Who is the boss and what do franchise directors need to know?
You've heard the phrase 'Customer is King' a thousand times but in this new world of social media they might actually start running things in franchising. How can this be?
We are all consumers whether at home or at work and so we make decisions whether in a B2B or B2C transaction. I'm presuming you have given feedback online; whether it's a rating by simply clicking on the 5 stars on Facebook and Google or a more in depth review on TripAdvisor, eBay or Amazon, most of us have given some sort of feedback.
The advent of the smartphone twinned with social media has enabled your consumers and followers of your brands to effortlessly provide feedback in seconds and the likes of TrustPilot and FeeFo are demonstrating the importance to their customers. I recently went to Cornwall for half term and our whole trip was based on the information we gathered from reviews online. By the time we were home we'd provided a number of comments to the places we had been.
A UK franchise director once explained to me the reason why they weren't on Twitter was that "people just go on and slag us off" and that he'd prefer not to get involved. I quickly explained that customers would be talking about his brand on Twitter whether he was involved or not and if they really were complaining then perhaps Twitter was the least of his worries!
Your customers' actions and feedback is not only crucial but part of how you and your powers that be should be running the business.
Google have also long recognised the benefit of feedback when providing search engine results. They have updated their algorithms giving more credence to up to date reviews (see Google Pigeon). The more often your customers post genuine reviews the higher up Google your website will appear. The more you publish feedback on your own site too, the better your SEO. Similarly the more you give your customers comments a role in the formation of strategy and listen to the bad reviews more than the good then your franchise brand and business will move forward.
Some important review sites to look into:
Planning suggestions for Franchisors:
- Set up a process to request customer feedback online every time.
- Use a third party provider such as the aforementioned TrustPilot or FeeFo as it lists better with search engines and adds further credibility.
- Address issues every day with trained and empowered staff.
- Be human and public at every stage possible although if it gets nasty or personal then take it offline until resolved.
- Make sure buy-in to the process starts at the top. Your CEO (if that's not you) needs to understand.
- Filter down and throughout your franchise network and all stakeholders in the business the importance of the Internet and what it can do for your brand.
Connect with Richard Dancy
Franchise Intelligence Senior Consultant
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