The simplest way to get feedback from franchisees is to simply ask questions. But this is easier said than done. Author Tony Robbins says “Successful people ask better questions. As a result, they get better answers” and asking the right questions to your franchisees is like mining for gold in your franchise system as a whole.
This is the second part of our series on franchisee involvement. Firstly, we discussed why Franchisee Involvement is so important. Now we are going to do a deep dive on surveys.
The most obvious form of getting feedback from franchisees is a survey. At minimum, franchisors do this through the Annual Franchisee Satisfaction survey. I have written dozens of franchise satisfaction surveys and reviewed results as well as participated in various benchmarking programs. As discussed in the first post, this is a way for franchisor and franchisee to work together seamlessly as per the model shown in the puzzle diagram.
1. Have a Goal for the Survey
With your franchise satisfaction survey, you want to begin with the end in mind. Here are a few fantastic goals for a franchise survey:
Provide the best service to franchisees at the lowest cost to the franchisor.
Create an extraordinary franchise experience.
Having an inspiring yet achievable goal in place can help you stay focused on where you need to go, and what you need to do next.
2. Avoid the Negativity Bias
Working in a franchise environment, you tend to hear the complaints bubble up, and you hear less often from the happy people. After all, an emergency room nurse only sees people on the worst day of their life. When you are writing your survey, you therefore do not want to think only of the negative – I have literally seen a question on a survey stating “what are your issues with home office”?
If you do have a question that elicits criticism, you can have a balancing question that has the opposite. One analogue I like personally is of a vehicle, accelerating or decelerating. You could thus ask the question:
“What about home office moves your business forward faster?” followed by…
“What about home office slows your business down?”
This type of metaphor keeps it balanced and fair.
3. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
The Franchise Business Review, in 2018 list of their top 200 franchisees, offers advice on questions prospective franchisees should ask during their research process. Some of these questions can be great starting points for questions on your survey.
- To what extent would you agree with the following statements on a 7-point-scale where 1 is strongly disagree and 7 is strongly agree?
- I enjoy being part of this organization.
- I respect my franchisor
- My franchisor operates with a high level of honesty and integrity.
- Investment in this business has been consistent with my expectations.
- Would you “do it again” knowing what you know today? Please answer yes or no. This question can be followed with “why?”
Using some of these questions gives you an opportunity to benchmark your results against other systems and compare results.
4. It’s Not All About You
Another pitfall with annual franchise satisfaction surveys is the fact that some franchisors think it has to be “all about them”. In fact, the life of a franchisee is much more complex, and their biggest challenge may not be interfacing with home office at all. Instead, their #1 issue could be local environmental factor such as a new set of advertising regulations. Home office could help them with such factors.
One way that I resolve this, is with the “Top 3 Important Factors” question. The question could be stated like this:
- “What are the top 3 most important factors which are key to your success?”
- Lead generation
- Customer loyalty
- Government regulations
- Home Office Support
- Home Office Technology
After they rank their most important factors, you can add in a variable question after each: How satisfied are you with (insert each factor).
Getting an idea about what is most important in their everyday life gives you a much more global perception than simply asking about their interactions with home office. It can also help you design the experts, systems and technology to support the franchisees.
5. Follow the Pareto Principle
If you are in sales, sports or investments this is common sense. Any pro in a discipline that follows performance closely will tell you that 20% of effort gets you 80% of results. However, sometimes even the best franchises will get bogged down with old legacy programs that do not actually produce results or create satisfaction. One matrix that I enjoy using in surveys is the Importance vs. Value matrix.
A great way for you to measure if the franchisees are getting value from the programs that they find important is the “Importance vs. Satisfaction” matrix. Firstly, get everyone in your office to create a list of programs that you provide for the franchisees. Then ask them the following questions:
How would you rate the importance of the operations manual on a 7-point-scale where 1 is very unimportant, and 7 is very important?
- How important is this to you?
- How satisfied are you with it?
Direct Mail Program
- How important is this to you?
- How satisfied are you with it?
Afterwards, you can have it on a beautiful, all-encompassing slide as shown here.
I hope that you have been enjoying this series so far! Next, we are going to look into how to execute on franchisee committees flawlessly!
Stefania is the Sr. Marketing Director at FranchiseBlast. She comes from 20 years in the Marketing world, 10 of them in progressively Sr. positions in Marketing – most recently as the Director of Marketing and IT Development at Tutor Doctor. During the course of her career she has worked with companies like Microsoft, 3M, Shred-it and the Intercontinental Hotel. While at Shred-it, Stefania was recognized by Google as operating a best practice in managing a franchise PPC campaign and her website at Tutor Doctor won an “Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising” award by the Web Marketing Association in 2016.
Stefania has taken part in several speaking engagements across North America about entrepreneurship, franchising, marketing and technology and has volunteered for numerous organizations helping children, artists and educational institutions; she is a volunteer with Futurepreneur as a mentor, and does a number of community initiatives. She was also the past Communications Chair of the Queen’s Alumni Association of Toronto. She holds an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. She lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, Matthew and two children, AJ and Violet.