Implementing technology to franchisees can feel a bit like herding cats for many franchisors. It’s often hard to get franchisees on board, and rollouts are complicated. Franchisees will often go out and buy mobile devices on their own, which means there’s no uniformity across the organization, not much brand consistency, and little corporate control. It usually results in weak security, and with no clear support channels, downtime is a frequent problem.
But such chaos is not acceptable. From mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) to kiosks and online experiences, digital touch points are now the primary way customers interact with a brand. One bad experience can affect how a customer views the entire company, not just the franchise where it happened.
So what can you do about it? How do you get a uniform—and great—digital experience across every franchise location? You can do it if you create convenient, easy, and cost-effective mobile solutions for franchisees and back them with excellent support. Make it so good that franchisees are excited about signing up.
1) Great Franchise Technology Starts with a Plan
Many franchisor technology programs fail because of poor design. You want to begin with a clear understanding of your goals. In what workflows will the technology be used? What will the user experience be like—for both employees and customers? If something isn’t user-friendly, people won’t use it. What is the solution going to cost franchisees who are already usually operating on thin margins? Take all that information and then decide which technology will take you where you want to go. It’s important to start with a small pilot project and thoroughly test your solution before you embark on a large deployment. The worst thing you can do is pick a technology and then find yourself trying to engineer ways to make it do what you need.
2) Offer a Franchisee Portal
A sure way to cut through the complexity of procurement is to give franchisees one place to get all the technology they need. An eCommerce-like portal where they can choose devices and services and easily put them in a shopping cart works best. You can offer different payment options—including financing if needed. Streamlining procurement makes it easier than other alternatives, like getting devices at a big box store.
3) Get Deployment Right
Technology solutions should arrive at franchise locations out-of-the-box ready. You need the resources to kit and configure everything with the software and settings already installed so that the franchisee just has to turn devices on and go.
4) Support Your People
One of the most common causes of downtime is simple tech problems that can be solved with a phone call. A help desk staffed with knowledgeable technicians who know your technology and what it’s used for can quickly get things back up and running. It’s also a way to save on so-called “no fault found” repair returns. When problems are fixed in the field, devices aren’t sent back when there’s really nothing seriously wrong.
5) Keep it Running
Downtime frequently happens when technology isn’t kept up to date or secure. Automation is the solution. A good endpoint management platform allows you to push out software updates and security patches without physically touching devices. When a device does fail, it’s important to have a spare pool of preconfigured replacements that can be quickly shipped overnight. It’s significantly faster than buying a replacement and then getting it set up before you can deploy it to a franchise location.
6) Think Holistically
It’s important to see the big picture in franchise solutions. You need real-time data on what franchisees have opted into your technology programs, where devices are, and their overall health—information like the number of help desk tickets and devices in for repair or replacement. It not only gives you a sense of how your program is going and how franchisees feel about it, but the data helps you make informed business decisions—such as whether to change the program, add something new, or discontinue something that hasn’t worked.
Franchise technology is complicated, and getting it right is hard. Often partnering with a seasoned expert helps you avoid potential pitfalls. With decades of experience with franchise customers, Stratix is North America’s premier enterprise mobility specialist. Please reach out with your questions. Our solution experts can give you invaluable advice to ensure your technology programs are a success.