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Tech Driven Operations: Elevating Your Franchise Strategy

We might not think of “franchises” in the same breath as “cutting-edge technology,” but for today’s franchises, changing that perception could be the key to success. Every day seems to bring news of some exciting new tech, touted as the key to transforming business for the better. While it’s important not to get caught up in too much hype, franchises ought to be rethinking their approach to technology – or risk falling behind.


Catching Up or Getting Ahead?

 As one expert puts it in Fast Company, “The franchise industry (and, in particular, the franchise sales industry) is a laggard in its adoption of technology to align the interests of its consumer and sellers.” Without adequate technology solutions, growing franchise companies must painstakingly sift through low-quality leads to find just a few with real potential, while qualified, would-be franchisees are left adrift without much support in their research. This disconnect is bad for everyone: bad for companies, bad for franchisees, and bad for customers in their communities.


When franchises do adopt more cutting-edge technology solutions and focus on streamlining the decision-making process, the benefits are apparent. Access, growth, and success all can skyrocket when the tech is there to properly connect people and brands. The key is seeking out solutions proactively, rather than constantly playing catch-up, and focusing on technology that properly addresses the biggest areas of concern.


What does that look like for franchises trying to convert to a more tech-driven approach to operations? It’s about finding a careful balance, with accurate, specific data at the center. Successful operations strategies will combine accuracy, credibility, security, and speed to adoption (but not so fast that it feels like bandwagoning). Growth in the franchise industry requires it to be seen not as the “laggard” it has sometimes been, but as an adaptable, forward-thinking industry. This approach not only can help to improve operations overall but can also help to ensure that investors still look at franchising as a niche worth their trust.


Which Technologies Should Franchises Focus On – And How?

 It’s clear that becoming more tech-driven is crucial to the success of franchises across the board. Now comes the next, equally important question: which technologies should take center stage? To better understand your company’s needs without getting overwhelmed, Fast Company suggests looking at franchise technology solutions in two main categories: those design to automate, and those designed to help make decisions.


In the “automation” category are the things we probably think of first when we think of business technology. These are the CRMs, the software solutions that help manage centralized aspects of a franchise, the training hubs, and social media and marketing tools. These solutions are all about consistency and streamlining, designed to make the “basic” tasks as easy as possible to reduce stress while also reducing the likelihood of inconsistencies or errors.


The other type of technology, the decision-focused side, is the more intriguing and the more likely to leverage cutting-edge tech such as AI-powered solutions. In this category, technology helps guide companies and franchisees alike towards more successful and profitable decisions. That could include predictive analytics on what franchises are likely to succeed in which markets, personalized recommendation algorithms (for customers and for investors alike), risk assessment tools, optimization tools, and more. Harnessing the power of top technology can even help with scaling and expansion, with tech solutions that can smoothly adapt key processes as your franchise network grows.


Along with improving operations “behind the scenes,” today’s technologies can also improve the customer experience for franchises. Adopting automation, AI, and other tech can address two main customer wants: efficiency and personalization. These solutions might include customer self-service options, improved chat bots and help desks, mobile payment portals, personalized email outreach, and social media marketing. From monitoring brand consistency to providing customized interactions, tech-driven strategies can help ensure that customers always have a reliable, positive experience with your brand, even if they visit different franchise locations.


Paired with extensive human expertise, these high-tech tools can transform the franchising world for the better. Franchises need to work to be ahead of the curve, not behind it, when it comes to adopting new technologies and leveraging their power. Blue Rock Search is here to help franchise identify and recruit the transformative, visionary leaders they need to make this all happen. If you’re ready to find that person for your franchise, contact us to learn more.


About the Author


Nancy Estep-Critchett is a founding Partner of Blue Rock Search, with oversight of the Franchise Practice. She has 30 years of successful working experience as a business advisor and executive recruiter in the franchising space. Nancy has built solid relationships which have spanned decades with industry professionals and internationally recognized brands.

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