How to improve the franchisee experience - new owners need to know!

Today’s new franchisors need to create a unique selling proposition that stands out from the pack. Unfortunately, this is getting harder with so many other

Today’s new franchisors need to create a unique selling proposition that stands out from the pack. Unfortunately, this is getting harder with so many other companies offering the same services and benefits to their franchisees. A few recent studies highlight just how difficult it can be: in 2018, fewer than half of new franchisors launched a successful franchise brand; and only 16% of these launched a second one (according to a study by PwC). To stand out from the crowd, new franchise operators need to understand what their existing franchisees want. Improving the experience for existing franchisees is something any new franchisor needs to take seriously when launching their company. Here are 5 actionable ways you can improve the experience for your existing franchisees:

Offer franchise support where it’s most needed

Franchisees need support in a variety of areas when they’re launching a new business, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. A recent study by accounting services company BDO revealed that franchise owners often experience a need for support that’s not being met. They also identified a number of areas where franchise support could be improved. Here are just a few areas where franchisees are most in need of support: 

  • The transition from a full-time job to a business. 
  • Help managing multiple aspects of the business, including marketing, finances, and staff. 
  • Getting started with their new business. 
  • Maintaining the franchise brand and expanding the business. 
  • Performing post-acquisition due diligence and exit options.

Franchisors need to remember that in most instances, your new franchisees haven’t run a business before. If you look back to when you first started out, you might remember the support you would have liked to receive. Remember that success is easier built with the hands of many. 

Listen to your franchisees

The best way to improve the experience for your franchisees is to understand their needs. This means listening to what they say and discovering how they’re experiencing your brand. 

You can start by conducting an in-depth survey throughout the onboarding process. Ask your existing franchisees to fill out a survey better to understand their needs, frustrations, and expectations. This will help you identify the areas your brand could improve. 

You can also use social listening tools to listen in on the conversations your existing franchisees are having online about your brand. You can use social listening to get a better sense of what your franchisees are saying about your brand and discover which areas are causing the most frustration.

Create a franchise playbook

A franchisee playbook is essentially a roadmap for your franchisees’ success. It’s a blueprint that outlines the steps they need to take to achieve their business goals and grow their business. And it should be created by you, with input from your franchisees. Your franchisees will have some of the best insight into what new franchisees will need to succeed and their input can help you greatly. 

What you want to include in your playbook is a detailed roadmap for your brand’s growth. Your roadmap should include:

  •  A detailed business plan 
  • How you plan to grow and expand your brand 
  • A timeline for how long that should take 
  • Marketing plans 
  • How you plan to drive business
  • Set goals and benchmarks to keep franchisees updated on your progress

A clear plan for success will always start you and your new franchisees off on the right foot and give your budding franchise the best chance of success!

Build brand loyalty

The best way to build brand loyalty is to make sure your existing franchisees are happy. That means listening to them and making sure they’re experiencing a brand that meets their needs. Give them surveys, forums and 1-on-1s with their boss that give them the opportunity to speak their mind. If your franchisees feel like they are being heard, they’re going to feel better about the brand and then brand loyalty may be built from there.

Another way to increase brand loyalty is to offer good perks for your current franchisees. More often than not all the perks and the good deals end after they sign on to be a franchisee, and we forget to nurture them further. Any nice bonuses, fun team outings and offers you can throw their way, can go a long way to achieving brand loyalty.

Introduce new products and services

New products and services, especially those that have been developed in-house, are a great way to differentiate your brand. These will help build brand loyalty and also help you stand out from the competition by offering something your competitors don’t. 

As your franchisees are the one’s representing and selling your products and services, it’s great to get their opinion and support on anything new before rolling it out. It will help them to better represent your brand and what you want to achieve and can again increase brand loyalty. When it comes to introducing new products and services, you don’t want to force them on your franchisees. That’s why it’s best to let them voice how they want to incorporate them into the brand experience.

Final words

Running a franchise is a hugely exciting opportunity, and being a new franchisor can be a huge challenge. It can be hard to balance the need for growth with a focus on the customer experience. What’s important is making sure you have a clear sense of direction and a plan for success. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your existing franchisees are happy. This will help you identify the areas where you can improve the experience for your franchisees, and ultimately help you stand out from the competition.

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