In this information age, everyone talks about how you need to track everything in franchising. And you can! From click through rates (CTR) on your website to the cost per transaction, analytics are a great thing.
But even though we have the tools at our disposal and quite often even a dashboard with a summary of multiple facts of our business, we fail to really learn what they all mean. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees.
All this data is wasted.
As a franchise owner, you probably have invested both time and money into analytics and/or a dashboard solution to help your franchisees. You did this because you understand the positive impact they can have on any organization.
Done right, they can ultimately have a positive impact the bottom line.
So why aren’t your franchisees utilizing them?
There are five main reasons that may be holding your franchisees back from using data to really enhance their performance.
1. Too Much Data
Have you ever driven by someone’s front lawn at Christmas where there are a huge amount of decorations and lights? While individually they look good, everything together is way too overwhelming.
That’s how many franchisees see their dashboards – information overload.
They don’t know where to focus. Experiencing “data overwhelm”, they choose to skip over it rather than try to make sense of it.
Take email for example. Workers spend 50% of their time just finding and reading emails. And with today’s inboxes getting overloaded with work emails and a large variety of ‘junk’ they get disorganized very quickly. In fact, 26% of all people want to delete their inbox and just start from scratch.
Just as we need to pare down the information that is received into our inbox, you need to reduce the amount of information shown on your franchisee’s dashboard.
For analytics to really be impactful, you need to narrow the data down to a few key pieces.
Choose information that they can act upon today. Think back to SMART goals:
- Specific: it should be clear what you’re reviewing.
- Measurable: if you can measure it, you can improve it.
- Actionable: the scorecard should guide action; if you can’t impact it, don’t include it.
- Relevant: if it’s not related to your objectives, it’s not important.
- Time-specific: they should vary over time.
Narrowing the selection of analytics included on your Franchisee’s dashboard those that meet SMART requirements, can go a long way towards helping your Franchisees utilize them more frequently. They will see value in the data, not just numbers.
2. It isn’t Actionable
How would you feel if your fitness coach said only tracked the number of pull-ups you could do?
It’s like telling your franchisee they had X number of customers last quarter. What is he supposed to take away from that? It’s not actionable.
Just as a coach needs to give his trainee advice that they can use to improve their performance, you need to do the same for your franchisees. Give them something they can focus on for the next period, otherwise the franchisees can experience “paralysis by analysis”.
One example of an actionable insight is the metric ‘discount percentage’. When benchmarked against other franchises, if yours is higher, you can take steps to decrease it.
Give your franchisees actionable data and show top weaknesses first, the first thing they need to address before moving onto something else.
Keep in mind that not all franchises are alike. If you are doing a comparison you, need to do so with an equivalent group. If some of your franchises are located in a food court and others are restaurant style, they shouldn’t be compared against each other. Try to keep comparisons fair, apples-to-apples. If it isn’t a fair comparison it will be ignored, and they may start to distrust the system.
3. It Doesn’t Inspire Change
Everyone has a growing list of things to do, and as a business owner yours is possibly longer than most.
Because of this it’s easy to let your franchisees swim alone once they’ve had their training and are up and running. You assume that they’ll know how to use the information they get via analytics.
But they also have that ever-growing list.
And that information they want them to sift through? It just becomes another “job” on that list. Rather than helping them enhance their operations, it gets pushed aside for more pressing tasks because they don’t realize, or can’t interpret, the value it holds.
A bunch of facts and figures isn’t very inspiring to many.
To make it inspire change – keep the lines of communication open with the franchisees, and “shine the spotlight” on best practices.
- 70% of workers said that they would work harder if their efforts were appreciated.
- Engaged companies out-performed unengaged companies by 167%
The bottom line? Engage with your franchisees in more ways than just sharing numbers, show your appreciation of them with the entire Franchise. For example, instead of just displaying the franchises with the top sales numbers, remembering apples-to-apples, give the smaller franchises a chance to shine by also featuring the best young franchises, food court franchises etc.
4. It’s not Timely
How many times have you heard “hindsight is 20/20”?
As a business owner you know how important it is to have up-to-date information as soon as it becomes available. You would get it yesterday if you could.
As a franchisee, getting information when it is too late is very discouraging. If their dashboard is full of old data, it does nothing for them. Even if it is ‘actionable’ if it’s outdated it won’t help them improve their business and therefore their bottom line.
This can make them feel powerless. And there is no point in communicating something when they are powerless to make change.
For a business to flourish you need the lines of communication open.
Data should be flowing both ways regularly to keep the motivation going. Give them the tools and information to make better informed decisions and the ability to see where they are at in relation to their peers.
5. They don’t Understand It
Remember Shakespeare in High School? Back then, you had time to do a deep dive into the meaning, and maybe not even then. You don’t want your Scorecard to be Shakespeare, you want it to be simple and straightforward – think of the headlines of the daily news, or even Twitter.
Complicated metrics, with multiple meanings, can cause this same confusion. Leading to debates and arguments rather than solving a problem, they have the opposite effect of what you want.
“Fuzzy” or vague interpretations can have just as negative effect. People will not take the information seriously. For example, if you have a “stated sales number” but rarely collect, the better metric can be revenue, or money in the bank.
In short, when pulling together data, remember that many Franchisees do not love numbers. Think KISS: keep it simple, stupid.
In a nutshell…
Franchising is all about relationships – and that extends to reporting. If you really want your franchisees to grow, clear and helpful analytics is a great place to start.
Proper reporting, when done right, enhances transparency and increases engagement.
But you can’t just share any numbers that sounds good. You need to deliver actionable data that your franchisees can use to improve their business. Also, keeping it true by only comparing apples to apples can help strengthen their trust. If they stop trusting it, you are not in a good place.
With Franchise Scorecards, franchisees can customize their dashboards to the information that is most relevant to them, and you can better share data that is relevant to all. Helping you all to grow together.
Keep is simple. Keep it SMART.