Covid-19 is possibly the greatest disruptor to retail many have ever seen. However, retailers have faced difficult times and disasters before. How do we get out of this mess? As the Harvard Business Review notes, the best response to a crisis is to start with the people. Reach out, empathise and collect information about your franchisee’s personal and financial well-being. Here is how one national franchisor of personal services is using Compliant IA to reach out and assist their franchisees across the United States.
National franchisor of personal services with 1,200+ franchised locations throughout the United States.
With the onset of Covid-19, the franchisor needed a way to reach out to 1,200+ franchised locations. The franchisor wanted to understand how franchisees are coping with the Covid-19 crisis both personally and business-wise. The franchisor also needed to gather information on franchisees’ most pressing needs, offer support, and help them prepare for reopening.
Using email or Excel for this type of initiative would be too slow. Additionally, if the franchisor used email or Excel to record answers, they would then have to compile answers and build trends across 1,200+ locations, which is time-consuming and error-prone. In a time when the situation is changing hourly, and head office needs to collect information and respond quickly, using Email and Excel was simply not an option.
Instead the franchisor used Compliant IA.
The franchisor quickly created a new, customized form/checklist using Compliant IA’s form builder. The checklist was deployed to the auditors’ mobile, tablet and PC apps in real time. Auditors utilized the checklist to call franchisees and document franchisee responses (franchisees are also able to fill-out the form on their mobile, tablet or PC). Head office can run reports in real time to track trends, aggregate and measure pain points and understand how to best support their franchisees.
With this form, the franchisor helps franchisees understand how to continue to connect with customers, safely close stores, apply for grants and relief, use proper HR practices if they need to release employees, and plan for reopening.
For more, see our blog: Franchising in Retail – 7 Ways HQ Can Support Franchisees
Additionally, franchisors need to understand the full scope of impact across their business. Do franchisees have the cash flow to sustain the location? Which franchisees are in the best position to reopen and when? Who has laid off staff? Have franchisees applied for relief, negotiated lease agreements, etc…
With Compliant IA, the checklist can be regularly updated and instantly redeployed as the situation changes. Because Compliant IA has a built in “made for retail” hierarchy, Franchisee data is siloed to protect confidentiality and visibility.
The franchisor can filter aggregate data by state or region to have a better understanding of what franchisees are facing, where and when, and implement relevant support accordingly. While checking in with franchisees, auditors offer coaching to help franchisees while locations are closed and to prepare for reopening.
Even when stores are closed, franchisees need to know they have support from head office. Because the situation can vary by region and state, it’s important for head office to understand specific needs and respond according to the reality in each market/county.
Communication and the ability to gather data quickly is key for responding to and surviving a crisis.
With Compliant IA, franchisors, Operations and District Managers can create customized forms and checklists to reach out to franchisees and stores. Franchisees can also self-assess and head office can search and filter the aggregate data to see what needs are most pressing.