by Sasha-Lee de Bod

The overall success of the franchise system is conditional to the contribution and efforts of both the franchisor and franchisee.

Being a franchisor, you are now in the people business and franchisees are effectively seen as your customers. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure high levels of satisfaction.

In an everchanging environment it is getting more difficult to manage perceived expectations to ensure overall satisfaction.

High satisfaction levels are achievable if franchisors are committed to franchisees. Franchisors needs to ensure that their infrastructure has adequate time and resources available to ensure the success and continuity of the franchise network.

Defining Satisfaction

Franchisee satisfaction can be defined as how a franchisee’s experiences compares with their expectations.  Satisfaction levels will be high when expectations are met or exceeded. It is important to understand a franchisee’s expectations or the importance they attach to different attributes. Each interaction with a franchisee will result in some form of experience; franchisors need to ensure that these experiences are unique and add value in terms of the brand, product and service offering, operations and procedure manual, training and support systems, relationships with franchisees and staff, etc.

These interactions are setting the expectations in the minds of the franchisees therefore, it is crucial to set franchisee expectations early on – always remember the golden rule: under-promise and over-deliver. It is important to be realistic and clear when setting expectations and managing these expectations through communication and continuous interaction.

Frequently, circumstances arise where efforts and contributions of the franchisor or franchisee does not meet adequate levels and issues/problems arises.  If these issues persist and spread it might cause a decrease in overall satisfaction of the franchise network. Therefore, measuring satisfaction will be a very effective tool to identify elements and strategies to be developed and implemented accordingly.

Measuring Satisfaction

Measuring satisfaction is a very effective strategy to improve relationships with your franchisees and ensuring success and commitment during their franchise agreement.  This will give franchisors the insight they need to make better decisions.

Communication will be critical when measuring satisfaction.  Franchisors need to explain to franchisees:

  • Why satisfaction is important
  • Methods that will be used for measuring satisfaction and how information will be collected:
    • Qualitative methods such as franchisee focus group and workshops
    • Quantitative methods such as an electronic survey
  • What type of information will be collected for example:
    • Understanding franchisee expectations
    • Determine areas that franchisees are most satisfied with
    • Finding out where you are failing and identifying problem areas that needs addressing
    • Assessing your competition
    • Marketing effectiveness
    • Franchisee loyalty
    • Effectiveness of your support infrastructure
    • Effectiveness of your communication
    • Training efficiencies and requirements
    • Measuring the emotional aspects of franchisees e.g. likelihood to renew franchise agreement after term expired, would they recommend the franchise to friends, would they recommend the brand product and service offering to others
    • Identifying new opportunities for the network
    • Financial expectations
    • Overall satisfaction
  • How information gained from survey will be used to improve the franchise network, ensuring sustainability and determining the direction of the franchise

Sharing results

It is very important to provide feedback on the results of this initiative with franchisees to promote a trusting and open culture within the network.  Information can be shared at convention meetings, roadshows or any franchisee gathering to make them feel actively part of the transformation and progress of the network.  Franchisees need a voice therefore, a franchisee representative council (consisting of selected franchisees) should be elected and involved in discussion and decisions.

Monitoring of Franchisee Satisfaction 

Monitoring of franchisee satisfaction should not be a once off project, this needs to be monitored regularly by conducting regular surveys or focus groups.  The period will differ per industry needs and might be influenced by seasonality.  In most instances franchises measure their franchisee satisfaction annually. Annual measuring will allow the franchisor to measure changing perceptions and expectations from franchisees (comparative measuring tool) over a period.

Strategise and act

Once the franchisor has analysed the data and results, strategies need to be developed and implemented accordingly to improve the overall satisfaction outcome.  Prioritise areas in terms of urgency and tend to them accordingly.  Communicate progress openly and involve franchisees where necessary.

Outsourced Service Providers

It has been proven that an outsourced service provider will achieve higher response rates from franchisees and more willingness to participate as they feel more inclined to interact and voice opinions.  They are more specialised and experienced in developing and designing content for these research tools. Survey or focus group/workshop results will be more credible as these providers are impartial and objective to the franchise network.

How we can help you

We can assist franchisors to customise each franchisee focus group/workshop and satisfaction survey to meet the needs of the franchisor to determine the current franchisee relationship climate within the network.  We can assist with data capturing, analysis and presentation of results.  For more information contact us