Many franchisors do have a Franchise Satisfaction Survey, but often those surveys are simply repeats of previous years and lack survey goals, with a few extra questions peppered in there for good measure. As a result, the Franchise Satisfaction initiative can be a lot of busy work, with few results. While some opt to use a professional service such as Franchise Business Review to stay current, others are actively exploring the process, which is likely why our Franchise Surveys Done Right post holds such wide appeal, it consistently being one of the most popular posts on this website.
The first step to changing how you survey, is to have a goal.
If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going, Any Road Will Get You There
Starting your survey process without a survey goal, is like going on a long journey without a destination. In a franchisor’s very real world of limited resources, this approach simply makes no sense. It is okay for a survey goals to be broad. According to SurveyMonkey, “Keep these top research questions in mind—they’re too broad to give you actionable information, but they’ll give you a good idea of how people feel generally. You’ll form more specific survey questions to ask about narrower topics.”
Good questions to ask during the goal-setting process are quite straighforward. Sometimes it is a case where the answer is so obvious, it is hard to see.
- What are we trying to figure out with this exercise?
- Why do we need to know this?
- What do we hope to do with this data once we are done?
Getting answers to this can also help you with getting responses, since you will ask the What’s In It For Me (WIIFM) for the franchisees. Although goals differ by organization, it can be helpful to see sample goals to kickstart the process.
1. Measure franchisee satisfaction and compare it to previous years or benchmarks.
This is the franchisee satisfaction survey after all, so this is an obvious sample goal. Comparing it to previous years means that you will have to have some common questions, so you will not be starting from ground zero. Additionally, if you are part of a wider organization that owns a number of franchise groups, you may want to create some comparisons with sister or brother companies to create a benchmarking exercises and later trade best practices. There is a difference between robotically copying questions of others for no reason, and intentionally selecting specific questions for comparative purposes.
2. Establish a positive relationship with your franchisees.
When you open lines of communication in this way, it shows that you value what your franchisees have to say. Transparently showing your franchisees the results of the survey through an annual conference presentation by a senior leader, or a webinar will demonstrate to them that you have a real commitment to collaboration.
3. Receive feedback regarding the support services head office provides.
Some of the hardest working people are within the franchising community. But, sometimes we are so hard at work, that we have little time to see the impact that our work is having. Busy work is not the same as effective work. If there is a lot of effort going into something with little business value and little value to satisfaction, it may be time to discontinue it. Conversely, you may be surprised to see some more obscure initiatives creating a lot of satisfaction so it could be a good idea to explore those, and find more like them.
4. Learn more about what your franchisees want, need and like.
This goal is subtly different from the goal above as it takes a more global perspective on your franchisees. You are thinking about their entire experience, rather than only looking at the one head office provides. For example, their biggest need may be around local competition or recruiting in a hot economy. Head office could help with introductions to a franchisee who has had success already overcoming this problem, rather than creating an elaborate program.
5. Determine how flexible franchisees are and what supports they need for a planned change
A difficult reality of working in a franchise head office environment is that you cannot put the toothpaste back in the tube again. If you have rolled out something difficult and it has created frustration and even anger among franchisees, it is hard to reverse course. Understanding sentiment before-hand can help you see how flexible franchisees are to change and what supports that they need. Whether it is renovations or a new product line, sometimes change is inevitable. But rolling it out with appropriate supports, such as training and feedback loops, can make a huge difference.