By Katrina Vo posted November 18, 2021

Successful franchisor executives understand the importance of listening and staying connected with their franchisees, especially during periods of turbulence and change. While some leaders have been reaching out to have one-on-one calls with franchisees, these conversations represent a big investment of time, so they need to be effective and enjoyable for both parties.

In this article, we share some startling statistics on why franchisors need to listen better. We also provide best practice tips for staying connected to your franchisees, including four powerful questions from a seasoned franchisor CEO.

Tips for effective one on one conversations with franchisees

The best performing franchise networks constantly seek feedback from their franchisees. This creates a learning culture and communicates respect, which is especially valued by longer tenure franchisees. Effective methods to gain useful feedback from franchisees include:

  • Questionnaires and surveys
  • Conversations with field managers
  • Franchise Advisory Councils and consultative committees
  • Feedback sessions at conferences and regional meetings
  • Facilitated focus groups and small group meetings
  • One-on-one calls with senior leaders (phone or video)

While this last strategy, one-on-one calls, are valued and valuable, they are expensive, so we recommend making a note of some open-ended questions that will help franchisees feel comfortable, and draw them out in a constructive manner. Some useful questions we recommend include, "What’s on your mind? What’s been going well? What are you working on? What’s been challenging for you? What can we do to support you?"

One CEO who is currently leading a significant change program with a big impact on franchisees, has been using a 'questioning funnel', which starts generally and narrows to a more personal focus. His four questions are:

  1. How is your business going?
  2. How is your team going?
  3. How are you going?
  4. Is there anything you want to ask me?

Franchising Fact: Listening to your franchisees effectively

Each year we survey thousands of franchisees, asking them, amongst other things, what would help them have a better experience. The most frequent request, hands down, is to be listened to and taken more seriously. This is even more common than having their fees reduced or IT systems fixed!

And there's more. Our latest benchmark on the percentage of franchisees who feel their franchisor team listens to them is just 65%. This means 35% of franchisees are not feeling heard. What an opportunity!


FRI has a range of professional development programs to upskill your team. These include:

  • Franchisor Excellence Masterclasses for senior executives responsible for creating strategy or leading division teams.
  • Culture of Franchising Workshops for support office staff who interact with franchisees as part of their work.
  • Field Manager Bootcamps for field managers who support franchisees to improve their businesses.

Click here for details.

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