Published April 16, 2015

McDonalds Illustrates the Need to Strategically Respond to Franchisee Satisfaction Data

“McDonald’s Franchisees: We Will Continue to Fall and Fail”, stood out among the news headlines addressing how dissatisfied many of McDonald’s franchisees are.

The lesson franchisors should take away from what McDonald’s is contending with is that it is crucial to never lose sight of the importance of franchisee satisfaction, which depends on how the experiences of your franchise owners compare with their expectations.

High franchisee satisfaction is attainable by almost any franchise that is committed to making it a priority.

Every interaction your franchisees have with your system including promotional materials, operating manuals, training and support systems, company culture, staff, and fellow franchisees is an opportunity to positively influence the four stages in the satisfaction cycle: expectations, experience, satisfaction and the final bottom-line impacting stage, behavior.

No matter how much contact you have with your franchisees, it is important to regularly and systematically measure satisfaction since needs and expectations are constantly evolving. Satisfaction surveys should be conducted annually, ideally by a third party since participation is typically higher and franchisees reveal more. It is interesting to note that as stated in yesterday’s Mother Jones article that Wall Street analyst Mark Kalinowski of Janney Capital Markets, who has been surveying McDonalds franchisees for a decade, only surveyed 32 of McDonald’s approximately 3,100 franchisees during his most recent survey of the brand. This is an exceptionally small percentage.

If McDonald’s current relationship with its franchisees is not enough for you to invest in understanding what the majority of your franchisees are happy with and what they are not pleased with, consider the many system-strengthening benefits satisfied franchisees deliver.

Top 10 Behaviors of Satisfied Franchisees

1. Work harder
2. Follow the system
3. Make more money
4. Easier to manage
5. More loyal to the brand
6. Bring good ideas to the table
7. Create a marketing or public relations opportunity
8. Validate better
9. Refer more candidates
10. Renew their franchise agreements

It is important to note that regularly surveying your franchisees is simply not enough. It is crucial to ACT on their feedback in order to make strategic improvements to your system. Doing so will show your franchisees they are valued and should result in a stronger bottom line for your brand and your franchisees.

About the Author: Michelle Rowan

Michelle is the president of FBR, chair of the International Franchise Association Women's Franchise Committee, and a Certified Franchise Executive. She has facilitated CEO Performance Groups and Executive Networking Groups and is also a mentor of UNH college students. When she is not at work she is usually reading, playing outside, or hanging out with her husband and daughter.
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