Creating an internal communication strategy for franchises may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following a few simple steps, you can develop a plan that ensures your internal communication is aligned with your business objectives. Your primary goal should be to maintain consistent, supportive communication that reflects your brand. But how do you do that? Read on to find out how to improve internal communication in a franchise system.
Table of contents:
How to improve franchise communications within your business
Don’t overuse email
Email is a powerful tool. Using email effectively can be challenging at times. An overfilled inbox can be daunting and can hinder you from staying on top of everything effectively.
Overusing email can leave franchisees feeling:
- They have received an endless to-do list that is not realistically achievable, hence they may not attempt or delay completing the task.
- Tempted to check their email account every second of the day, afraid they will miss something out.
- Worried that they will miss a deadline and feel under pressure to deliver all the tasks to the highest standards at such a high pace.
- That email should be neglected for a period of time as the workload is becoming unbearable and the level of stress is too high.
- That the franchisor is not organised or undecisive as multiple emails are following up their main email.
To solve the above challenges faced by every franchisor at some point during running their franchise marketing business, one should aim to include a global email within your franchise internal communication plan.
The global email should ideally be:
- Carefully planned and structured: You should ensure the instructions are easy to follow, and hence avoid convoluted sentences.
- Scheduled at certain times of the week: In this way others will know when to expect the email and will check their email inbox accordingly.
- Proofread to check for unnecessary errors and mistakes.
- Given approval by the director or yourself.
- Tracked to ensure the email has been sent and received by all franchisees. One should ensure no one has been left off the emailing list.
By following the above pointers, information will be channelled effectively to all franchisees and the franchise internal communication will prove to be successful!
Create shared online resources
A number of cloud-based platforms such as Google Docs, Dropbox and box.net, to name a few, are effective online methods that can be used as internal channels of communication for your franchise system.
- Google Docs: an online word processor that lets you create and format documents. Additionally, it allows you to share documents with multiple users, giving them access to the edit functionality. Google Docs can considerably save time and can help you meet deadlines.
- Dropbox: a modern workspace designed to reduce busy work and allow you to organise projects and assignments so you can prioritise and easily meet deadlines. Dropbox is a well-known tool for effectively storing photos, videos and other files saved in different formats.
- Box.net: Box is an online file-sharing and storage platform that caters to individual users, especially businesses.
Using the above platforms can definitely help you share large amounts of information with all your franchisees with a click of a button! It’s that simple.
As well as these online platforms, an alternative method that can be incorporated in your franchise internal communication plan is the extensive use of a franchise intranet, which brings a number of benefits in the long run.
Whichever option you end up choosing at the end of the day, one should ensure it is implemented within your internal franchise communication system and continuously monitored to ensure things run smoothly. The franchisor should take into account the following: tone, the message delivered and the accuracy of the information to avoid misunderstandings among the franchisees and to ensure professionalism.
Your franchisees should know that whenever they have an enquiry, they can easily approach you to address the matter. To encourage effective franchise communications, you should ensure you have online spaces where they can reach out to you about personal enquiries.
Ideas that you can consider:
- Online message boards or forums
- Private groups on social media platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, Instagram etc.
- The development of a company forum or web portal.
Facilitating effective teamwork within your franchise network is the key to successful franchise communications.
Repeat your core messages
Your brand ethos should stand on recurring values that should be respected by everyone in the franchise business such as: professionalism, trust, confidentiality, friendliness. Setting these values right from the start can allow you to create an inviting and effective work environment for all your franchisees. The attitude should be consistent in external and internal communication.
Ensuring that each franchisee has the opportunity to share their own opinion and ideas is important for an effective franchise internal communication system. As a franchisor, you should take time to listen patiently and offer feedback in a positive manner, even when you disagree, to maintain a healthy, positive work relationship with each franchisee.
Involving those franchisees who are consistently performing well and achieving their targets should be encouraged in issues, whether small or large, and you should welcome feedback, new ideas and suggestions.
When addressing problems, it is important to remain positive and open-minded.
You are prone to making mistakes or to face a challenge when running a franchise marketing business, it is part of the process! As a franchisor, when addressing a problem, you should provide feedback and criticism in a positive manner and gear away from negativity, which can hamper the enthusiasm of franchisees, especially those new to the franchising marketing world of business.
When sharing feedback with your fellow franchisees, you should aim to highlight what things were done well, rather than only focusing on those areas that need more work.
You should simply point out the strengths of each individual franchisee. This can be done through a phone call or a handwritten note. The weakness should be addressed directly and feedback should be offered to each franchise regarding which areas of their work need to be improved on and how this can be achieved. A helpful suggestion could be to jot down a couple of realistic goals with your franchisee and discuss how each one can be achieved. Doing this process together can inspire confidence in the individual franchisees and keep them motivated.
Your franchisees should feel valued and be aware that you recognise the hard work that is put in delivering a task to the best of their capacity. Maintaining this positive interaction with your franchisees will place you in a good position when challenges, whether small or large, arise.
The following should be taken into account when applying a franchise internal communication system:
- Active listening: As a franchisor, you should actively listen to your franchisees and steer away from passive listening.
- Take an interest: Taking the time to organise and schedule team-building activities is important for building a close-knit franchise network. At the end of the day, everyone is working towards the success of your franchise business. It is simple Satisfied franchisees will bring on more satisfied franchisees.
- Be honest and transparent: Addressing problems and communicating them in an honest and straightforward manner is key for an effective franchise internal communication system. As a franchisor, you will have responsibilities and should set rules that should be applied to everyone. A good timeframe when replying to enquiries can be effective for everything to run smoothly.
- Document issues: It is crucial to convey to your franchisees the importance of documenting any communication, especially those addressing problems or issues.
- Define your brand values and story.
- Build your visual brand.
- Take into account every sector within your franchising marketing business: it is important to not neglect any sector and put it in the back seat.
- Allow local variation.
To wrap up this article, we’ve summarised the most essential points for you to consider in an easy-to-use infographic as you build your internal franchise communication strategy. These five key takeaways will help you communicate better and ensure improved operations of your franchise business because communication and productivity go hand in hand. Take a look below.