How to keep your Franchisees Happy
Oh to wave a magic wand and have instantly satisfied franchisees.
Is this a reasonable objective, and is it really possible to have perfectly satisfied franchisees?
Human nature would suggest not.
However it is essential that a Franchisor's prime objective should be to nurture an environment of franchisee satisfaction. Satisfied Franchisees sell franchises.
So how does none approach this?
If a franchisee is running profitably, the chances are that they are happier than a franchisee who is not operating a profitable operation. Does your system have methods in place to discuss the franchisees financials on a regular basis?
Relationships and communication
Franchisee /Franchisor relationship evaluation should be an integral factor in a franchise system. Without regular, honest communication any relationship will sour and go stale and franchising is no different.
A Franchisor should not allow a Franchisee to refuse meetings with franchise support staff.
A franchisee may use the "too busy" excuse for refusing meetings.
This is often another way of saying, I don't need your support, I don't value your support, leave me alone.
This is a dangerous situation as communication channels will close and the relationship will deteriorate. It can also signify a deeper level of franchisee dissatisfaction.
An efficient franchise support system should incorporate strategies for dealing with the non communicative franchisee, to enable them to enjoy a healthy relationship with The Franchisor and support staff.
Is one franchisee treated in exactly the same manner as the next?
Inconsistency in treatment from The Franchisor is a common complaint amongst franchisees.
Interestingly, franchisees feel very strongly about non compliant franchisees not being brought into line. Some Franchisors feel that they are being benevolent by not insisting on compliance within a franchise system however the reality is that complying franchisees feel that they are being disadvantaged by this type of situation.
Compliance is an essential part of a Franchisor's role. A franchise system has been created and all franchisees should work within the system. There is no room for the maverick.
A Franchisor should be pro-active with their franchisee support not re-active.
Discussion about core franchisee concerns should be encouraged and Franchisor generated.
The more professional the support, the more successful the franchisee is likely to be, which in turn benefits the whole franchise network.
Many franchise companies are now including business coaching as part of the support arrangement. The coaching can be by external consultants, or franchise support staff who are trained coaches. This support approach appears to work well and is appreciated by Franchisees.
Franchisor self appraisal
Be honest with yourself. Are your franchisees happy?
Do they respect you and do you respect them?
Have you ever had that discussion with them?
Does your support system provide the opportunity to have that discussion with them?
Maintaining healthy Relationships within a franchise system can be challenging, but it is extremely worthwhile for the Franchisor, the franchisee and the business as a whole.
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