How to Resolve Franchisee Problems Effectively

resolve franchisee problems

It is true, when selling a franchise we sell systems, and then we coach them on how to navigate through those systems. But, what happens when there is a problem? This model of franchisee problem solving starts with determining if the franchisee problem is actually important. Surprisingly, sometimes you can determine that the franchisee may not be following the system perfectly, but it doesn’t really matter that much in the big picture. If it is a problem, then it is either a skill deficiency or a knowledge deficiency. If it is skill, then there should be some sort of training – executed by the training team, or by the coach themselves. If it is a knowledge deficiency – you want to figure out if it is a case of simply providing the information that the franchisee needs,or if you need to go into performance management.

This highly rational process is great to share with both new franchise coaches and experienced ones alike. It is also a positive spin on problem resolution. Instead of starting up a round of no one’s favorite activity: the “blame game” between franchisor and franchisee, going through this process analyzes what is going on, and moves towards a solution.

Franchisee Problem Resolution Process

When a franchisor first starts, the first question is often, “how do I sell more franchises?” Once that goal is achieved, there is a next challenge, “how do I solve problems with the franchisees that I have?” As with many phases in business, one challenge is often followed by a new, and sometimes even more difficult obstacle to overcome. In this post, we will take a look at a simple but powerful process for solving franchisee problems. We also worked with some of our friends in the franchising community to enrich the article with experiences.

Now for the fun part, let’s look at some examples:

Signage Example

Due to the popularity of off-premise sales, all stores are required to have a “Online Pick-up” sign. During an audit, the FBC saw that the store did not have that sign or a special area at all.

Is it a problem?

Yes – the fastest growing stores include online ordering. The store is also struggling to reach their growth goals.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Skills: The franchisee was more established in the system, and was not aware of this change. The FBC took some time explaining the benefits of off-premise, and talked about one of the franchisees long-time friends who was gaining a lot of traction in this area. After getting a post-audit task via e-mail, they promptly ordered as sign and created the designated area.

Outcome

Although the franchisee was violating the system, it was a more recent development, and they made the change promptly. It also gave the FBC some time to educate them on the off-premise opportunity, and get them engaged in the idea.

Customer Service Example

A customer calls into Home Office complaining that the franchisee is not picking up the phone. The receptionist smartly takes the order over the phone and e-mails it urgently to the franchisee. However, the Franchise Business Coach (FBC) has a problem. 

Is it a problem?

Yes – taking customer orders through the phone is key to the business.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Both: the FBC connected with the franchisee, and found that they did their customer calls at night, and could not pick up the phone. They followed the appropriate process in that they did not answer the phone while with a customer. However, the franchisee also did not check their voicemail regularly to call customers back in a timely manner. They knew that this was a bad habit, and that it violated the system – but sadly they did not see themselves making a change. 

Outcome 

The FBC recommended that the franchisee work with an answering service to resolve this problem. This way, calls get answered without the need for the franchisee to “break the flow” of their conversation on site with the customer.

Learning

Going through the process this way helped build a stronger relationship with the franchisee, and helped the FBC understand them better (such as a dislike for multitasking).

Sales and Marketing Example

Franchisee was using out of date marketing material which included an old logo and outdated message points.

Is it important?

Yes – keeping marketing material current is key to a strong brand.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Knowledge: The FBC discussed the issue with the franchisee, and discovered that she was putting saving costs ahead of keeping the brand consistent. Years earlier, she had invested in a large amount of flyers due to the economies of scale with printing. But, now those flyers were holding the business back from complying with brand standards. The FBC worked with the Marketing team to help the franchisee understand the importance of a consistent brand, and Marketing provided a recommendation of approved vendors who did smaller printing runs so this would not happen in the future.

Outcome

Due to this handling of the issue by everyone involved, the franchisee became an advocate in her region about brand consistency. Treating it fairly helped strengthen the system as a whole.

Parting Thoughts

This simple and smart process can help your franchise on many levels. It is also even better if it is automated. Check out FranchiseBlast’s brand consistency tools, which includes post-audit tasks, to learn more.



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