Many franchisors conduct franchise satisfaction surveys, but they are often repeats of previous surveys (perhaps with a few extra questions peppered in there for good measure) and lack unique and specific goals.
As a result, the franchise satisfaction initiative can be a lot of busy work with few results. While some franchisors opt to use a professional service such as Franchise Business Review to stay current, others want to know how to improve their franchise survey process.
The first step to changing how you survey is to have a goal.
If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, Any Road Will Get You There
Starting your survey process without a survey goal is like going on a long journey without a destination. With franchisors’ limited resources, this approach simply makes no sense.
Good questions to ask during the goal-setting process are quite straightforward. Sometimes the answer is so obvious that it is hard to see. Consider, for example:
- What are you trying to figure out with this exercise?
- Why do you need to know that information?
- What do you hope to do with that data once you are done?
Although goals differ by organization, it can be helpful to see sample goals to kickstart the process. Here are a few examples to consider:
1. Measure franchisee satisfaction and compare it to previous years or benchmarks.
This is the franchisee satisfaction survey after all, so this is an obvious sample goal. To effectively compare how this data changes year to year, you will need to include some of the same questions in each year’s survey. This can be helpful, because it means you won’t have to start your survey from ground zero.
Additionally, if you are part of a wider organization that owns a number of franchise groups, you may want to create some comparisons with sister or brother companies to generate benchmarking exercises and later trade best practices. There is a difference between robotically copying others’ questions for no reason and intentionally selecting specific questions for comparative purposes.
2. Establish a positive relationship with your franchisees.
When you open lines of communication with your franchisees, it shows that you value what they have to say. Showing your franchisees the results of the survey through an annual conference presentation or a webinar, for example, will demonstrate to them that you have a real commitment to collaboration and transparency.
3. Receive feedback regarding the support services the head office provides.
Some of the hardest working people are within the franchising community — but sometimes they are so hard at work that they have little time to see the impact their work is having.
If your head office is putting a lot of effort into something with little business value and little value to satisfaction, it may be time to discontinue it. Conversely, you may be surprised to see some more obscure initiatives have created a lot of satisfaction, so it could be a good idea to explore those programs and find more like them.
4. Learn more about what your franchisees want, need, and like.
This goal is subtly different from the previous example goal, as it takes a more global perspective on your franchisees. Think about their entire experience, rather than only looking at the one your head office provides. For example, their biggest need may be around local competition or recruiting in a hot economy. Head office could help with introductions to a franchisee who has had success overcoming this problem, rather than creating an elaborate program.
5. Determine franchisees’ flexibility and what support they need for a planned change.
A difficult reality of working in a franchise head office environment is that you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube again. If you have rolled out something difficult and it has created frustration and even anger among franchisees, it is hard to reverse course. Understanding sentiment beforehand can help you see how flexible franchisees are to change and what support that they need. Whether it is renovations or a new product line, sometimes change is inevitable. But rolling it out with appropriate support, such as training and feedback loops, can make a huge difference.
With established goals, you will be able to structure your survey to give you the data you need to impact franchisees’ success. For more information on how to engage and support franchisees, contact us.