The business challenge
What is one of the biggest concerns that plague franchisors?
The franchise model is a true-blue testament to a strategy of running operations under a business that works.
Franchisors who have cultivated their business and brand from the ground-up have done so a combination of online and physical marketing, excellent customer service (that is often one-to-one) and a consistent level of operating that focuses on the micro and macro.
From the the largest national promotions timed to go wide simultaneously to the smallest detail of greeting the customer with a company-approved tagline rather than just, “Hey!”, franchisors know what works and franchisees rely on this blueprint to emulate almost guaranteed success.
And it works beautifully — except, when it doesn’t.
See, what keeps franchisors tossing and turning at night is the idea that franchisees are simply not brand compliant: they’re failing to live up to the brand’s reputation or the level of service loyal customers have grown to expect — and that now gives the brand its competitive edge.
And there’s more here at stake than simply trust between a franchisor and a franchisee. The first casualty — and often the largest – is brand value.
A location whose profits are flagging can often be attributed to the simplest of reasons: a broken customer experience. The numbers don’t lie: 89% of customers stopped doing business with the company after experience poor customer service.
How you can change it up
Franchisee compliance is just a fancy word for a set of practices that allow you to make sure that:
- Your franchisees are running according to approved standards, consistently
- Your franchisees feel empowered with knowledge and instant, on-the-go access to resources to allow
Consistent franchisee compliance means that customers can expect the same level of customer service across stores, besides the physical motifs, products and language that are part of their experience of the franchise brand.
They can expect their promotions, coupons or loyalty cards to be accepted and to be rewarded across the board.
And they can expect to interact with knowledgeable franchisees and staff, who know the product, brand and/or service inside-out because they’ve experienced a strong training program, with ongoing access to resources that allows them to be brand ambassadors.
Functions that drive change
These customer expectations rely on franchisee compliance, which, in turn is built on one simple solution: a central hub with multiple functions.
Access to training materials in the cloud
Having access to information across devices and across platforms makes it easy for franchisees and their employees to refer back to their training, no matter where they are in the transaction.
The fact is that 55% of customers would pay 10% more for a product when they receive exceptional customer service.
Meanwhile, companies with the best customer experience ratings have the highest business performance and profitability over time.
A social network for peer-to-peer sharing
A social network allows franchisors to connect and communicate with franchisees — and topics are not exclusive to company or HQ communications.
Sure, you can alert franchisees about promotions and updates to standards. But, you can also keep franchisees updated on the wins or successes of other franchisees who are strong performers.
A paper by the American Bar concluded that franchisors should consider “publishing data…to the entire system to get the benefit of positive peer pressure by fellow franchisees”.
Besides friendly competition, a peer-to-peer social network as a hub for communications means that franchisees and employees are more engaged with the brand itself.
In fact, a recent study released by Gallup shows that employee engagement trickles down and translates to customer ratings.
Tools for tracking compliance
Tracking compliance means more than being “big brother”.
It means that, as a franchisor, you can instantly and effectively opportunities to provide more support or better on-going training to particular franchisees.
Over time, tracking compliance means that there is less customer attrition. If there is a simplified system for tracking, costs are kept down and it is easier to manage incoming complaints, directly identifying the source of these gaps.
Which means less time spent on compliance remediation (especially if there’s compliance all around — hey, it’s not a perfect world, but you can aim, can’t you?)
Facts for thought
Here are a few important metrics that prove how franchise compliance and customer experience are joined at the hip — and this is a Siamese twin you don’t want to separate.
- It is 6-7 times more expensive for companies to attract new customers than to keep existing ones
- 44% of customers confirm that they have received the wrong answer.
- 84% of consumers are frustrated when an employee does not have information
- A frustrated customer does this: 13% of them will tell 15 or more people if they’re unhappy. Conversely, 72% of consumers will share a positive experience with 6 or more people.
Like a mirror, internal cohesion always spells external satisfaction.
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