Franchisees represent your brand across the country. They face the public, they operate under your name, and if they’re satisfied with their business, your entire business could suffer as a result of poor customer service. The success of your franchise is tied to the quality of your relationships with franchisees, so how can you ensure they’re happy?
As a franchisor, there’s a lot you should be doing for your franchisees - both as they get set up, and on a continuing basis. It’ll take up a lot of your time, especially if you have many different investors to support, but it’s worth getting it right.
Happy workers are 13% more productive [Oxford University], and a positive working relationship should always be the goal. In this article, you’ll find seven helpful tips for prioritising franchisee satisfaction.
What is franchisee satisfaction?
Franchisee satisfaction is conceptually very similar to customer satisfaction, and everyone understands the value of delivering an exceptional customer experience. For franchisees, satisfaction depends on one key question: Does the experience of the job role match the expectation that the franchisee had before they started?
The wants and needs of a franchisee will differ from person to person, and the best way that you can ensure your franchisees are satisfied is to cover all possible bases. You should be providing:
- Initial training and ongoing training
- Problem-solving support
- Operations manuals, systems and tools
- Marketing and operational guidance
- An open format of conversation in which franchisees can voice issues as they arise
Why is franchisee satisfaction important?
Franchisee satisfaction is important for many different reasons, including the increased levels of productivity mentioned above. Franchisee satisfaction levels directly impact:
- Future expansion plans - If a franchisee is unhappy in the franchise, they aren’t likely to recommend it when potential investors come to them asking for an opinion. As a result, franchisors could lose out on chances to expand.
- Brand reputation and performance - A dissatisfied franchisee can quickly become a headache for your business if the quality of the service they provide is diminished by their dissatisfaction. One negative experience with a brand is often all it takes for a customer to disengage.
Franchisor executives who are keen to grow their network often treat a franchise like it is a product to be sold. This mindset is very damaging to a franchise network as it fails to recognize that you are entering into a long- term business relationship, which lasts on average for seven years – longer than most marriages.
—Greg Nathan, Franchise Relationships Institute Founder
The franchising industry is growing, and with 36% of franchisees now running multiple units [British Franchising Association], it’s never been more important that you find the right franchisees for your business, and ensure they’re happy, satisfied and on track.
Seven franchisor tips for prioritising franchisee satisfaction
So, how should you go about prioritising the happiness of your franchisees? Here are seven key tips to help you do exactly that...
1. Brush up on your skills
Running a franchise can be an intense experience, especially when you’re just starting out. Franchisees will feel happier and more confident if they’re certain that you’re doing your job well, and looking out for them in the process. Brush up on your:
- Communication skills - Communication is a two way process, and if you communicate well, your franchisee is likely to follow suit. Knowing how to express your business vision to your franchisees will help them understand the brand, and what’s required of them, better.
- Leadership skills - To be a good franchisor, you’ll need to demonstrate that you have the personality, determination and resilience to lead a team of people. Lead by example, and don’t follow the crowd.
- Listening skills - As a franchisor, it’s your responsibility to listen carefully. Making time to listen will give your franchisee the opportunity to ask for help or make complaints, and therefore will help you to understand areas that need improving in order to increase their satisfaction.
>> Read more:
- 5 Qualities of a Successful Franchisor
- 5 Reasons Why A Strong Franchisor-Franchisee Relationship Is So Important
- 5 Ways to Keep on Learning as a Franchisor
- Franchisor Tips: 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Running a Franchise Network
- The 8 Primary Roles and Responsibilities of a Franchisor
- Franchisor Tips: 10 Traits That Make a Good Franchisor
- Nine Reasons Why It’s Important for Franchisors to Visit Franchisees
2. Be consistent
Consistency is key to providing stability in the working environment. Franchisees will be happy if they know what to expect. Don’t start piling on expectations, or show up unexpectedly.
Franchisor visits are very important when it comes to cultivating a solid working relationship, but these should all be planned in advance. Be consistent with your actions, and your franchisees will feel they can put their trust and faith in you.
3. Be passionate
Passion breeds passion. If you feel strongly about your brand, and communicate that to franchisees, it’s likely they’ll feel that way too. You need to be inspiring and enthusiastic about the business, and that energy will filter through.
4. Honesty is the best policy
As a franchisor, there’s no beating around the bush. You need to be open about:
- Points of feedback for franchisees and their employees
- Hurdles that the business faces
- Any changes that might/will have an impact on the franchisee
Keep everyone informed, treat everyone with enough respect to be honest, and your franchisees will feel satisfied that you trust them, and they trust you. Your relationship will bloom if you can always communicate clearly and truthfully.
>> Read more:
- 5 Qualities of a Successful Franchisor
- 4 Things Franchisees Never Have Time for But Are Essential for Running a Successful Business
- How to Launch a Franchise and Get Noticed
- 4 Elements of a Successful Franchise
- How to Start a New Business on a Shoe-String Budget
- The Ultimate Guide to Franchising Success
5. Be flexible and adaptable
When you’re running your own business, things tend to change on a regular basis. Nothing is 100% predictable. Customer needs and wants will evolve, and a good franchisor acknowledges this and acts accordingly. Be willing to mix things up to keep the business working to its full potential. If a franchisee makes a suggestion, having seen how things are going on the ground, listen to them and do your best to take their insight on board.
6. Value your team by being supportive
As a franchisor, your biggest asset is the team that surrounds you. Without their support, the business would struggle. Make sure that they’re aware of how much you value them, and their constant commitment to the brand. Show your support, in return, by being present and offering support whenever it’s needed.
7. Be collaborative
While there will be no one who understands your brand quite as deeply and completely as you do, franchisees will have some great insights and new perspectives to offer. Listen to their suggestions and you’ll soon see that collaborating and working together will produce fantastic results, while also making your franchisees feel appreciated and involved.
8. Foster a positive atmosphere
Create an enjoyable and positive working atmosphere, and you’ll guarantee franchisee satisfaction and increase productivity in the same breath.
Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings, while negative emotions have the opposite effect.
—Andrew Oswald, Warwick Business School
Important questions for your franchisee
Now that you’re aware of what you need to do to make sure your franchisee is as satisfied as possible, here are some questions you can ask to see if anything else is required:
- Does the business meet your expectations?
- Are you provided with enough support?
- Do you have enough marketing tools?
- Do you feel that the fees charged reflect the help that you’re receiving?
- Is the business model suited to the demands of the market?
- Would you invest in the franchise again? And if not, why?
- What can I do, as a franchisor, to improve your satisfaction?
Prioritise your franchisees and make your entire franchise a success
When you prioritise the wellbeing of everyone involved in your franchise, your franchise will see success and growth as a result of company-wide hard work. Cared for franchisees are productive, hard-working franchisees, after all. For more franchisor tips and tricks, browse Point Franchise’s range of articles.
Cara Squires, Point Franchise ©