5 Ways Franchisors Can Leverage Artificial Intelligence


AI is Here, and its Future Looks Bright. Here’s What Franchisors Should Know.

Just imagine it’s 2030: Customer service companies are driven mainly by chatbots; Hollywood relies on generative AI to produce full-length movies; and the Wall Street Journal is using Chat-GPT to publish all of its articles. Well, maybe not all of its articles. But, like it to not, AI is here to stay, and it’s just getting more intelligent. So where does franchising come in this equation?

Today, customer service means supplementing your people with great tools such as chatbots, automated dialers, email marketing algorithms, and personalized content. Tomorrow, it will mean an entire shift to using AI-driven tools. We humans will continually look for new ways to leverage these tools for a competitive advantage. 

A Leap to the Next Chasm

Winston Churchill once said, “One cannot leap a chasm in two jumps.” Franchisors who dive in and leverage AI now will be ahead of the game when it comes to customer service, marketing, and more. Here are five ways to incorporate AI into a franchise system.

1. Chatbots

Franchisors are embracing chatbots in many different ways. They are on nearly every website now. That little “callout” box on the bottom right of your screen isn’t just meant to communicate between your customer and your company; it is a means to collect valuable user data. When implementing a chatbot on your digital platform, be sure to track all dialogue, and be sure you are tracking it specific to the user. Leverage your customers’ profiles, along with their interactions with your chatbot, to serve them up with content specific to them. But most importantly, collect this data so you can understand how specific user profiles/demographics interact with your products and more about what they truly want and are looking for. Don’t forget to give your chatbot a fun mascot-like name, as well. 

2. Content Generator

AI is becoming more intelligent. Some tools now make it nearly impossible to distinguish between AI and a human. Leveraging AI tools to write valuable content that is relevant to your customer is going to be a necessity in the very near term. The volume, relevance, and personalization of content will improve significantly by leveraging an AI content generator. A word of caution: still do all quality assurance for accuracy. In addition, invest in employees who are trained in creating the right dialogue with the AI content generator. This will nearly assure more valuable content, more efficiently, to your customer. 

3. Customer Profiling

Some of the most important parts of AI is its ability to leverage data to provide recommendations. Understanding your customer profile, in a detailed manner, will allow you to create marketing communication that is more relevant to your customer. Think of leveraging AI to track your customers’ activity (in a user-agnostic manner) to understand that specific demographic profile of the customer and gather as much information as you can on your customer. This will provide valuable insight into how your customer acts on your platform. 

4. Personalized Marketing

After you have developed a useful and robust tool for data tracking, and customer profiling, developing personalized marketing will be incredibly useful in your customer acquisition strategy. Just consider the benefits of no longer making educated guesses on what your customers are looking for and replacing that with targeted advertising that captures the sentiment of your customers, in a manner that truly resonates with them. 

5. Price Sensitivity Optimization

For those on the retail side of franchising, you are likely constantly evaluating customer acquisition cost, and weighing that against factors such as seasonality, cost per lead, and product price. Leveraging AI to provide pricing recommendations in a manner that is real-time and encompasses factors that affect acquisition cost will not just save time, but will drive revenue upward.

Although there are countless ways to leverage AI in franchising, the five tips listed above, if leveraged with an open mind and properly, will help you maintain a competitive advantage, but just for the time being. Living in a state of constant improvement will prove to be critical to your success. Think out to 2030, remember what is possible, and remember that in the world of technology, if it is possible, it will eventually happen. 

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Jimmy St. Louis is a businessman, former competitive athlete, and family man. He is the founder and current CEO of Franchise123, AliRx, and The Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute. As a former two-sport professional athlete, St. Louis has translated his lessons on the field to his businesses.
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