In any relationship, the key to success and longevity is open and constant communication. The franchisor-franchisee relationship is no exception. Franchise organizations must use the right knowledge sharing strategies and tools to keep franchise owners connected to each other and the larger organization. Making sure there’s transparency and clear communication across franchise locations will help to maintain and improve the brand, company culture, and the customer/employee experience.
Maintain Company Culture Remotely
Consider the brands that you encounter every day in your community. Whether you set foot in a Starbucks in Portland, New York City, or Tokyo, you will be greeted in a similar fashion, by employees dressed in black tops and green aprons. You’ll hear the same music in the same cozy lighting, expect certain values to be upheld, and expect the larger organization to step in when those values are not upheld.
When franchises span state lines, country borders, and even oceans, establishing and maintaining company culture between franchisor and franchisee is no easy feat. The best way to make sure that every franchisee stays up to date on branding, protocol, corporate values, and more is to set up a knowledge sharing platform where users can find documentation, post comments, and ask questions. Franchisors can upload their operations manual, post their mission statement, and even share videos demonstrating best practices for franchisees, and franchisees can search for the content they need when they need it.
A knowledge sharing platform brings all franchise content into one searchable place so that everyone can access the same information– and stay connected to the rest of the organization.
Let Franchisees Learn from One Another
If you’re responsible for training franchise owners for your organization, you likely already have a structured training program that may include both on-site and online sessions. However, it’s important to keep in mind that there are also benefits to franchise owners learning from one another in a less formal setting.
Imagine that your company is a franchise gym. Chances are, many of your franchisees are encountering the same questions and challenges (real estate, recruiting and hiring, health and safety codes, permits, managing the books, et cetera) as they try to get their business off the ground. Now imagine that all these franchisees had a platform where they could ask one another questions and share things they’ve learned from their experience, as well as refer back to previous training documents and videos.
With knowledge sharing, franchisees aren’t just connected to the franchisor– they are connected to each other. For example, by reading other franchise owners accounts of what they looked for when choosing a location, franchisees can learn what’s worked well (or not so well) in the past, ask follow-up questions, and use the information to make a more informed decision.
If franchisees have a question that they can’t find an answer for in existing training materials or online content, they can ask that question in the knowledge sharing platform and get an answer from seasoned franchise owners. And since other franchise owners likely have the same question, the benefit of the answer will extend beyond the person who originally asked it.
Easily Implement Changes Across Franchises
Things change. And as rapidly as every aspect of consumerism is becoming more and more centered around the latest technology, it’s no surprise that the systems and operations of franchises are constantly changing and evolving.
Successful knowledge sharing between franchisors and franchisees means that no time is lost when implementing the changes necessary to keep the company competitive. When changes occur that affect all franchisees, franchisors can immediately post a thorough explanation of the change, the benefits of the change, and a step-by-step process of exactly how the change is to be implemented, reducing wasted resources on in-person trainings and improving transparency across the company.
Enable Feedback And Collaboration
The franchisor-franchisee relationship is not a one way street. Although it is vital to company success that franchise owners remain consistent with the brand and quickly take instructions from the franchisor, it is equally important that franchisors listen and react to the feedback of their franchisees.
A knowledge sharing platform paves the way for franchise owners to share how changes from headquarters affect their day-to-day operations and offer suggestions and new ideas without having to schedule a meeting or phone call. For example, if your company is making changes to its Franchise Advisory Council, you could post about those changes in your knowledge sharing platform, and franchise owners could comment on the post if they have feedback or want to know more.
As franchises continue to multiply, knowledge sharing becomes even more vital to the success of the organization. Connect and collaborate through knowledge to grow your business, strengthen relationships between your company and your franchisees, and most importantly, keep customers coming back for more.