By Katrina Vo posted May 14, 2021

Are franchisors improving how well they communicate with franchisees? If we define this in terms of sharing information, the answer is yes. However, if we think of communication as a two-way process, our latest research suggests there is room for improvement. See the Franchising Fact section below for more on this.

One positive sign we are seeing is a renewed interest in improving the functioning of consultative committees such as Franchise Advisory Councils (FACs). You’ll find 20 tips from other franchisor executives in the Best Practice Insights section below.

Speaking of FACs, last month our Founder was commissioned by the IFA to write a best practice piece for the Franchising World magazine. Here’s a link to the article. Improving the Effectiveness of Franchise Advisory Councils by Greg Nathan.

BEST PRACTICE INSIGHTS: 20 tips to improve franchisee consultative committees

Participants from one of our Franchisor Excellence Masterclasses shared their experiences on what helps franchisee consultative committees to function effectively (including FACs). Here's what they came up with.

  • Have a clear purpose and objectives for meetings
  • Have a chairperson who can maintain focus on agreed topics
  • Ensure members represent the variety within the network
  • Set a clear agenda prior to the meeting with everyone's input
  • Use a facilitator to keep conversations on track and respectful
  • Ensure members are clear on their roles
  • Invest in the professional development of members
  • Assume participants have a positive intent
  • Capture action items to ensure accountability and follow-through
  • Start with a relationship-building activity
  • Create a culture of mutual respect early in the process
  • Encourage members to support the FAC when talking with others
  • Have clear guidelines that enable everyone to have a say
  • Encourage everyone, including the chairperson, to listen not lecture
  • Have a process for members to communicate between meetings
  • Look at issues from the franchisee perspective
  • Make meetings visible to non-participating franchisees using live streaming
  • Discuss what outcomes everyone would like to see at the start of the meeting
  • Listen to the quiet voice in the room
  • Be sensitive to the mood and adjust the process if necessary

This is an example of the great networking discussions that happen in our professional development programs. If you'd like to be part of the action, read about the forthcoming workshops below.

FRANCHISING FACT: Franchise communication up by 9% but Consultation stagnating

Our ACE Franchisee Survey accurately measures a number of areas impacting franchisee satisfaction, including Communication and Consultation. Think of Communication as the one-way conversations franchisors have with their franchisees to keep them informed, while Consultation involves two-way conversations where franchisees feel listened to and able to contribute their views.

Over the past five years, our franchise sector benchmark for Consultation has remained relatively stable, while the Communication benchmark has increased markedly by nine percentage points. We have seen many clients ramping up their communications during COVID with useful, accurate, and timely information which franchisees have appreciated. However, there is clearly an opportunity for franchisors to improve the two-way flow of information.

We have also been measuring the perceived importance and effectiveness of Franchise Advisory Councils in these surveys. These are typically rated by franchisees as less important and less effective than other services such as marketing, business systems and operational support. So the message to franchisors is it may be time to put more energy into improving two-way consultative processes.

By the way, if you would like to know more about how we measure and help to improve franchisee satisfaction, please contact us, and we would be happy to help you.

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