A strong online presence is essential for any local business in today’s ultra-competitive landscape. To build this presence though, you need to have a robust online reputation management strategy in place.
When you successfully manage your reputation, you’ll receive valuable customer feedback. For instance, when you’re gathering and analyzing your 1st and 3rd party reviews, you’ll be able to learn more about each franchise location and how that can in turn improve the customer experience.
But between sending out customer feedback requests, responding to reviews, and trying to market your testimonials, online reputation management can turn into a time-consuming and complex process.
In this article, we’ll show you our top techniques, tips, tools, and strategies for building an effective reputation management strategy.
Why Is it Important for Franchise Businesses to Standardize Feedback and Review Collection?
Franchise businesses are usually dealing with multiple locations and team members. Without a streamlined strategy and standardized process, it may become difficult to efficiently evaluate customer satisfaction surveys and Net Promoter Scores and make accurate improvements.
When you implement a standardized way of collecting feedback and managing reviews, it becomes much easier to compare different locations and teams across the whole franchise business.
A standardized feedback and review collection process also helps parent organizations evaluate whether individual franchises are meeting brand guidelines and if they are maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction.
How Does Reputation Management Benefit Customer Experience?
“Reputation management remains an important tactic that should be a part of any franchise marketing strategy and is one that can be executed at the local level to great effect. Engaging directly with customers who leave reviews and feedback gives franchisees an opportunity to provide a unique window into their businesses, while demonstrating their commitment to the highest level of customer satisfaction.”
Joshua Allen, Vice President of Marketing, Location3
Effectively managing your franchise business’s reputation offers different divisions and teams multiple benefits.
1. Training and Support Teams
Regular and standardized feedback collection gives training and support teams the opportunity for identifying areas for improvement and tracking top performers.
If each franchisee uses NPS collection and customer satisfaction surveys, operations teams can more easily pinpoint specific individual locations and put together an actionable training plan.
For instance, if your customer satisfaction surveys indicate that your beachside restaurant has slow service, you could send out your team to train the employees of that location on how to make their serving operations more efficient.
If one of your urban locations is having a cleanliness problem that’s reflected in negative reviews, you could set up a training session to review cleaning procedures and then implement a probationary program.
By using customer feedback, you’ll also be able to identify top-performing locations and team members and provide them with rewards or incentives.
2. Operations Team
Customer feedback can give franchises valuable operational insights across the brand, locations, products, or services.
When you implement a customer experience and reputation management tool like GatherUp, it’s easy to implement custom integrations that automatically request feedback from customers. Automating feedback requests has been shown to double the amount of feedback and reviews.
3. Administration Team
A streamlined automatic process for requesting feedback also removes a task from employees who would otherwise have to manually upload customer information to make feedback requests.
4. Executive Team
Regular reports help senior management to identify which locations are driving high sentiment and which ones are struggling. Customer feedback and NPS offers franchise wide brand sentiment analysis.
5. Business Development Team
Business development teams can use customer experience and reputation management tools to highlight a franchise’s value. When someone is considering purchasing a franchise, the team can highlight the processes and tools in place to enhance customer experience and grow the franchise. These tools and processes may include NPS, survey collection, and review generation support.
Surveys and reviews are also a great way of getting immediate feedback on franchise pilot programs that are focused on products, services, and promotions.
Take a look at this location-specific review for Nekter Juice Bar. It’s full of highly specific details that are useful for evaluating the success of their newly opened location and its products:
6. Marketing Team
Sometimes it’s challenging for different franchisees to differentiate themselves on a local level. When franchises conduct all their marketing on a national level, it may be hard for each individual franchisee to showcase their unique value proposition.
Reviews can help franchisees identify their strengths and then promote these to their target audience:
Online reviews also boost local SEO for individual locations. For example, if someone were to search ‘Taco restaurants in Boston’, the top-performing restaurants with the highest quantity of positive reviews usually show up first:
What Are Some of the Challenges Franchises Face?
Large franchise businesses with multiple locations may find it more challenging to consistently maintain high levels of customer satisfaction.
Some of the challenges franchises may face when it comes to ensuring top levels of customer experience include managing:
- Different team members and leadership styles – some team members may find it easy to approach customers for feedback while others might find it difficult.
- Store-specific attributes – perhaps one of your grocery stores offers complimentary coffee and the other doesn’t.
- Regional services – maybe your city center locations offer door to door delivery and your coastal location doesn’t.
For instance, a restaurant that has multiple locations in Miami, Florida making a streamlined reputation strategy essential for maintaining high standards.
You may find that some franchisees favor some online reputation management systems over others. Franchise businesses with multiple locations may also find it hard to create widespread standardized processes.
But, effective reputation management and robust online systems can help eliminate these challenges and make life easier for everyone across the business.
Using Tools for Improving Reputation Management
A comprehensive and well-thought-out reputation management strategy is key to boosting customer satisfaction and experience. Implementing a few well-chosen tools should help you streamline the process too.
GatherUp custom integrations enable you to automatically request feedback from customers which can more than double feedback and reviews.
1. Audit Your Online Reputation and Feedback on a Monthly Basis
Monitoring your online brand reputation and customer feedback on a regular basis is essential for franchises. Establishing and maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction takes consistent work and attention.
It’s best to conduct a monthly uniform online brand reputation analysis of recent reviews and your overall performance.
If your franchise regularly releases national and local level advertising campaigns, you could use these monthly audit sessions to identify how these campaigns may be influencing general brand sentiment.
