Strategically Leveraging Franchisee Satisfaction Data Helps Wild Birds Unlimited Soar

Wild Birds Unlimited has a “How did I do?” culture. We are constantly reaching out to customers, vendors and employees to answer this question.

Surveying our franchisees using a third party brings an unbiased perspective to the table and fits right into our culture. The data enables us to see how we are doing from our franchisees’ perspective. We use what we learn to celebrate where we are doing well and to improve upon other areas.

We understand our franchisees could opt out of taking our survey, so we encourage their participation by taking actionable steps based on their feedback:

  1. Ask Detailed Custom Questions

We obtain strategic information that is more specific to our support from our franchisees by adding customized questions on our survey. Doing so enables us to drill down into the data. For example, we ask our franchisees to share feedback on their business coach. Their responses show which coaches are exceeding expectations or where there are opportunities for improvement. From here we can identify how a coach is providing exceptional service and share those best practices with the other coaches and provide additional training where needed to the coaching team.

  1. Hold Franchise Support Center Accountable

When looking at the performance of our Franchise Support Center, we consider overall satisfaction rankings in four key areas of the survey: ongoing support, overall satisfaction, communication, and financial picture. Each year we look at our rankings in these areas and formulate specific goals we want to reach the following year.

  1. Gauge Performance

If our survey scores drop, we look at what happened by drilling down into individual franchisee comments. We then prioritize what we need to focus on in order to make the most positive difference in the next 12 months. When we meet or exceed goals we set for particular areas, we celebrate!

  1. Build a Stronger Culture

Our franchisees want to be affiliated with a high-performing brand. They take pride in being part of a strong team that seeks their input. By surveying our franchisees and sharing the results, as well as the steps we are taking to improve our brand based on their feedback, it shows their opinion is valued and that we are committed to strengthening our brand. Doing the same internally ensures our corporate staff understands where we stand and are aligned on where we are headed.

We share our survey results and plan of action with our franchisees and our internal team in a variety of ways including departmental meetings, staff meetings, our intranet, daily emails, our annual enterprise leadership conference, and video blogs.

  1. Attract Strong Candidates and Close More Deals

We leverage our full franchisee satisfaction survey results vs. a high-level summary of them to attract strong candidates. We promote our survey on our franchise development and public facing websites, and email it to prospective candidates who went cool in order to reignite their interest.

We also use it in our marketing materials and as part of our validation process. Prospective candidates are required to review it in great depth, and are asked what they learned during our candidate Q&A sessions. Questions we ask include what they liked about what they read and if they identified areas where they think improvements should be made. The process delivers an exceptional level of transparency to candidates and weeds out those who would not be a good match for our system.

We believe building franchisee satisfaction is the number one key to Wild Birds Unlimited’s long-term success. At this point, we have over a decade of consistent franchisee satisfaction data. It enables us to see how our brand is evolving year-over-year and how we stack up in the overall franchise space. We already have our next franchisee satisfaction survey lined up for next year to take place in October.

FBR Note: Wild Birds Unlimited awarded 15 franchises in 2015 and expects to award 20 more in 2016. It has been surveying with Franchise Business Review since 2006.