A talented salesman has risen through the ranks to scoop the top job at the mobile phone shop where he began his career.
Award-winning James Francis, 29, from Marford, has been appointed manager of the O2 store at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham just five years after he started there as a sales advisor.
The ex Darland High School pupil, who has a degree in business management from Liverpool John Moores University, works for the top O2 franchise in the UK, Communications Plus which has operations throughout North Wales, the North West and the North West of England.
James, who has won multiple awards within the group, said: “I started off at Eagles Meadow and it’s great to be back.
“Since I’ve been here I’ve wanted to make sure that our customers come back to the store. I treat it a bit as your local pub where you if you have a good experience you’ll revisit it.
“The fact that the car parking charges have been reduced dramatically has certainly helped footfall at Eagles Meadow.
“When I started out I was offered a three month secondment where you’re judged on your sales performance and your attitude to customers.
“I became assistant manager after nine months. The boss was impressed with my sales attitude. That month I also won Player of the Year, which is basically a sales person of the year award. Since then I’ve also won Assistant Manager of the Year. We’re part of a huge O2 franchise called Communications Plus.
“It’s the best of the best. It has been awarded Franchise of the Decade and five out of seven years it won Franchise of the Year. We also won the Customer Service Award. There were throughout the whole of the O2 franchise where you’ve got over 200 stores.”
James went on to be assistant manager of the Cheshire Oaks store before doing the same job in Broughton.
He explained: “The franchise offers you opportunities to get experiences in other stores.”
During that time he quickly learned the management skills he’s putting to good use at Eagles Meadow.
James said: “I make sure we have a structure and discipline which ensures that every customer is seen to, and spoken to pleasantly. We find out their query, and we answer it fully. So they know they can come back to us if they’re every unsure of anything. It works really well.
“I always instill my traits into the other members of staff – if you work in customer service you do it to the highest standard.
“We also now offer a Guru service which is for queries that are more technical. You can book that online free of charge and then come in for a half hour appointment.
“If they don’t need to be here, just need the phone to be fixed, they can leave it here with us and pick it up at a later date. That works really well, because it encourages customers from O2 and other companies to come across to us because it’s a free service for everybody.”
“We try to help people as quickly as we can and strike while the iron is hot. If people have a bad experience, that could be their bad experience of the day, and they will talk about it. The reverse is also true, so if they have a good experience, that’s what they’ll tell people about.
“Customers are always thanked for visiting us, and told that they are more than welcome to always come back. We build a rapport with customers over years.
“We always make sure we make the customer aware of the full range of products that we have on offer.
“It’s about finding out the customer’s needs and tailoring our offer to them. It’s called qualification. It’s not a hard sell. It’s a soft sell.
“One thing a customer wants is consistency. They don’t want up and down bills and they want an easy way to find out what’s going on with their account.”
James added: “Our owner Steve Roberts started out as a sales advisor at the age of 18. He has won award after award. He created our structure that ensures that every customer is given a great experience and always welcomed back. He’s so passionate and he inspires me greatly.
Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley said: “I’d like to congratulate James on his appointment. The O2 store at Eagles Meadow has been successful since it’s been here, and James has been a big part of that success. I have no doubt that it will go from strength to strength now that he is in charge.”