Q: How important is it to choose the right franchisees?
Choosing the right franchisees is incredibly important. These are your brand ambassadors, so you need to be sure they will run good businesses that are focused on client needs. Franchisees also work closely together, and so anyone new to the brand must hold the same values as existing franchisees and be able to work with them.
Q: How do you choose new franchisees to join the group?
We have very strict selection criteria. Once we have gone through the entire selection process we then introduce the prospective franchisee to our existing franchisees. They have to approve the selection.
We have found that existing franchisees tend to know if a person is suited to the industry and the brand or not, and it’s also a way to ensure the new franchisee is
embraced by the group as a whole, since they played a part in the final decision.
Q: How important are good branch managers?
Very. Even if you are an owner who is based at your branch, you still need good managers. If you hire well, you can find people whose strengths complement your own and fill in any gaps you might have.
Q: Any tips on how to keep good managers?
Reward them. I personally own a few franchises and in each of them my managers can earn equity. It shows them they are appreciated and it’s a good way of keeping great talent.
Q: How important is it to hire the right agents?
As with managers, this is very important, and I’m sure the same advice would be relevant when hiring anyone, in any industry. The relationship between your brand and your customer is extremely important.
Not only does high staff turnover look bad, but it makes it very difficult to maintain personal relationships with your customers. We have implemented a strict recruitment process that filters out anyone who doesn’t completely suit the brand and our core values. Since implementing the programme our agent retention has gone from 50% to 93%.
Q: What is the secret to building good customer relationships?
For upper management to always be available. Every customer should have access to top management. I personally speak to customers if they have asked for me. It’s important to remember that you wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for your customers, which means that no manager is above any customer complaint. Every customer is special – they should know that.