Top 10 Ways To Guarantee Franchisee Satisfaction

17/02/2018 17:00 | Start a business

Franchisee satisfaction

As with any relationship, the key to its success is the happiness of both parties. For a franchise system to be profitable, the satisfaction of the franchisees is as important as that of the franchisor. As a franchisor, building relationships with your franchisees requires time, effort and energy for them to remain healthy.

Getting your franchisees happy

But, this is time well spent and youll be repaid with not only happy franchisees, but with one of the most successful franchises. Heres 10 ways you can make sure that your franchisees are satisfied and your business is booming.

1. Set realistic financial projections during the recruitment process

Theres one way to guarantee the dissatisfaction of your franchisees, and thats by providing them with an unrealistic or inaccurate return on investment projection when they started their franchising journey. Some franchisors base their financial forecasts on an average franchise unit. This can be misleading for new franchisees who may be buying a franchise which is in a less popular location or smaller than a typical unit.

To manage expectations, its important that you paint as truthful a picture as possible and make sure that franchisees know the potential impacts of economic or environmental factors on their ability to make a profit. Remember, that your existing franchisees should be your biggest promoters and if they dont feel that youre one of the best franchises to invest in, it could damage your chances of hiring quality candidates in the future.

2. Help them understand the importance of their business plan

The importance of a franchisees business plan should not be underestimated. A well-written plan will help them to grow their business, develop business objectives and strategically plan for any challenges they may face. But, perhaps most significantly, it offers a holistic view of their new franchise venture.

If your franchisees are new to the franchise model, or business ownership they may never have had to prepare a business plan before. This is where you come in. Of course, its not your job to create a business plan for each franchisee in your network, but you should provide assistance and guidance relating to completion of the plan.

3. Encourage open and honest feedback

The most successful franchises understand the importance of listening to the thoughts and opinions of franchisees. You should encourage input and suggestions from franchisees as this may not just generate some great ideas, but will empower your franchisees knowing that theyre being listened to.

Its also crucial to effectively engage in two-way communication with your franchisees to ensure the success of the franchise system. Being open to receiving feedback can help build and maintain robust relationships with franchisees. All forms of communication should be promoted, but meeting up face to face regularly should make the communication and feedback loop more effective.

4. Create a culture that they feel part of

This is possibly the most difficult element of franchisee satisfaction to get right, but is the one that will make you one of the best franchises to invest in. Culture is more than some words on a visions and values board; its a combination of the brand, the feeling of the company and how you treat your franchisees and customers.

During the recruitment process, prospective franchisees will have a chance to experience the culture of your franchise during interviews, meetings and Discovery Days. They wont be able to put their finger on it, but theyll know when theyve found the right culture fit for them. Get your culture right, and you wont just be able to hire more quality franchisees, but youll be able to retain them too. Thats a sure sign of the most successful franchises.

5. Develop an effective operations manual

The operation manual acts as the backbone of any franchise system. It effectively makes up the rules that the franchisee must comply with to run a successful franchise. Making sure that your franchisees are equipped with detailed guidelines for the operation of the business will have two main benefits.

Firstly, youll reduce the amount of support that your franchisees need to run their businesses profitably. Secondly, your franchisees will feel more confident that they can operate their franchise without the constant need to check things with you or head office. This is a powerful tool that can be easily achieved by investing time and effort into the operations manual.

6. Offer the best training you can

The training thats provided as part of franchise packages is one of the main reasons why entrepreneurs choose franchising over independent business ownership. This is especially true for prospective franchisees with little or no business experience.

As a franchisor, you need to develop a training programme that gives franchisees the security that they will be able to run their business successfully after the initial training. However, franchisees recognise that the best franchises to invest in offer more than pre-launch training. Good franchisors ensure that the quantity and quality of ongoing coaching is prioritised as much as the initial training.

7. Invest in a robust marketing plan

Its your responsibility to develop a compelling marketing plan for the whole franchise. Particularly if franchisees are paying a regular marketing fee, theyll expect you to produce quality brand level marketing campaigns to raise awareness of the franchise.

Once an overall marketing plan has been created and communicated, franchisees can then prepare and implement local marketing plans to promote their franchise within their area.

8. Review their financial performance regularly

If you wait for a franchisee to come to you when they think their franchise is struggling, it may be too late. Ask them to share their financial performance with you often. This will give you a chance to catch up with your franchisees, and for you to identify any potential issues that can hopefully be nipped in the bud quickly. This pro-activeness will be welcomed, rather than viewed as a burden, by conscientious franchisees.

9. Show them respect

It must be remembered at all times that your franchisees are your business partners, not your employees. You should show them respect and treat them as the entrepreneurs that they are. A respectful atmosphere will result in more engaged franchisees who have a genuine desire to build and nurture a long-term relationship with you and your franchise.

10. Be visible and accessible

Even if you have franchise units all over the country, you must try to visit each one as often as possible. Turning up in person is a great display of commitment and support for your franchisees and should not be overlooked.

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