3 Tips To Improve Franchisee Relationships in 2022
In a perfect world, franchisors and their franchisees would have the best of relationships. But as we all know, the real world is far from perfect. In fact, there often are times when franchisors and franchisees find themselves butting heads. In franchising, the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee is paramount to the success of both. So for there to be any meaning for franchisees, buzzwords like communication, collaboration, integrity, and inclusivity must all be backed up with actions.
In this article, we discuss how franchisors can handle conflict when it arises, create opportunities to foster trust with franchisees, and set the stage for productive relationships as they scale their brand.
1) Tackle conflicts head-on
Conflict is an inevitable part of life. However, when conflict arises in franchising, it’s important to act fast and decisively so that feelings do not fester. Franchisors should be prepared for franchisee conflicts ranging from interpersonal squabbles between employees or managers all the way up to larger systemic issues such as customer service. So when conflict inevitably happens:
- Stay calm and listen attentively to what is being said. Remember that you are not the only one with an agenda, so be open-minded as well as firm in your resolve. If possible, avoid getting defensive or becoming adversarial during the conversation. Remember, it’s about problem-solving!
- Acknowledge what the franchisee is saying and that you hear their concerns.
- Don’t make any promises you can’t keep. If the franchisee wants something, get back to them with a realistic plan of action.
- Document what was discussed and follow up in a timely manner.
Franchising is all about relationships and trust. When these tenets are not nurtured, it creates an environment ripe for conflict, tainting the franchisee’s overall experience. Franchisors must be proactive in identifying and resolving conflicts as soon as they arise. This will help maintain the trust of their franchisees, an essential for a healthy franchising system.
2) Create opportunities for trust
For franchising to work effectively, there must be a high level of trust between franchisors and franchisees. Franchisee trust is created when franchisors act in a manner that shows they are looking out for the best interests of their franchisees, while simultaneously showing themselves to be competent on many fronts. Franchisee trust:
- comes from transparency and honesty about what’s going on at all levels of the company.
- comes from consistency in how franchisees/employees are treated and communicated with at all levels of the company.
- comes from open, two-way communication that is balanced between franchisees and franchisors, rather than just listening to what franchisees have to say, while not giving them any feedback on their thoughts or concerns about your brand.
3) Build a parent-child relationship with your franchisees
Franchisees must be able to trust their franchisor, understand their franchisor’s expectations, have faith in the systems being put into place, and know they will be supported through each step of growth.
A key component of ensuring franchisee success is fostering a parent-child relationship where the franchisor is the supportive guardian and the franchisees are willing to follow their lead. This means that communication must go both ways, with franchisors being transparent about what’s happening in the business, as well as taking note of any suggestions or critiques brought forth by their franchisees. This creates a positive culture that can help scale your system smoothly. Establishing a positive work culture is essential for any business, but it’s especially important in franchising.
By establishing trust, communication, and transparency between franchisors and franchisees, you will create an environment conducive to success. Conflict will still arise, but by handling it swiftly and effectively, you can maintain the positive relationships needed.
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