Why too many communications apps will cause serious problems for your franchise network

Today’s workforce is under siege by a flood of communications apps. More than ever, our attention is scattered across a wide array of different apps and communications channels.

Keeping up with omnipresent mobile devices and managing myriad apps is proving difficult, and that has serious repercussions for businesses in general, and for franchisors in particular.

That’s why forward-thinking companies and franchisors are searching a unified experience that brings together all modes of internal communication into a single platform that promotes better control, collaboration and which seamlessly integrates with their other business applications.

Let’s shed some light on why this can be such a challenge.

Internal comms

For many people, when discussing communications within a business, the first thoughts are about marketing and PR communications supporting brand promotion and sales. Things like press releases, email, social media campaigns and blogs are some of the main examples which spring to mind.

But people often overlook the internal communications which occur at every business, especially in a geographically dispersed organisation like a franchise. Internal interactions are pivotal to upholding the momentum of franchisee and employee engagement and, ultimately, the overall profitability, compliance and growth of a system.

There are, however, some problems that shouldn’t be ignored when a franchisor allows the unchecked use of chat apps and public social media platforms for internal communication.

The challenge brought on by disparate channels

The use of internal communication tools has grown significantly since the days of simple staff emails and newsletters. Instant messaging, social media platforms, support forums and various intranets are now embedded in most organisations and represent a more modern way for the different actors in a franchise to connect.

Many chat/social media platforms are free (or cheap), easy to sign up for, and even easier to use. This often results in people and departments using too many different platforms and apps without any central oversight or input from the brand owner/franchisor.

Communication is a good thing until you have too much of it (just like good wine!). Because it’s so easy to share with colleagues using all these apps, a lot of information (too much) floats around on many different channels. This is mostly unhelpful and sometimes even harmful.

The risks

All communication and information sharing within the network occurs between people, and people aren’t fixed assets. They move and change jobs and loyalties.

In franchises, especially those with a high staff turnover, using common social media platforms to share internal information risks sensitive information ending up somewhere that it wasn’t supposed to be.

From a franchisor perspective, when you have no way to effectively manage user accounts and user access, you also have no control over who’s on which app, platform or mailing list.

This opens you up to all sorts of security risks. For example, a store or restaurant manager could go and work for your biggest competitor and still have access to  all of your internal secrets. I think we can agree that no good can ever come from that.

It’s probably quadrupling your workload

That’s a lot of work just to have a reasonable chance of reaching all the intended recipients. It will most definitely drive your over head support costs and reduce scalability for fast growth. And then there’s the question of how you’ll know your information has actually been read.For those working central support or tasked with generating internal content and information, all these disparate apps and platforms can be  a menace. This isn’t only for the security issues, but also since you don’t know who’s on which platform or channel. You might be forced to post the same information on two, five or seven different systems, each and every time. Emailing lists, Facebook Groups, WhatsApp, SnapChat, texts, the intranet, etc.  It’s a quagmire you need to escape from.

A way to get a grip on how to fix it

You might think that this is all a software problem and that you can just have IT deal with it.

You could, but sometimes the problem is something much trickier than software alone: company culture. This is much more difficult to fix, but the combination of smart and relevant software with a strong culture can work wonders.

If franchisees and employees don’t have insights and an understanding of how your brand works with internal communications, and if those in central positions don’t lead by example, no change will come. It’s important to have clear policies, well-communicated with constant follow-ups and corrections. But if we were to teach you how to build and maintain a company culture, this would be a completely different (and much longer) article.

You need to create a plan on how to approach this challenge and to start reducing the number of apps and channels you have while sticking to your policies.

Want to see how other forward-thinking franchises have solved the software part and implemented a single, unified communications platform and gearing up for growth?