In today’s fast-paced world, technology drives business outcomes more than ever before. And it’s no different in the franchise industry. Franchise brands that are technology forward drive better results and ultimately, stronger profitability for franchisees.
But, sometimes franchisors may not realize how technology can not only improve the customer experience (which helps to drive sales), but also how developing new tech can better support franchisees and their day-to-day operations.
For example, at Screenmobile, we recently developed a new mobile app that allows franchisees to connect with vendors, simplifying and expediting the procurement process of materials. This allows them to spend more time marketing and completing jobs, which helps their bottom-line.
And, as a franchisor, isn’t that our number one priority?
Although developing the app, which we did in-house, took blood, sweat and tears, in the end it’s well worth it. A franchise’s willingness to innovate demonstrates to franchisees the franchisor’s dedication to their business.
With over 30 years as a franchisor, we’ve learned a lot about how investments in technology help our business. Here are three key ways tech drives a franchise brand’s overall strategy.
Developing new strategies – especially tech-enabled ones – to facilitate procedures for franchisees can give the franchise a leg-up over similar concepts, and help franchisees complete more jobs more efficiently, driving business.
Incorporating technology at the consumer level (e.g. a consumer mobile app to schedule appointments or services, or a website that has scheduling enabled with no phone call required), allows customers to easily interface with your brand. Innovations like these help brands gain a crucial edge over the competition.
Improve Franchisee Operations
At the franchisee level, technology can help franchisees and their employees complete jobs with greater ease (e.g. what Screenmobile created with our vendor app). This allows our franchisees to finish more jobs or transactions in a day’s work.
Giving franchisees the necessary tools to be as efficient as possible is important to keeping their businesses profitable – and improve their satisfaction with their investment.
Additionally, new technology developed explicitly for franchisees allows them to focus on other aspects of the business as they’re spending less of their efforts doing “busy work.” Having a technology system that frees up a franchisees’ time can help the business long-term as the franchisee can focus on running the business in a more strategic, big-picture way, rather than constantly worrying about smaller tasks like researching and coordinating with vendors.
Also important, these tech investments and developments demonstrate to franchisees that the franchisor values their time, and is always on the lookout for ways to optimize and support their business.
Stay Ahead of the Curve
No matter how you look at it, the world is moving towards everything being tech-enabled.
To stay ahead of the competition, brands need to take initiative and be at the forefront of advancements in technology. Customers want to easily interact with a brand – and they want to do it on their time. So, if a franchisor is always playing catchup on the technology front, customers will go elsewhere and franchisee revenues will suffer.
Ultimately, this will cause franchisees to become frustrated and prospective franchisees will be skeptical of the franchisor’s ability to support them.
At Screenmobile, by ensuring that we are always searching for ways to better support our franchisees, we are hoping to keep them with us for longer – in fact, our franchisees have a 99 percent rate of renewing their franchise licenses with us. We’re always on the lookout for ways to innovate and simplify their processes and systems, so they can grow their business and take time to focus on what’s important to them.
So, when researching franchise opportunities, it’s vital for prospective franchisees to dig deep into the technology capabilities of the franchisor. Ask questions like what consumer-facing technology systems they have in-place, and ask to review analytics and results from those systems. Also, how do they innovate to best support franchisees and their day-to-day operations? What are their tech plans moving forward?
Gaining a firm understanding of these points will help you make a smarter investment in a franchise that will set you up for continued success.
Scott Walker is the CEO and president of Screenmobile – a nationwide leader in screen doors, windows, porches and screen repair. Walker and his family founded Screenmobile in their garage in 1980 in Glendora, Calif. After nearly 40 years in business, Screenmobile has grown to more than 100 licenses across the U.S.