For franchisors with a keen sense of brand, it’s important that every new franchisee understands their responsibilities as well as their freedoms.
One way to ensure this is by writing suppliers and partners into franchisee contracts, says Jess Pritchard, who heads up the corporate sector at leading outsourced communications provider, Moneypenny.
She said: “It’s part of mitigating the challenges that can put strain on relationships with franchisees and importantly, get in the way of customer and cost efficiencies.”
Over the last 12 months, Moneypenny has worked with several franchisors to write live chat and telephone answering provision into their contracts so that the customer experience is consistent, always professional and catered for 24/7.
But this idea isn’t about being overly prescriptive, according to Jess, it has value to both parties.
She said: “Writing suppliers into franchisees’ contracts gives everyone peace of mind that outsourced partners have passed due diligence checks, understand the business as a whole and can deliver the service to the highest standard.”
For a franchisor focused on food service, these contracts might cover cleaning partners or wholesalers, for a business support franchise, this might be with a document and post management company, while a franchise delivering early years activities or home-tuition might have a contract that covers aspects of customer care such as outbound calling, call answering or live chat.
Here, Jess explains her five benefits of writing key supplier relationships into franchisee contracts.
- Guarantee consistency for the franchisor
Jess said: “This is probably the biggest benefit to franchisors, as one supplier across a franchise network can help to ensure consistency of service, which means a consistent experience for customers. All of this is crucial to protect the brand and its value, not to mention future revenues as the network grows. We’re finding that businesses of all shapes and sizes are increasingly wanting 24/7 support – when there’s a centralised contract in place, it can be much easier for suppliers to offer this benefit.”
- Help franchisees excel
Jess said: “One of the reasons franchises appeal to so many is that it’s a proven business model with an established operating framework and brand, so they can hit the ground running. If key suppliers have already been engaged and checks completed at franchisor level, franchisees can concentrate on the all-important day-to-day tasks of running a business, safe in the knowledge that they have the right suppliers to help them thrive. Plus, when a supplier is working with the whole network, they’re better placed to add value to the franchisor and franchisees too.”
- Save everyone time and money
Jess added: “Leveraging the purchasing power of the franchisor can help to reduce running costs for the network as a whole as well as each individual franchisee. Instead of each franchisee spending time, energy and money finding their own service provider and negotiating terms or, as is often the case with call handling, recruiting a member of staff to answer the phone -– the business stays nimble and with reduced overheads.
- Convey what matters to the brand
Jess said: “When particular suppliers are written into franchisee contracts, it can help to really convey the importance the franchisor places on certain aspects of the business or service delivery. It could be about cleanliness, accessibility or customer care for example. If it’s written into the contract, it’s much easier to maintain a set standard as everyone knows the right supplier is in the frame.”
- Help with management reporting
Jess added: “This is an obvious one but no less important. Having one supplier for a whole franchise network makes management reporting much easier. Often, it also means that the franchisor canhave greater transparency about what’s happening in real time. In terms of call answering and live chat, this can be helpful in ensuring that all franchisees are being as responsive and accessible as required, identifying if further training or support is needed and even garnering network wide customer insights from call and live transcripts that prompt service innovation.”