Many franchisors take a hands-off approach when it comes to the communications technology at franchisee sites; it can be complicated and challenging to coordinate vastly different infrastructure, access types and capabilities across multiple sites. That often leaves franchisees to fend for themselves.
But experts recommend otherwise. In a retail landscape where the customer experience is increasingly defined by technology, franchisors have an obligation to guide and support franchisees to deliver the intended experience and protect the brand.
Here are four questions franchisors can consider when deciding whether to take a more hands-on approach in supporting franchisee communications technology.
- Are your franchisees prepared for a network outage? Outages come in all shapes and sizes. They can be brief, like those caused by a summer storm or construction accident, or widespread and long-term, like those caused by major disasters across an entire region. Regardless of their length, an outage affects the business and the customer experience. Being knocked out for days or even weeks can affect revenues and profits substantially.
- Are they fortified to protect against cyberattacks? Keeping up with hackers has become a full-time job as more users, devices, and applications are added to networks. Over the past six years, the average cost of a data breach was $3.78 million according to Fortinet. That doesn’t include the cost of damage to the brand and customer trust.
- Do their employees know how to deliver a great customer experience? While franchisees may know what’s expected when it comes to the customer experience, their employees may not. Service and product knowledge inconsistencies across locations, or even within the same site, are problematic when it comes to creating a strong brand.
- Have your franchisees implemented the most up-to-date company recommended devices and applications? Careful thought at a franchise headquarters often goes into strategies to deploy new devices and applications. On the other hand, individual sites may be slow to embrace new initiatives. For example, a franchisee might think it’s faster for employees to search for products manually, rather than use a tablet to access the real-time inventory system. Or they may feel their diners might get frustrated by QR code ordering, especially if the on-site Wi-Fi is unstable.
The network underscores all these activities. If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you should consider taking a more hands-on approach with your franchisees’ networks.
That doesn’t mean you need to do it all yourself. Hughes can take your vision of the digital customer experience (or help create one) and enable you to deliver it across all locations, by customizing our franchise-focused services to each site’s unique challenges. That’s the case whether you operate fast casual restaurants, fitness centers or eye care centers, and whether your locations need backup connectivity, security, Wi-Fi, or digital signage (or any combination of services). If you see a gap between what’s happening and what’s required for your brand to compete and succeed in the market, perhaps having a hands-on partner like Hughes is the answer.