Recent studies have shown that communication is today’s most important skill - something we already believed even without seeing data to support it. Effective communication shapes all essential relationships. To grow a business, it’s not enough to come up with a great strategy; you also need to work hard to communicate it clearly.
There are many times during which good communication, both upwards and downwards, will benefit you and your business. In the world of franchising, three particularly critical ones stand out: onboarding, introducing new products and providing support to franchisees.
The franchisee onboarding process offers you an important chance to nurture your new location owners. This is their initial introduction into the world of your brand, and they are trusting your franchise to provide a successful living for themselves and their families. If this introduction is positive, it boosts your relationship with your franchisee and gets them off to the right start. If it isn’t positive, you walk into a poor relationship with a higher potential of failure for both sides.
Proper communication with your signees during onboarding is particularly essential due to the costs involved with a new location. For example, if building costs are excessive, poor contractor choices or unnecessary spending by your new franchisee could be the cause. If you don’t pick that up early in the build-out process, construction costs can get out of control and far surpass what the franchisee was expecting. This also could lead to a delay in getting your new location to market, which will create a loss in revenue and cause some very uncomfortable conversations with your new franchisee.
When you propose new initiatives or products
As a franchisor, it is important for you to gain feedback from your locations. When you are proposing new initiatives for your brand, you will find it beneficial to communicate with your long-term and trusted franchisees to gain their insight and support. In addition, you should ask you team of franchisees for input on new products. This can boost their engagement with your brand and show them that they are an important piece of the organization.
When franchisees need support
Another key area for communication is managing franchisee support requests. They should be easy to create and your franchisees should have visibility into how their issues are being resolved in real time. Having a system that allows your team to quickly triage your franchisee’ requests, pull in necessary team members, and resolve issues in a timely manner is critical to your franchisee relationships.
One final note: as the leader of your organization, you are the head communicator, too. If you don’t take advantage of opportunities to communicate with your franchisees, and if you don’t create good systems to support communications, it’s not likely that others will do either for you. You set the tone. Don’t let a lack of productive communication become normal in your organization.
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