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5 Ways to Improve Franchisee Communication

For a franchise brand to succeed, franchisors and franchisees must communicate.

By Nick Powills1851 Franchise Publisher
SPONSOREDUpdated 9:09AM 01/19/16

Keeping a system focused and efficiently working is a 24/7 job for a franchisor. To make sure everyone in the franchise company is on the same page, placing an emphasis on communication is essential.

Conference calls and conventions are tried and true methods for sharing information. In the digital age, brands are now taking advantage of new ways to share and receive information.

Here are five ways to improve franchisee communication:

Take Communication Seriously

Franchisees are not mind readers. That’s why opening up a channel of communication from the corporate level down is important to sharing information, updates and everything that comes with running a successful business.

“In any organization, communication is one of the most critical components contributing to success,” said Hala Habal, vice president of communication at Which Wich Superior Sandwiches®.“In a franchise system, specifically, with moving parts and departments, and with almost 400 stores and their managers and their team, you have to have an efficient way to communicate what’s going on for something to work properly.”

In a company where they are all about moving items, making sure everything is on the same track is important.

“We move at an incredibly fast pace at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK*®,” said Dawn Kroeger, marketing and communications director at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. “New projects are in development and implementation at all times and each initiative impacts the franchise system. Communication is critical to the success of the system and each new project.”

Have Consistent Communication

In the digital age, there is no excuse for not keeping the flow of information open to franchisees. Offering consistent communication is a great way to make all team members feel informed and empowered about what’s coming up next in the business.

At Which Wich, franchisees can expect a digital newsletter delivered at the same time, same day, every week.

“We distribute the Which Wich Weekly, our weekly digital newsletter at 3 p.m. CST every Wednesday, rain or shine,” said Habal. “Our franchisees know they will receive it and it goes to all franchisees, general managers and the stores. “

In addition to the weekly newsletter, franchisees can also expect to hear about updates and actionable items several times before implementation. This allows the brand’s franchisees and general managers to get the information and make sure it’s clear before communicating with their teams.

“One of our best practices with the newsletter is that we try to communicate things several weeks out, and as the deadline gets closer,” said Habal. “We don’t want our franchisees to get caught unaware, and it eliminates a lot of confusion.”

Make Information Easily Accessible

“Everyone consumes information differently so by providing diversified communication channels our franchisees can consume the information when and where they chose,” Kroeger said.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® sends out a monthly email with information from their franchise business consultant team. The details in the email links back to the company’s intranet (called The Hub) where the information can be found in story format. In addition to the stories, The Hub also features training information in both hard copy documentation and video formats.

“The most important aspect then would be diversifying communication channels,” said Kroeger.

Making information easily accessible is a great way to make sure franchisees are getting the full scope of information and that they have access to it when they need it in the future.

“We try to make it as easily digestible if possible,” said Habal.

At Which Wich, the brand’s weekly newsletter links back to the WhichNET, the franchise company’s intranet. The brand also makes all forms of communication mobile friendly so the franchisees can easily access information at their convenience.

“Everything is mobile friendly,” said Habal. “Franchisees can access the information from their phone and iPad. If they see there is a new training module and they can share it with their team using an iPad.”

Embrace Multimedia

The digital age has provided franchisors with the opportunity to connect with franchisees in multiple ways. Embracing this is important to keep communication fresh and interesting.

“At the pace TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is growing in both new locations and increased moves, solid communication is imperative,” said Kroeger. “Strategic communication is multidimensional and includes many channels including video, e-mail, online training, webinars, face-to-face meetings and training, surveys and The Hub (system intranet).”

Breaking into video creation is a great way for brands to continue connecting with their team.

“We rely a lot on video,” said Habal. “If a photo is worth a hundred words, a video is worth millions.”

At Which Wich, Jeff Sinelli, founder, CEO and Chief Vibe Officer, has committed to making a video once a month, every month, to recap what’s happened and what’s ahead for the brand.

In addition to Sinelli’s videos, the company also creates training and how-to videos for franchisees to learn about new products, best practices and training tips.

Remember Communication is a Two-Way Street

You can’t have a conversation with only one person about a company-wide issue. Opening up the channels of communication for franchisees to also share what’s going on is essential in running a successful franchise.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, two-way communication is an important aspect in the franchisor and the franchisee relationship.

“I believe our focus on two-way communication with our system through annual benchmark surveying, a group of franchisees representing separate regions of the country, in-person meetings and training make for improved communication.

In terms of opening up a dialogue between corporate and Which Wich franchisees, the company has put specific names to the content in the weekly newsletter giving franchisees the opportunity to connect directly and answer any questions. In addition, to that the brand has a franchise advisory council to help foster ideas from the field.

“We get ideas from our franchisee advisory council and from the field all the time,” said Habal. “When we get ideas through them, they will come and make a video about their best practice from the speed of service to customer services to share on the intranet.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.