2. Identify Review Outliers
All online reviews and customer feedback tell you something about your business. But looking out for review and survey outliers that are either highly positive or negative can help you narrow down what to look out for. They’re ultimately useful for understanding what’s going well and what needs work.
Check out this rave review on Clean Juice’s Northlake location:
These positive and negative reviews can provide you with specific details about your business. For instance, within your rave reviews, you may find that one employee is consistently going above and beyond to deliver top service. Alternatively, you may discover one of your franchise locations frequently receives complaints of slow service.
We recommend providing individual franchisees with tools to collect feedback in the form of Net Promoter Scores, surveys, and online reviews.
When you make it easier for franchisees to collect feedback and for customers to give their thoughts, you’ll receive more responses and ultimately more valuable insights to improve your business operations.
NPS is a simple way of finding out how customers feel about a new product, service, or location. Once you collect their scores you’ll be faced with a scorecard like this one:
3. Analyze Feedback and Review Trends
When you gather location-specific feedback and reviews, you may find that certain locations begin to show patterns. For example, you may find that your city center locations have slower service due to having a higher footfall than franchisees that are based in more residential areas.
Based on this analysis of feedback and reviews you may decide to add more staff members to your city center locations during peak hours. This should then improve customer satisfaction levels and boost performance in local reviews.
Take a look at this example of a location-specific review of Clean Juice:
Gathering in-depth insights on different locations can be a complex and time-consuming task. Using GatherUp’s reporting features is helpful for pinpointing performance on a location level and saving yourself from the headache of analyzing each review individually.
4. Consistently Reply to Online Reviews
50% of customers expect a response to their reviews at least some of the time. Review responses help customers feel that their opinion is valuable and that the business has taken their feedback on board.
Both positive and negative reviews require thoughtful responses that match the tone of your business and show customers you’re willing to take their feedback on board.
That’s why it’s important to keep track of all of your reviews and never miss a new one again. Reviews without responses may give your customers the impression that you’re not bothered by their positive or negative thoughts and their overall experience.
Read our full guide to replying to reviews and try our free templates.
5. Leverage Reviews for Marketing
While people relied on word of mouth recommendations in the past from friends, family, and colleagues, these days they’re much more likely to search Google or the business’s website for reviews and customer feedback. This gives marketing teams a powerful opportunity for leveraging positive reviews to attract new targeted customers.
Using tags, each location could have its own web page of reviews that’s updated in real-time. Our social sharing tools will also help you style your reviews into visual social media posts for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Industry Use Examples
Reputation management tools are essential for all local businesses with an online presence looking to boost their authority and brand presence.
Whatever industry your franchise business is in, reputation management tools provide multiple solutions.
If you’re a hospitality franchise that’s a restaurant, bar, or cafe, your main priorities when it comes to reputation management probably include boosting customer satisfaction, understanding key areas for improvement, and gathering reviews for local SEO.
If you own a juice bar in Miami, you would likely want enough positive reviews to appear at the top of the local search results:
Reputation management tools make it easy to automatically request and collect feedback from recent customers and then analyze these trends for future action.
GatherUp’s integrations with Toast or LunchBox mean feedback requests can automatically be sent to anyone ordering a food delivery.
An integration with TextBack means customers can easily provide feedback on an in-store experience via SMS.
2. Home Services
HVAC businesses should look to use GatherUp for acquiring more new reviews on Google and Facebook to boost their local SEO and rank more highly in the SERPs.
GatherUp’s widgets and tags can help you filter reviews that are centered around specific services. For instance, if you offer window repairs and roofing, you could create subsections on your site where you display real-time updated reviews for each service you offer.
Gyms, yoga studios, and other fitness businesses may also want to build out separate web pages for different classes and instructors. Tags would then enable instructor or class-specific reviews to show up on the correct pages.
Take a look at this testimonial page on site of Miami-based gym Core Fitness:
If you want to regularly update your social media accounts with testimonials and review based content, our social sharing widgets help you create visual content for your business’s social media platforms:
4. Automotive Services
Some businesses like automotive service brands may find that since their services don’t generally change that much, they may struggle to publish new content regularly.
Walt’s Automotive Service use testimonials to provide them with fresh new content:
They could also take this one step further by grouping reviews according to the services they offer:
Using the review and tag widget can make it much easier to regularly update your site without having to come up with original new content. When set up properly, a steady stream of reviews is published on your site.
Customer satisfaction surveys are great for understanding parents’ opinions on things like the curriculum structure and class options. Whether you run a tutoring franchise business or multi-location drama school, NPS and customer satisfaction surveys are essential for an operational understanding of what’s going well.
6. Home Healthcare
Reputation management tools give healthcare businesses like assisted living and nursing facilities the chance to better understand different opinions and perspectives by filtering and categorizing reviews.
For instance, when it comes to at-home help, you may need to incorporate both the patient and adult children’s opinions on the quality of the care. Both parties may have views on whether the nurse was punctual and the overall experience. Using tools will help you more easily categorize and sort these different opinions.
Take a look how at how assisted living brand Right at Home makes sure to feature different perspectives:
Effective reputation management can help take your franchise business to the next level. When done right, you can boost your appearance in search results, collect more customer feedback, improve business operations, as well as analyze more review data and trends.
When you implement reputation management tools, not only will you save your team time but also ultimately improve customer experience across the whole franchise. Try a few of our integrations, tools, and widgets and see how you’re able to streamline your reputation management strategy.