I had a bit of a reminder today about one of the fundamental principles of franchising.
The funny thing was, I was working in one of the country’s largest companies, and was about as far from franchising as it’s possible to get.
Nevertheless, the lesson was a good one; and here is it:
TRUST THE PROCESS
Here endeth the lesson.
No it doesn’t. I’m going to explain more.
We have a decent size contract with this particular business, helping their 10 regional centres devise local plans for working with their customers to generate more business… the issue is that the business is very well regarded in its market place, but staff on the ground are not using this goodwill to really up the ante.
So, after doing some research with the customer base (who said everything is wonderful, but could you get them to be more proactive, take ownership and stop hiding behind emails) I devised a programme that would help each office become better at these things.
The premise of the programme is that everyone knows what they should be doing, but there are some things stopping them do it.
Once they have made a note of these barriers (usual suspects apply: too much work, too little staff, bad systems) we then get them to think of potential solutions.
After the standard bout of head scratching and listing the bleedin’ obvious (get more staff and knit a new computer system) interesting things begin to happen and more innovative responses begin to appear:
- Perhaps I could be more efficient in what I do
- Do you think I could actually see things through to conclusion?
- Perhaps I could take responsibility for my own development
At the end of the day, the team creates a Charter of things they are going to do as individuals to improve their customer’s experience… and the charter is always gold dust.
…or at least these things usually happen.
This time, though, at 2 o’clock, I have to say I was shi… well, let’s just say some of the light bulb moments I was expecting hadn’t happened and I was wracking my brain for things to do differently to get the group to where they needed to be.
I couldn’t really think anything that fitted into the programme properly and so I had to follow the programme through.
I needn’t have worried.
The quality of the output – the Charter – was at least as good as the previous groups. The process had seen me home and I nearly blew it by making unnecessary changes, just because things were following a different route.
It did remind me, though, that just because one franchisee squeals that the process doesn’t work for them, as a franchisor you have to keep in mind the 150 it does work for.