Technology Can Deliver the Franchise Experience Customers Expect

I normally do not accept guest posts, but Jay Malcom and his company ExpandShare come highly recommended to me and they have an innovative solution to train staff of franchisees which can be difficult for most franchisors. In general franchisors are highly effective at training franchisees, but it is a different story when it comes to training the employees of franchisees, specially those of restaurants and similar lower skill level jobs.  ExpandShare offers a great answer to deal with these challenges.  (Please note that we are not associated with ExpandShare.)


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Using Learning Technology to Deliver the Franchise Experience Customers Expect

by Jay Malcolm | After spending 20 years working in the corporate sector, Jay has a fine appreciation for performance challenges in various industries. He now leverages his ability to drive significantly improved business performance through technology at Expand Interactive, creator of ExpandShare knowledge sharing platform.

When a customer walks into a McDonald’s, The UPS Store, or Hilton Garden Inn, what’s immediately clear is no matter the location; it’s always the same. The layout might be a little different, but the sights, smells and sounds, and hopefully the customer experience, is identical.

This is branding in its truest form, and it’s probably most difficult to manage in a franchise setting.

In a common franchisee onboarding process, franchisees visit the corporate office where they attend many days of training. They are told everything their stores need to project in order to remain consistent with the established brand identity. They are then sent home with a smorgasbord of information, often packaged in a thick binder that’s to remain inside the new store.

Now comes the hard part. The new franchisees need to communicate everything they just learned to new employees, so that they can deliver a customer service experience that’s identical to every other existing store, because that’s what the customer expects.

The challenges franchisees face in training team members are many:

  • There is often limited physical space for training in a store or restaurant.
  • Corporate’s message can get lost in translation when the onus falls on the franchisee to deliver it.
  • Franchisees can leave initial training on information overload. When so much is presented in a short timeframe, retention drops drastically.
  • Studies have shown training conducted in a one-and-done fashion, with no follow-up, reminders or coaching, is ineffective and has a low ROI.
  • Training can receive the necessary attention for the initial group of store employees but as growth and turnover happens, there can be a natural fall-off in attention and enthusiasm for proper training.

Think about the allocated budget for franchise training. There’s the overhead cost of a training facility, materials costs for the creation and printing of handbooks, job aids and signage, travel costs for bringing franchisees to the corporate office, and more.

Many franchises are adding eLearning to training programs to better manage costs and share knowledge more efficiently. But, they’re often missing the many advantages of today’s learning technology.

Knowledge Sharing Platforms Are A Game-Changer for Franchises

You can require new franchisees, or their employees, to view training modules or videos online, and that’s great. Right there, you’re saving a lot of money typically associated with live training, and produce about the same result…which is mediocre at best.

Studies have shown 85% of training fails to deliver a positive ROI (HR Chally) and 80% of learning content is forgotten in the first 90-120 days after training (Sales Readiness Group)

Franchise success significantly depends on the ability of franchisees and their employees to deliver the carefully crafted brand experience, and if those procedures and best practices are forgotten after the first—when training is most likely to occur, be it online or in person—it’s not possible to achieve desired results. Knowledge sharing platforms change this.

Here are 10 reasons franchises should use modern learning and knowledge sharing technology:

  1. Training is available anywhere, at any time, from any device.
  2. Learners can easily go back and review material they’ve forgotten.
  3. Training can be delivered on-the-job, immediately putting the information in context.
  4. Knowledge platforms allow for the immediate collection of feedback and assessment data, to determine whether trainees liked the course and whether it’s effective.
  5. Ensure a consistent message is delivered store-by-store by creating eLearning content unique to each role at the store, and providing that content only to those who need it.
  6. Knowledge platforms power automated follow-up with employees to provide ongoing coaching, a critical element often missing from franchise training programs.
  7. Harness the power of social, collaborative learning by encouraging employees to interact with each other via online Q&As and discussions they can access from any computer or mobile device.
  8. Support materials, such as procedural checklists, job aids and short videos, can be made accessible via mobile device to coach employees through important processes and procedures as they’re completing them in real time.
  9. With the right software solution, eLearning can be tracked, measured and directly tied to business performance metrics. The goal of training is to change behavior, and through eLearning, we can aggregate data showing effectiveness and impact on performance by store, region, division and more.
  10. Training results data can be cross-referenced by store to revenues, Net Promoter Score information, employee turnover statistics, and other metrics to validate the efficacy of the training programs.

Successful learning needs to go beyond just the initial training in order to impact behavior.

If you’re a franchisor interested in talking about how advanced learning technology can positively impact your business, get in touch. Our team of learning strategists and instructional designers are ready to help lay out a plan.