In the following months, FUSR will present highlights from the 2015 Annual Franchise Development Report (AFDR). The report is based on responses from 139 franchisors representing 36,313 units (32,693 franchised and 3,620 company-owned). This week: telephone mystery shopping results. Ordering information can be found below.
This year's telephone mystery shopping, conducted by Marc Kiekenapp & Associates, contacted 146 brands to gauge the quality and timeliness of their response to a phone call from a mystery shopper posing as a qualified prospect.
Kiekenapp found some improvement, but many of the basics were still lacking at too many franchise brands. One in 12 brands (8 percent) somehow managed to have either no phone number or a wrong number on their website. And only 1 in five (22 percent) had a sales staff member available for that crucial first phone call. The good news is that all the numbers for incoming telephone inquiries have improved from previous years. Although the sales team at 1 in 10 brands never returned the call, that number is half of what it was in 2012, and about 60 percent lower than it was in 2014.
When asked what constitutes a good response to a phone call from a qualified prospect, the panel of sales pros who discussed the results at Franchise Update Media's Leadership & Development Conference last October, agreed on two things: 1) always take a phone number, and 2) present the next step last, at the end of that initial call.
"If you get a phone call, have something you agree on that all will do, and in what order," said Conference Chair Greg Vojnovich, chief development officer at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Yet, astonishingly, during the qualification process, half did not take the caller's phone number.
The relatively good news here is that this number is down from two-thirds not taking a phone number in the two previous annual surveys. While the percentage of those who qualified start time roughly tripled from the preceding 2 years, the number of sales staff who qualified experience on that first call fell by more than half. As for presenting the next step, half (49 percent) did, up from last year, but down from 2012.
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