The Importance of Effective Communication When Considering Franchise Opportunities
Paul Robinson | CEO | V.I.P Home Services
An effective communications channel between franchisees and their franchisor should be a deciding factor when considering franchise opportunities to purchase. Communication is a vital part of any franchise system; having a strong communication structure ensures the smooth operation of a business and allows any support requests or issues to be resolved in a timely manner, freeing up time for the franchisee to concentrate on servicing their clients, growing their business and spending time with family and friends.
V.I.P. is a multi-award winning franchise and features as one of the top ten franchises in the topfranchise.com.au award. A recent development has been V.I.P. ’s implementation of a new internal communications and support system. In this article, CEO Paul Robinson discusses V.I.P. ’s franchisee support network, and encourages prospective franchisees to think about what communication channels are in place when considering franchise opportunities.
At V.I.P. , we understand the crucial role of communication and have implemented channels of communication that fosters regular contact between franchisee and franchisor. We realise that not everyone looking for franchise opportunities has a background in business, though that is not to say they do not have the entrepreneurial mindset to succeed. That is why we put a strong emphasis on having an effective support network in order to nurture and develop potential, as well as to iron out any wrinkles that may develop in the course of business.
When looking at franchise opportunities, a good question to ask a franchisor is whether there is a quick and efficient way to contact support staff and get requests attended to.
The most direct and simple way for V.I.P. franchisees to access our support network is via our telephone hotline. This hotline was established after listening to feedback from our franchisees. Rather than directly contact the state manager, as per the previous system, V.I.P. franchisees have their own “Franchisee Hotline” where V.I.P. call centre operators assess the situation and direct the calls through to the appropriate person where necessary. The benefits are multi-fold; a single point of contact makes it easier for franchisees to remember, state managers are now free to focus on face to face meetings, and these call operators have previously worked with franchisees and so have a great understanding of the needs, issues and capabilities of individual franchisees, allowing them to respond to any issues or direct them to the appropriate individual for further assistance.
"We put a strong emphasis on having an effective support network in order to nurture and develop potential."
Besides taking inbound calls, operators also make outgoing calls to franchisees to see if there are any support requests and to share key initiatives or group office communications. This reinforces the presence of a support network for franchisees and reassures them that there are open channels for them to discuss problems, ideas and feedback.
Regular internal communications is essential for any healthy culture. Another key question to ask when considering franchise opportunities is whether there is a regular form of outbound
communication from the franchisor to the franchisee.
At V.I.P. , this regular contact takes the form of a weekly electronic newsletter. These newsletters provide tips, important news, and introductions to other franchisees which reinforce the sense of belonging to not just a business, but a family. These newsletters also contain feel good stories which a franchisee has experienced while working as a V.I.P. member. These pieces provide real life examples of the personal fulfilment that can be found through V.I.P. and inspire franchisees to be their best in the business. Stories are also included about how franchisees are implementing their own local area marketing campaigns. This highlights what franchisees are successfully doing in their own businesses in their local communities. Like the hotline, this newsletter is another way we show our franchisees that they are not doing it alone, and that there is a strong community working with them to help them achieve success.