Franchising is a proven way to scale your business by distributing the risk and the reward across a community of franchisees. Yet, most franchisors struggle with engaging their franchisees, who are often the lifeblood of their growth and success. No matter how big or small you are as a company–you can’t afford to have franchisees struggle because they don’t have enough engagement with their parent brand.
Engaged franchisees are more likely to stick around and contribute to the growth of the brand. They are also more likely to be successful, (which benefits the franchisor of course) as they are given the tools, support, and air cover from the franchisor to ensure their success. This helps create a positive feedback loop, with engaged franchisees helping to promote the brand and its values, and the franchisor providing the support needed to help them be successful.
This blog series will help you understand the 3 key ingredients needed for a high-impact franchisee engagement strategy and technology tips to becoming a franchisee engagement pro!
Ingredient #1: Communication and Creating a Community
The first component of a high-impact franchisee engagement strategy is communication that fosters the feeling of a tight-knit community. Communications need to be clear, consistent, and relevant to the franchisee. This means that franchisors need to create a process or use a technology solution for communication that is both efficient and effective for the franchisee. They also need to make sure that their tone and messaging are consistent with the brand.
A good way to measure communication effectiveness is to look at the number of franchisees who are engaged on your technology solution (measured by KPIs such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, etc.). A platform for creating this can look like an online portal, social network community, or even a learning management and training system. The distribution of new content for your brand should be systematic by using a platform to proactively push it to franchisees. Bonus points if you can create a way to reward them for engaging with the information (ie: offering a contest). By encouraging feedback directly from these individuals, they feel like more than just another team member. Franchisees in the community can then learn from each other, all while feeling like their opinion matters when making decisions about what's being distributed within the company.
Many franchisees found that they’ve been left out of the loop when it comes to company communications. This is an issue because a lack of communication can lead to poor brand consistency among franchisees, which in turn leads to lower customer satisfaction and higher levels of attrition. To increase engagement with franchisees and promote better brand consistency, organizations should consider including a communications center or hub for franchisee use. A well-designed communications center will provide all relevant materials in one centralized location so that they are easy to find and understand. It also provides the opportunity for franchisors to get feedback from their franchisees on how well these materials are understood as well as any other issues or concerns about them. The result? Increased understanding among both parties about what is happening within the company, and a more cohesive brand.
A learning management system (LMS) is an effective way to keep your franchisees engaged with the brand. It can help deliver training and development content, as well as manage communications between franchisors and franchisees. An LMS can also keep track of progress and performance, so you can identify areas where further support may be needed. Using an LMS can help ensure that your franchisees are kept up to date with the latest developments within the franchise and can help maintain a high level of engagement with the brand. Additionally, it provides them with the tools necessary to successfully represent your brand in their local market. When franchisees feel confident in their ability to deliver on your brand promise, it leads to a higher level of customer satisfaction and can help reduce attrition rates.
Franchisees are the lifeblood of your brand. They represent your company in the community, and they’re responsible for delivering on your promise to customers. Keeping franchisees connected to your brand can be challenging. By focusing on communications with your franchisees you can create a high-impact franchisee engagement strategy that will continue to engage and motivate your franchisees. Creating a community can help them achieve their goals, while also strengthening your franchise system as a whole.
Stay tuned for our next post in this series, where we’ll explore how franchisors can set goals and expectations for their franchisees that will set them up for success. Be sure to subscribe to our blog to make sure you get notified of when the next post is live!
For more operations-based content for the franchising Chief Operating Officer, check out our all-inclusive Executive’s Guide to Franchising Tech in 2022.