge is keeping the machine running as well as it has been. We don’t want to become complacent, so we’re definitely looking at new ways we can continue to leverage our edge on the competition.
1851: What are you working on now to stay ahead of the competition?
Goggins: Using technology to enhance the customer experience in the salons has been a huge part of the franchise in recent years. Our Online Check-In has been an industry game changer, and Clip Notes®, an in-salon, customer-facing tool that allows stylists to enter and access detailed information about a customer’s haircut preferences, has been an enormous success. Our next challenge is to build on our reputation as the industry leader in revolutionizing the customer experience through user-friendly tech solutions. We have a purposeful roadmap covering technology priorities for the next several years.
1851: You mentioned the Clip Notes program. Can you tell us about that?
Goggins: Clip Notes is a program that allows Great Clips stylists to keep notes on customer style and cut preferences in a single system that is accessible across all locations. It has been instrumental in our ability to provide not just a consistent experience across salons, which, of course, is essential, but also a uniquely personal experience. I don’t think many other franchises of our size know their customers as well as we do.
1851: You’ve worked in so many different roles in franchising. What’s your favorite part of the business?
Goggins: I love franchisee recruiting—taking everything we’re excited about behind the scenes and presenting it to a prospect, and then watching it all come to fruition. As I move through all the different facets of the company, I love finding ways I can add value, figuring out new ways to help people, and delivering new programs and resources for our franchisees. I like to listen to our franchisees—hear what’s working for them and what they may be struggling with—and then help them find solutions, or find ways the corporate office can support them with a new resource or strategy. I’m a problem solver, so I’m always looking for solutions and seeking out new challenges.
1851: What’s next?
Goggins: Development is always at the top of the list—developing our Great Clips, Inc. staff and developing our franchisees. And, of course, we’ve got our sights set on technology. It’s already playing such an important role in how our franchisees collaborate, our internal resources and tools, and the customer experience, so we’re excited to take that even further. Beyond that, our franchisees are always keeping us on our toes. We encourage them to be very candid with us, so we’re always hearing about areas where we can improve the business and the franchisee experience at all levels.