History has demonstrated the importance of having an active Crisis Management Plan. This should be regarded as a core franchisor responsibility.
While some companies will clearly be more susceptible to potential crises, there are a myriad of situations that could impact any franchise organisation. Crises could be generated from customer interactions (e.g., food poisoning, poor staff behaviour or customer service etc), franchisees or the franchise relationship (e.g., poor employment practice, franchise disputes etc), the internal business (e.g., data breach) and a variety of other possibilities (e.g., earthquakes, armed hold-ups, social media etc). Importantly, even the strongest and best managed franchising companies, as for any other form of business, could have a crisis hit at any time.
Crises can easily emanate externally, at no fault of a company. They therefore demand preparation.
Examples of key areas that should be covered within a Crisis Management Plan include:
- Identification and planning (including possible responses) for likely crisis scenario situations
- Procedures and training for franchisees, franchisee staff and franchise support office staff on how to deal with a crisis and associated media interest
- Identification of a crisis management team, including a leader / spokesperson in charge of issuing public statements
- A schedule for regular media training, company and stakeholder training, and crisis management plan updates
Active crisis management planning will help respond effectively to a crisis, and thereby help limit damage to brand reputation, operations and profit. Experts also suggest active crisis management planning can help significantly reduce the likelihood of a crisis in the first place.
Finally, we suggest the use of specialists in preparing Crisis Management Plans. In New Zealand, franchise organisations should consider specialists like Pete Burdon of Franchise Media Training. In the words of Pete:
“It’s too late to deal with a situation when it happens. Success is all about speed of response and it will always be slow if there’s no plan.”
About the Franchising Best Practice 500 Series
This is part of a series of franchising best practices. Franchize Consultants is sharing and publishing these best practices weekly for the betterment of franchising. We know that better knowledge and execution of franchising best practices leads to bigger and more valuable franchisor and franchisee businesses.
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