Is your franchise business suffering because of a poor reputation?

There's a direct relationship between sales and your franchise's online reputation. But if you're not managing it well, your business could be in trouble.

Is your franchise business suffering because of a poor reputation?

There’s a direct relationship between sales and your franchise’s online reputation. But if you’re not managing it well, your business could be in trouble.

Numbers can paint a great picture, so here are a few figures that might be eye-opening. According to studies, 25% of a company’s market value is directly related to its reputation. Around 68% of prospective customers are willing to pay a premium price if they know that what they’ll buy is of high quality.

But here’s the showstopper: a Forbes study identified that a whopping 94% of consumers avoid a company with negative reviews. In the same study, it was found that one negative review can drive away 22% of your leads.

That is significant considering the fact that you spent money and effort running campaigns and paying for ads only to lose clients at the end of the franchise funnel. Is it worth it? Or could you turn this around?

The good news

The good news is that you can. There are numerous ways to improve your online reputation. Some of these include sending automated emails requesting reviews through a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Others include leaving flyers and business cards asking for reviews. You can also incentivise clients with a discount to leave a review.

Alternatively, you can hand out some freebies. We all love something for free, don’t we? The main takeaway though is that monitoring your local business pages and online review websites such as Trustpilot, Feefo, Checkatrade and others is essential.

Debunking the myths and showcasing the facts

Perhaps this is an opportune moment to do some myth-busting about online franchise reputation management. Many franchisors believe that if their business delivers a good service, its reputation will also be good without the need to pay attention to it. Wrong.

Reputation and reviews can make or break your franchise business. In fact, when weighing up cost and availability as equal, a customer’s purchasing decision is often primarily swayed by the brand’s reputation.

Speaking from experience

You can always appoint someone from your team to monitor and manage your online reviews and reputation. On the other hand, this is something an agency can help you with, too. But from personal experience, I can attest that all clients who made efforts to improve their online reputation have noted a dramatic increase in conversion rates. All this without needing to increase their marketing or advertising budgets.

Dealing with negative reviews

No one likes to receive a negative review. But it happens. Perhaps your franchisee had a bad day. Perhaps the client did. It doesn’t matter. The situation escalated and the client’s decided to go online and vent. The first thing you’ve got to do in such a case is separate the personal and emotional from the facts. You’re dealing with an upset client. As such, their review should be treated with the highest priority (urgently), utmost care and a tailored approach.

Negative reviews are also a great source of learning. They can help you improve your customer experience and service offering. But managing negative online reviews should be your top priority and it should be done as soon as possible after receiving it. Taking the conversation offline is another great tactic. Offering a small token of appreciation or compensation is an essential way of showing the customer that you care. It’s also an important way of signalling to prospective clients that your business looks after its customers.

What about franchise sales?

Believe it or not, online franchise reputation management is crucial for franchise sales, too. Many potential franchisees look online at your business to determine whether you have happy franchisees and happy clients. After all, who would want to work with a franchisor whose reputation in the industry is a negative one? It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to attract new franchisees with an unmanaged reputation and close a sale at all.

Wrapping up

There are so many online tools and services that are perfect for online franchise reputation management. And they are no longer out-of-this-world, out of reach or unaffordable. It’s a matter of setting your mind to consistent and continuous online reputation management to reap the rewards for your franchise – both for your clients and prospective franchisees. I encourage you to check out your online reputation right now. Are you satisfied with where your franchise is at?

Dani Peleva
Dani Peleva