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Changing Lanes: Entrepreneur Diversifies During Lockdown

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The first lockdown in 2020 brought unprecedented economic difficulties across the retail sectors. Though unprepared for the scale of tough choices that had to be made, franchise entrepreneur Rhian Anstey made the decision to re-establish herself in a new sector.

While some simply shut up shop, others went back to drawing board to find a business model capable of navigating the troubled waters outside.

Rhian Anstey was one of those individuals, who currently owns three successful Vodafone stores in Prestatyn, Rhyl and Oswestry; and more recently, established herself at the Customer Experience Director in North Wales and Chester for insight6, the only customer experience specialist in the UK and Ireland. The company designs and delivers advanced feedback programmes, using customer reviews and surveys, to build bespoke customer experience improvement plans:

Rhian reflected on the events leading up to her making the decision to temporarily close her Vodafone stores in March 2020:

“I knew that the high street was going to get slowly worse over the coming years because people are shopping in different ways, more people are shopping online […], but I didn’t expect the high street to close completely and obviously that’s what happened with the pandemic.”

She continues:

“So [my Vodafone] stores closed back in March last year and that just wasn’t in any part of my business plan whatsoever, and because they were a franchise store, everything online wasn’t available to me […], Vodafone did support us as much as they could, but ultimately, I had no money coming in and so I needed to do something different.”

Rhian then approached insight6 as her new franchise venture in North Wales, who was able to work with the organisation to transfer her 20 years of experience within the retail sector into this new role, in parallel to recovering her three Vodafone stores:

“I came across insight6 through my franchise researching, and it just ticked all the boxes. It was all about making sure customers get the right level of service and that they feel valued, but also looking at different sectors where customer experience isn’t such a talked-about subject.”

“So when I first spoke to insight6, I went along to a discovery day and just learnt a bit more about the business and how they worked with other businesses […], we do a lot of mystery shopping and that is something I am quite au fait with anyway […]. The other thing that insight6 do is customer feedback surveys, getting real-time feedback from customers, really understanding again how they feel at any given moment.”

Rhian summarises her position at insight6, and what she can offer to businesses in a similar predicament:

“There are links [between myself and insight6] in the way that I work, and really it’s now about sharing my knowledge and helping other businesses do the same thing.”

You can also read in more detail about Rhian’s story from our previous article here.