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Unbelievable but true franchising story

Posted by Carolyn Dufton on 8 April 2011
Unbelievable but true franchising story

Let me tell you a story.

All my friends and business associates know my interest in "all things franchising" and often share their experiences with me. One of my business friends told me an astonishing tale which as a Franchisor you really need to hear and heed.

A large franchise, offering a consumer service, that advertises on an ongoing basis on TV, radio and in magazines is the subject of this story.

Let's call the customer Mary. Mary had rung the local Franchisee on 3 occasions to arrange a quotation for, let's call the service cleaning. Mary was keen to get the cleaning organised  a.s.a.p. and was really disappointed that she was greeted with a voicemail message on those 3 occasions she called. She left a clear message with a return phone number and asked the Franchisee to call her back urgently.

After a week of no returned call, Mary in sheer exasperation called in to the shop front. The Franchisee Jack was busy shuffling mountains of paperwork and muttering to himself, meanwhile ignoring Mary completely.

Mary, now losing patience with this complete lack of customer service introduced herself to Jack and asked why her 3 calls had not been returned.

"Listen lady, if you had as many people ringing as I do, you'd have to turn your phone off too. I'd never get anything done. Listen to this ." Jack put his mobile on loudspeaker "you have 62 new messages." "THAT's why I didn't return your calls" Jack shouted. The b Franchisor keeps spending all our marketing levy on b. TV advertising and the phone never stops. I'm having a breakdown. How they think I can cope with all this business I don't know, but they just don't listen. Anyway now you're here, what do you want?"

Needless to say Mary walked out at this point and has shared her tale and complaint with many.

Is your jaw on your chest? Yes of course. It's an unbelievable but true story.

But could this happen in your franchise? What checks and measures do you have in place to ensure it's not your business losing its reputation?

Here are some strategies that can assist you.

  • Is there a defined level of sales where you advise Franchisees that they will need to employ an extra staff member?
  • Are your franchisees capable of running a business? or have they just bought themselves a job?
  • Engaging mystery shoppers on a regular basis with the Franchisee's knowledge ensures that the Franchisees know any major misdemeanor would be identified.
  • Are your Franchisees trained and confident in handling busy periods such as pre Christmas trading?
  • Do you communicate regularly with your Franchisees regarding national advertising campaigns?
  • Are you and the Franchisees testing and measuring the results of your advertising? This is crucial.
  • An overload of business spasmodically is not good business practice and is extremely difficult to service. If you know what advertising makes the phone ring, share this knowledge with the franchisees and help them be prepared for the extra business.
  • Guidelines and directives regarding new business enquiries are imperative. Every operations manual should detail customer service standards.
  • Has your franchise system addressed whether a Franchisee has the choice to turn new business away? This is a very important consideration in any franchise and The Franchisor should ensure that the Franchisees clearly understand their obligations.

It is most businesses' dream to run an advertising campaign that results in the phone running hot. Before you invest in such a campaign ensure you have the service systems in place to stop the dream turning into a nightmare.

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Author: Carolyn Dufton
About: Carolyn Dufton Dip. Bus (Franchising) heads the team as the owner and manager of franchisingplus. Carolyn has a wealth of small business experience, and many years of hands on franchising experience.
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Tags: Franchisee Franchisor Franchising

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