For almost a decade now, many companies (especially in consumer-related industries) considered it important to create a new management position: a Chief Customer Officer (or experience director).
This new reality stems from the realization that a company’s customers are, in a way, its raison d’être and a fundamental asset.
No customers, no business.
However, in recent years, we have noticed that this clientele is evolving and, in a way, fragmenting. Today’s customers are increasingly diverse (and change) needs and expectations and have access to more and more resources to meet them.
The role and importance of this new management position are well described in two articles published in the prestigious Harvard Business Review, the first in April 2011 under the title The rise of the chief account officer and the second in June 2019 under the title Why Every Company Needs a Chief Experience Officer.
In a nutshell, as the name suggests, a Chief Customer Officer is responsible for the quality of the experience that customers have with the company.
To fulfill this responsibility, she must ensure that the customer experience is at the heart of all company decisions, activities and initiatives, as well as all of the company’s interactions with the public, its markets and its current and potential customers.
It must therefore constantly seek ways for the company to better understand and anticipate the expectations and needs of its customers, to measure the quality of the customer experience, and to develop and constantly implement continuous improvement processes. customer experience with the company.
Ultimately, a Chief Customer Officer plays a key role in maintaining and improving the company’s performance with its customers.
What about a franchisor?
Certainly, like any business, the experience of network customers is essential to its commercial success.
However, a franchisor also has franchisees.
The quality of the franchisee experience is therefore another fundamental aspect of the sustainability and success of any franchise network.
Like customers, franchisees have different needs and expectations, and those needs and expectations change from franchisee to franchisee.
For example, a new franchisee will need more training, support and coaching, while a more experienced franchisee will need recognition, input, pride and belonging.
The needs and expectations of franchisees may also depend on their culture, generation, environment and circumstances that affect the entire network (like a pandemic), part of the network (like a natural disaster) or a specific franchisee (such as an illness or a particularly difficult professional environment).
Maintaining a quality relationship between a franchisor and its franchisees cannot be based on identical rules and procedures for all franchisees; the franchisor must be able to adapt its rules, services, processes and operating methods to the different needs and expectations of its franchisees, and be able to manage them, as well as the franchisee experience, on an ongoing basis.
Since franchisees are at the very heart of the success of a franchise network, managing the relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees is therefore a fundamental activity for any franchisor.
At a first level, the people who are in direct daily contact with the franchisees must have the skills, training and abilities necessary to adequately fulfill their role. In this regard, we invite you to read our newsletter entitled The Area Manager; A key role in any franchise network.
Beyond the area managers, just as for the management of the relationship with the network’s customers, the relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees must be managed under the responsibility of a manager of the franchisor, a Chief Franchisee Experience Officer.
First of all, this Chief Franchisee Experience Officer supervises the recruitment, selection, training and supervision of network area managers, who are the franchisor’s branches and ambassadors to its franchisees.
Second, the responsibilities of the Chief Franchisee Experience Officer also include:
- Sensitize all leaders, departments and employees of the franchisor to the importance of the relationship with franchisees;
- Design and deliver training to managers and employees of the franchisor, as well as franchisees and their employees, on the proper management of the relationship between the franchisor and its franchisees;
- Continuous improvement of the franchisor’s processes, tools and services to better meet the different needs and expectations of franchisees;
- Continuous monitoring of each franchisee to enable the franchisor to offer support and services well suited to their needs and expectations;
- The implementation, maintenance and continuous improvement of a wide range of tools for communication, exchange and consultation with franchisees, both individually and collectively;
- Continuous monitoring of franchisees’ satisfaction with their relationship and interactions with the franchisor and with the tools, support and services they receive from the franchisor;
- The development, implementation and management of mechanisms, processes and tools to encourage franchisee participation in decisions and initiatives that impact their franchise businesses;
- The development, implementation and management of mechanisms, processes and tools that promote franchisee engagement;
- Research, design and develop new tools and initiatives to improve the experience and performance of franchisees;
- Continuous improvement of franchisee performance for both the franchisee and the network.
In order to fulfill this role, the Chief Franchisee Experience Officer must maintain contact and continuous exchanges with the franchisees in order to fully understand their reality, their needs and their expectations, all in the perspective of a strategic franchisor-franchisee partnership.
Obviously, for a network that has only a few franchisees, the person who fills the role and assumes the responsibilities of Chief Franchisee Experience Officer will often be an executive of the franchisor who also has other duties and responsibilities.
However, even in this case, the person who fulfills the role and responsibilities of Chief Franchisee Experience Officer must have the skills, training, skills and time to properly fulfill this role which is essential to the quality of the franchisor-franchisor relationship. franchisees and the performance of the network.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.