03 Feb Aligning the franchisee, employee and customer experience
Customer experience (CX) is at the top of every boardroom agenda. And rightly so, but equally (if not more) important is the employee experience (EX). It’s proven that CX and EX are inextricably aligned – engaged employees deliver far superior customer experiences. The world’s leading customer centric brands adopt an ‘employee first’ mentality,
“Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” – Richard Branson
They nurture this customer centric approach, applying the same engagement strategies for employees that they use to attract and retain customers. As a franchisor, there is another layer to add to this however, the franchisee experience (FX). But what’s the value in aligning all three? And how is it possible?
While all customers are not equal, neither are all franchisees
We regularly reference the fact that not all customers are equal. The same applies to employees and franchisees. They each have their own perception of what good looks like, for them personally, and for the brand they represent. Customer experience often takes priority over everything else. Many brands make the mistake of attempting to make impactful CX changes without receiving any internal buy-in support, feedback or recommendations.
There needs to be a clear transparency in order to achieve the best results. Consistency is vital for franchise networks and the franchisee experience. Customers have come to expect the same standards and experience from the whole network, not understanding that each has its own franchise owner at different maturities in the brand. They don’t care either.
Don’t become too far removed from your franchisees. Whilst your day to day responsibilities will differ greatly from theirs, remember that the franchisees are the lifeblood of the franchise network. They want to be heard and for their input to matter, take the time to listen to them, and their employees, the same as you would do for your customers. However, you need to be confident in your own decision making, and not respond to everything your franchisees ask for if you do not see the benefit.
Improving franchisee experience
There is almost a domino effect here. Greg Nathan, founder of the Franchise Relationships Institute (FRI) says “as a franchisor, you have a responsibility to educate your franchise owners and provide the tools and resources to educate their staff on what the brand stands for. Culture is caught, not taught.”
Improving the franchisee experience is highly reliant on engagement across company verticals. Credible, positive leadership and guidance from the top will filter through the franchise network, ensuring everyone is aligned and engaged – from staff on-boarding, learning and development, daily operations, financial management, customer service, handling feedback and marketing. HR, marketing and operational teams should be working hand-in-hand.
FRI’s brand engagement framework consists of the following five pieces:
1. Recruit quality franchisees
You need to be clear on the type of person who is a good fit for your business. Essentially you are recruiting a brand ambassador, someone who believes in the brand and is willing to support it. Some companies are now referring to this as their “franchisee avatar”.
Whilst growth is important, it won’t happen with the wrong person at the helm. A single mistake by one franchisee could have a detrimental impact on the brand, and you’re the one who will be held responsible.
2. Mentor franchisees for performance
Maintaining frequent contact with your franchisees is extremely important, we don’t just mean checking in to see how the numbers are looking. Franchisees need ongoing support and will be continuously learning.
Share best practice with them, arm them with the tools and resources they need to be able to do their jobs better. Be honest and work with them on improvement.
3. Listen to franchisee feedback
Franchisees are dealing with customers day in, day out – appreciate their position and experience. Be available to them and willing to listen. It’s not just customer feedback they will be relaying, but also employee feedback. Involve the right departments to action feedback effectively and efficiently.
4. Engage franchisees with the brand
We discussed this in our article ‘how to get your franchisees loving your customer program’. The only way you will succeed in gaining buy-in is by engaging your franchisees. Involve them, spend time on site with them to understand their individual situation.
5. Lead with credibility
Respect plays a huge role here. Prove to your franchisees (and their employees) that they can trust you, that their success is your success and vice versa. Additionally, work with them, offer support and mentorship. Be accessible. Do not make promises to customers without confirming your franchisees can deliver.
Aligning the franchisee experience
Aligning the customer experience, employee experience and franchisee experience is achievable, but only if it comes from the top. Transparency is key, don’t allow departments to work in silos, bring them together.
Engage your franchise networks, and give them the resources they need. This is the greatest way to ensure consistency.
Inspire and involve your franchisees to deliver a great customer experience and employee experience.
Customology are specialists in customer lifecycle management. We work with a number of leading franchise brands. Contact a Customologist today on 07 3902 7700 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how we can help your franchise design, build and execute a customer or loyalty program which benefits your customers – and your franchisees.