How to Run a Successful Franchise

As leaders in the franchise industry for more than 30 years, new franchise owners often come to us asking for advice. They want their franchise to be a success and they know that we’ve figured out how to do it. Below we identify strategies commonly used by our own franchises so you can become a successful franchise owner as well.

In our experience, successful franchises primarily focus on providing the best product in their industry. For example, our business model is not based on becoming the largest cookie franchise, but rather on baking the best cookies. Without the strong foundation of a superior product, we would never have grown from one small store in Atlanta, GA to the 319 franchises spread across America today. Our success is due to our superior product and becoming one of the largest cookie franchises in the USA is simply a side effect of that success.

After providing superior products, successful franchises focus on treating their customers well. According to McKinsey, “70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.” With customers placing such a large emphasis on their experience, franchises need to place an equal amount of emphasis on customer service. Even if you have a fantastic product, customers will not return to your store if they feel they have been mistreated. This point is proven by the fact that “91% of unhappy customers will not willingly do business with you again” (Lee Resources).

Providing excellent customer service seems simple enough; treat your customers with respect and provide friendly, courteous service. However, many franchises think they are providing excellent customer service when in reality they are not. According to Lee Resources, “80% of companies say they deliver ‘superior’ customer service.” However, only “8% of people think these same companies deliver ‘superior’ customer service.” Are you one of these companies who think they are providing excellent customer service, but the customers disagree?

What can you do to improve customer service? One way we continuously improve our customer service is by actually listening to our customers. Kristin Smaby, author of “Being Human Is Good Business,” explained, “When customers share their story, they’re not just sharing pain points. They’re actually teaching you how to make your product, service, and business better. Your customer service organization should be designed to efficiently communicate those issues.” Ask your customers what they would like done differently. You may be surprised by what you learn.

The third strategy successful franchises use is capitalizing on their brand name to continue to grow. Once a franchise has been established, franchise owners reap the benefits of the respect and trust the franchise has established. Many customers will come into a store because they recognize and know what to expect from the brand. So, how can you capitalize on the brand recognition to keep growing your franchise? To help expand and grow our franchise, we encourage all of our franchisees to capitalize on our brand name by making their presence known in their community. You should do the same. To make your presence known, encourage your franchisees to launch their own marketing campaign or become involved in a cause within their community. Encourage them to collaborate with local businesses and schools, helping them with a project. Since the franchise is well established and their values are commonly known, many people will welcome their involvement in the community.

In our experience, becoming more involved in the community and forming these positive relations opens up more opportunities and creates new revenue streams for the franchisee and the entire franchise.

Another way to capitalize on your brand name is to increase your presence in the minds of your consumers. Offer promotional items with your franchise’s brand. According to Halo Branded Solutions, two years after receiving a promotional item, 76.2% of consumers can recall three key facts about the company.

While these strategies are tremendously useful, none of these strategies will help you to be a success if you don’t know how to set clear and measureable goals. You can plan on improving customer service or launching a marketing campaign, but you will never achieve these goals if you don’t break them down into clear steps that you can measure.

For example, say you want to improve customer service. How will you accomplish this goal? First, you need to know what you need to improve in your customer service. Set a goal to conduct a survey, asking customers what areas they think your franchise needs to improve. Second, you need to act on the knowledge obtained. Set a goal to provide training to your employees on the areas they need to improve in. Finally, you need to measure whether or not you have accomplished your goal of improving customer service. Conduct a follow-up survey to see if your franchise has made the needed improvements.

In summary, successful franchises primarily focus on providing a high-quality product and superior customer service. Second, they capitalize on their brand name by becoming more involved in their community. Finally, they know how to set clear and measureable goals. These strategies have helped us to be a successful franchise and if you follow these same strategies, you’ll be on the right road to success.

Dustin Thompson is the Franchise Sales Lead and Marketing Manager for Global Franchise Group. He has been in the franchise industry for more than eight years and specializes in digital marketing and franchise lead generation. During this time, Dustin has experienced success by informing potential partners about the best franchise opportunities in the food and beverage industry. Other accomplishments have been driving franchise growth through cutting edge digital lead generation methods that cater to today’s consumer.
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