Changes and Challenges: Franchise Development Post COVID-19

The US has an incredibly robust franchise industry. Savvy entrepreneurs with original ideas, such that can be parlayed into a uniquely defined business idea with room for expansion, have been making their mark in the world of franchising since the late 1800s. Today, the US has over 730,000 franchises responsible for 3 percent of the GDP. These are not insignificant numbers. That said, as the world and the nation emerge from the grip of this pandemic, franchises are going to have to adapt accordingly—at all levels, from the parent company down to the frontline employee.

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges to be faced over the course of the next few months when it comes to franchise development (and redevelopment in some instances), will be approaches to training:  from communication methods to employee upskilling and reskilling, to having the capacity to effectively deliver just-in-time learning when needed.   

Hierarchically speaking, it is imperative for franchisees to be on the same page as the parent company. When consumers walk into a franchise, they do so with preconceived notions regarding the experience they are going to receive. Again, this is because of the brand—that which has already been established, that which has history and company culture behind it. Because of these expectations on the behalf of the consumer, the franchise must deliver—if they don’t, they risk muddying the brand entirely. And so here is where training systems and communications strategies, such that are scalable and able to be personalized, most definitely come into play.

Facing the Challenges to Come with an Innovative Training Framework

COVID-19 is changing the game on many fronts. Franchise development overall is going to be key. Be it how businesses interact with customers or how they address remote work situations, the best offense, as they say, is a good defense—in this case, a truly solid defense begins at the level of training. So how do franchisors prepare for what is to come, particularly when no one is really 100% certain about what is to come…

  1. Data Integration. Particularly for franchisors with multiple units, having access to all relevant data, and what’s more, being able to utilize data in order to properly train is critical. Harnessing the power of data, you have the capacity to see which employees might need extra help by way of just-in-time learning. Furthermore, said help can be personalized because all necessary information is right there at your disposal.
  2. User Segmentation. There are a variety of stakeholders involved with any franchise, from leadership to back-office staff. Again, this is where personalized training experiences are really going to have a huge impact in terms of franchise development in general and keeping each location engaged and productive.
  3. Communication Channels. As franchises have many moving parts, the key to a streamlined, more dynamic experience is going to be ensuring that part A communicates efficiently with parts B, C, and D and vice versa. You need to be able to send instant updates and beyond that, have some form of immediate acknowledgment/responses/feedback so that you know for a fact that vital information isn’t falling through the cracks.
  4. Gamification activities. Using gamification in tandem with data specific to your franchise results in big gains when it comes to training as well as employee upskilling and reskilling. The key here is to offer tangible rewards that keep employees motivated and wanting to better their performance.
  5. Regular ROI Assessment. The great thing about integrating a training platform that takes into consideration all relevant aspects of franchise development is that it makes it that much easier to measure each implemented initiative. In other words, you can monitor your results and accordingly, understand exactly what that ROI entails.

Rallyware: Franchise development lessons learned

Having worked with a revolutionary, rapidly growing franchise, we have seen firsthand how beneficial a scalable and multi-dimensional training approach can be to franchise development as a whole. A mobile bike shop, velofix understood from the very beginning that though they may be starting out the “little company that could,” their grand plans and big dreams required putting the right resources in place that would ultimately allow them tremendous growth. And tremendous growth is precisely what they achieved. Since its inception in 2014, the company has seen an average of 300% growth per year. In large part, it really has come down to the highly successful and personalized training experience they offer.

The velofix team clearly knew how important training materials would be to the various franchises and their respective employees. With a massive library of over 800 different files, they needed a centralized hub that would make the materials easily accessible, anytime, anywhere. Utilizing Rallyware’s platform, they not only were able to coalesce all relevant training materials but did so in a far more efficient manner than even they initially envisioned. The results: the franchise itself became far more attractive to potential franchisees—there are now 113 franchises in North America. There is a reduced need for onsite training—which in this current coronavirus era is definitely positive. And the team has seen a 76% completion training rate across the entire company that resulted in the ultimately improved customer experience. This is just one such success story. The franchise model is more popular than ever; the trick now is to understand how to optimize performance at all levels in the environment we potentially face. And without question that starts with implementing the right training framework.

If you’d like more information on Rallyware’s platform, you can schedule your demo today!