Why franchise operators must have a say in CX improvement projects
ONE of the most recognizable fast-food brands in the world, McDonald’s, is mushrooming globally at lightning pace.
Having established a strong presence in the US by 1960, the company set out to conquer overseas markets — opening one store after another in Europe, Southeast Asia, and in other parts of the world.
At its core, a franchise is a joint venture between a franchiser or a franchise owner (corporate owner of trademark, recipe, restaurant format, etc) and a franchisee or a franchise operator (a local business owner running an establishment with permission from the franchiser).
For a franchise to survive a highly competitive space such as the fast-food industry, a focus on good products is no longer enough.
To stand out, they must work on providing an unforgettable, top-notch customer experience (CX), especially digitally, to their customers.
Digital CX is something businesses cannot afford to neglect because in this increasingly digitized world, consumers are tech-savvy, and most transactions take place online.
Without a solid digital CX strategy, a business would risk losing existing customers, and will have difficulty obtaining new ones.
For franchise operators, maintaining good digital CX can be challenging because they have to rely on the franchise owner for digital support.
Many a time, they have great ideas on how to improve digital CX, but fail to carry them out, as the franchise owner does not see the value of digital CX.
Franchise owners must realize that a good digital CX is essential for business sustainability. Therefore, it is imperative for them to take steps to enhance the digital CX that is provided to their customers.
To begin with, key leaders across the board must first be made to see the value of a good digital CX.
The reality is that businesses that are not customer-centric will not be able to survive. Thus, companies must be agile in adapting to the shift in customers’ needs and wants. What a consumer expects in the digitized world today is to experience a seamless, digital experience whenever they engage with a brand.
Hence, franchise owners should understand that there is value in investing in a digital strategy and provide adequate support to make a customer’s digital experience more delightful. This process might be tedious and costly, but in the long run, will pay off.
Also, content localization is key in ensuring that franchise operators can provide a good digital CX to their customers. All locations are unique, and have different demographics, culture, and language (to name a few).
Customers in different locations will have different expectations of their digital CX. Thus, franchise owners must roll out strategies that are unique to the region, and cannot just utilize a one-size-fits-all solution.
To aid franchisees in this, franchisers must ensure that corporate materials can be easily accessed through a single source — ideally by setting up a digital asset management (DAM) or a product information management (PIM) platform.
With a centralized location for all materials, the risks of having outdated or unapproved content will be mitigated, making sure that the messaging from the franchise owner is consistent, safe, and professional.
Finally, the franchise operator must recognize that they are on the frontlines and are the ones that understand the customers in their region the best. As a result, they must take the initiative to provide feedback to the franchise owner on a regular basis.
This would help franchisers gauge the health of the franchise, and restrategize on how to serve customers better.
Regardless of corporation size, implementing a good digital CX strategy is essential, but never easy. In the world of franchise owners and operators, a good digital CX can go a long way in building competitive capabilities.
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