A recent meeting with a franchisor highlighted the sometimes-huge differences we see in leadership commitment to understanding the franchisee perspective. At one end of the spectrum, there are many franchisor leaders that will actively [and sometimes bravely] solicit franchisee feedback, no matter how confronting. At the other end (and a smaller pool, we’d suggest), some leaders really don’t want to know – or are too scared to ask. In a recent meeting, a franchisor leader indicated words to the effect of “why would we want to rip off the band-aid” in reference to a process that would involve engaging with franchisees on their views and ideas.
We are of the view it is best practice for a leader of a franchise system to be brave and upfront about understanding all perspectives and insights possible. This is important for many reasons. For one, the business environment is changing at such a pace leaders need to keep abreast of all relevant information. And related, franchisees are a key stakeholder group interfacing with local markets and customers – meaning they have a critical perspective. This is before even mentioning that franchisees are a separate and important market in themselves to the franchisor. Inattention to franchisee views or concerns can easily drive many problematic issues for franchisors – including difficult relationships, a lack of franchisee engagement, franchisee resales, and so on.
Franchisee views can and should be solicited on a wide range of topics; not least:
- Their performance to expectations
- Their business outlook
- Business model concerns and suggestions
- Franchise support, including many areas
- Franchise leadership, etc
Franchisor leaders can seek franchisee feedback and ideas in many ways, not least by/through:
- Directly asking franchisees
- Information from field management visits
- Participation in group, regional meetings and conferences
- Franchisee satisfaction surveys
- Franchisee Advisory Council operation
- Franchisee performance groups
- Franchise system reviews
At Franchize Consultants we see a leadership commitment to genuinely understanding the franchisee perspective as an important best practice. Franchisor leaders should be actively harnessing franchisee perspectives and insights through many of the aforementioned forms and forums.
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.
We have assembled the first 40 best practices into The Best Practice Handbook, which is available for purchase.