Think It’s Too Soon to Survey Your Franchisees? Think Again.
How surveying NOW leads to smarter growth and establishes a roadmap for the future of your system
“Why didn’t I get feedback from my franchisees sooner?” This seems to be the first question that comes our way from a franchise team after they work with Franchise Business Review for the first time. I love this question. I always grin and say, “You’re not alone in asking me that question.”
But why is this?
Why does it take so long for franchisors to finally pull the trigger and say, “YES, I WANT to hear what my franchisees think, I WANT to see how we stack up against others in the industry, and I WANT to do something about this feedback.”?
Maybe it’s the fear of hearing the unknown, maybe it’s competing priorities or lack of time to invest in a new project. Or maybe it’s because the franchisor doesn’t think their system is big enough to survey. To all of that, I’m going to say, please take a moment to listen to my conversation with Rob Flanagan, COO of Hounds Town USA.
If you don’t know about Hounds Town USA, they started franchising in 2012 and now have 70 franchise owners. They’re not the biggest nor the oldest franchise brand in the industry. So why would they survey right now?
Rob explains, “What I’ve always tried to do is bring in Franchise Business Review as early as possible to get a benchmark of where we are with our franchisees. I’d rather do it early. That helps us gauge our roadmap for the future.”
Hounds Town isn’t alone. Franchise Business Review has worked with hundreds of brands over the years and the most successful brands understand that a franchisee survey is a foundational pillar of sustainable growth.
5 Reasons to Survey Franchisees Before You Grow Your System
1. Spot potential pitfalls (and opportunities) early. Gathering feedback from your franchisees gives them a chance to voice their honest concerns, including what’s working and what could be better.In the beginning stages of being a franchise owner, isn’t this where feedback can be the most valuable? Why wait for them to feel disgruntled before gathering their feedback? Gathering data sooner rather than later allows you to make adjustments, and test them out, while your system is still small.
2. Establish a baseline benchmark. Not only can you benchmark how your system compares to other systems now, including those of a similar size or industry, but you have a baseline score against which you can measure your progress year over year as your system grows to make it stronger. As Rob explains, “It’s one thing to do the survey. It’s another thing to use the data and that’s really the value is—using the data to effect change.”
3. Set expectations and build trust. It’s important to establish a formal feedback process from the very beginning. This helps set the expectation with your franchisees, builds trust, and ensures their continual involvement.
4. Save time for your franchisees. If your system is growing, your franchisees are spending a lot of time validating with candidates. Providing candidates with data from existing franchisees alleviates some of the burden on franchisees. It ensures candidates ask better, more educated questions and don’t waste time asking basic questions that can be easily answered.
5. Sell more franchises! Being proactive and understanding engagement within your brand, especially in the beginning stages, isn’t just an operational tool. You’re taking a vital piece of a franchise system—your franchisees’ voices— and using that to help bring on more of the right candidates. If you have strong results, this is a way to continue building your brand by finding the franchisees that fit the culture and values of your organization. Rob Flanagan said it best, “It helps with franchise sales. When I’m in a Discovery Day, I pull up the FBR survey and I say, ‘This is where we are today, this is where we want to maintain,’ and that helps find the right franchisees because what we’re looking for is the right fit. So in the franchise development part, it’s hugely critical.” Not to mention, winning an award is an opportunity to gain media attention and showcase third-party recognition of the work you’re doing to support franchisees.
I know it might seem scary to ask these questions or too time-consuming or overwhelming to go through the data, but there’s a reason over 1,100 franchise brands are already doing this. They all recognize that the best way to make something better is to know about it in the first place, and the only way you can do that is to ask.
Franchise Business Review is here to help. We survey franchise brands with as few as 10 franchisees open and operating, up to some of the largest franchise systems in the world. We’re happy to share our standard benchmark questions with you and help you craft your own custom questions to make sure you get the most valuable insights to streamline your operations and grow your brand the right way.
Free 10-Minute Demo
What are your franchisees saying about your brand? It could be tanking your marketing and development efforts.
Now’s the time to find out. In 10 minutes, we’ll show you how to get:
A confidential assessment of your brand
Your FSI benchmark score, which shows where you rank
The opportunity to be recognized as a Top Franchise award winner
As the Senior Consultant, Courtney handles new business development, as well as ongoing client relations and account management within FBR. As a person who is passionate about making sure every business can succeed, Courtney loves to get creative in helping franchisors exceed their goals. Outside of work, you can find Courtney going on adventures with her Golden Retriever, Tuckerman and watching any New England sports team!
Franchise Business Review is the leading market research firm in the franchise sector specializing in franchisee satisfaction and employee engagement. Since 2005, we have helped more than 1,100 franchise brands drive better results. Let us put our insights to work for you.