How to Use Data to Improve Franchise Management
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Once upon a time, business data didn’t get much more advanced than a signature on a receipt. Now, we produce a whopping 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day, and companies can have a field day if they learn how to make use of that.
For distributed franchise businesses, especially, the ability to utilise data is essential for ensuring customer satisfaction, even when you aren’t on location. Unfortunately, when you’re working within a distributed landscape, seamless data collection becomes much harder to manage. Add to this a global pandemic that has seen shopper habits changing faster than the seasons — you could say that data and franchises aren’t exactly an easy pairing right now.
Luckily, at least two-thirds of franchisors currently report continued success despite any operational challenges thrown at them this past year, and most have achieved that goal by adapting without pause and turning pandemic-challenges into opportunities for growth. Without fail, a good grasp on data has made that possible, ensuring that franchisors continue to meet customer needs in the moment. Here, we’re going to look at how you, too, can use data to improve franchise management in 2021 and beyond.
Further reading: If you want to learn more about how you can cultivate a highly efficient franchise network, check out our article — The Secret to a More Efficient Franchise Network
Step 1: Understand the difference between data and insight
Social media, online sales, and card transactions have all made it easier to collect customer data on an astoundingly wide scale. In fact, the average company now manages around 347.56TB of data in total. The only difficulty is that, for the vast majority of businesses, around 75% of that data is unusable, or better known as ‘dark data’. The reasons for this vary, but the leading cause in a landslide 85% of cases is a lack of analysis capabilities. Ultimately, this rather notable downfall prevents one all-important process for turning data into usable information – insight.
Insights are the gems in your data ring, ensuring that you can use this influx of information to settle on positive change and opportunity at all times. In large part, the path to actionable insights is three-fold, and the components look a little something like this:
- Data collection: Methods such as online sales or email newsletters that provide the component pieces you need to grow — crucially, this makes up the component pieces of data usage.
- Data analysis: Sorts raw data into groups so that it’s easier to understand and make decisions based on your findings.
- Actionable insights: The crux of data value which contextualises analytics with real-world, real-time information so that you can take action and predict outcomes.
Ultimately, getting from A to B to C is all about having the right tools — ideally, you want one, singular tool across your business that can collate your data, organise it, and mobilise informed actions with KPI tracking incorporated too. The only trouble is that most franchise CRMs simply can’t deal with that challenge, leaving ill-equipped franchisors drowning in big data, rather than flourishing, as they should.
Further reading: If you’re interested in learning more about what actionable insights are — check out our blog.
Step 2: Using insights within franchise management
Actionable insights centre around practical, conditional, and verifiable outcomes to ensure you reach the summit of your data mountain at last. There are a few different actionable outcomes on the franchise table, and we’re going to look at them here.
1. Network consolidation
The distributed nature of franchises offers undeniable opportunities, but thinly spread resources and a failure to understand success on the ground can also leave every franchise in your portfolio struggling.
In a true ‘less is more’ style, overcoming this sometimes means consolidating networks tailored towards your most lucrative sites. Unfortunately, unfettered data pouring in at you from a wide range of locations can make it increasingly difficult to do this right. The multi-factor online sales that account for so much interest right now, can make it especially impossible to grasp precisely where your best assets lie. A better understanding of your data will help you understand if you need to consolidate, and the best way to do so.
2. Improved communications
Communication is key to franchise success, allowing you to check-in, keep employees happy, and generally understand what’s going on and where. Unfortunately, when you’re managing multiple locations, relevant one-on-one conversations can be tricky and time consuming.
Hence why, in many cases, communication can take a back seat, leaving teams unsupported and keeping you out of the loop. Again, though, insights offer the solution, ensuring the communicative ease that, until now, has seemed impossible. After all, far from requiring in-depth meetings about every technical aspect, insights provide easy-to-read foundations for improvements and areas of concern, halving communication times, but ensuring that outcomes are easier to achieve for both parties regardless. The adoption of a singular tool to streamline communication between your branches can offer a data-driven omniscience throughout your business — leaving you well-equipped to improve the business’ overall performance.
3. Standardisation across the network
Standardisation is challenging within a franchise context. You need straightforward access to customer and business information to drive your decision-making process. If you’re using different systems in each different branch, you’ll spend too much time just trying to keep up with the data — constantly converting, reformatting and consolidating — this doesn’t leave much time for actually analysing.
You want your franchise to operate across one singular platform that helps you pull data from all of the different tools, and then analyse that centrally. This will help you to improve branch standards across your entire network and create more consistent, and profitable, customer experiences. When KPIs can be determined, assigned and tracked from one unified tool across all franchises, business efficiency will follow.
4. Automation and process efficiency
If we look at the setbacks we’ve discussed in the previous improvements, it’s plain that they have one thing in common – convoluted manual processes. As mentioned, insights can go a long way towards overcoming these, but they still won’t help if you’re applying everything by hand.
Access to insights delivers an automated way to cut through the noise in your data and focus on what’s important. By simplifying data at its source, insights ensure not only that you can automate updates and software implementation without worry, but also that you can automate key processes such as franchise marketing for ease, efficiency, and guaranteed results that are significantly easier to come by.
Your CRM just isn’t going to cut it
Historically, franchise management has been directly associated with CRM, and many businesses try to execute the outcomes described here using their CRM. But this won’t work — and it can’t help you access the insights you need to make a difference.
Instead, franchise success is all about seeking inclusive, insight-led solutions with software that understands how complex and ultimately useless untapped big data can be. We’ve developed Loop with that very issue in mind, combining business intelligence and business performance management software to ensure that actionable insights are easier to come by than ever, even within distributed franchises. As well, Loop can integrate with your CRM, delivering a solution that will upgrade your CRM with analytics, insights and business performance management capabilities.
Specifically, our solutions stand to help you harness management skill and general franchise oversight with help from a range of all important features, including:
- Balanced scorecards: Measures operational and experiential performance, enabling you to uncover inefficiencies and growth opportunities aligned with your business goals across numerous hierarchies.
- Dashboards: Designed for non-technical access to even in-depth KPIs and insights, bringing comparisons, trends, and correlations
- Action planning : Assign and track KPIs with specific franchise members, ensuring visibility and driving outcomes
Of course, entire franchise restructures can be daunting, but with Loop onside, these benefits can be integrated within existing CRMs to ensure an inclusive and action-led approach that’s right under your nose (and under this sentence).
Further reading: To learn more about how Loop transforms traditional BI outcomes, check out our article — 3 Business Intelligence Problems We Built Loop to Resolve.
The future of data is about interpretation, not volume
Far from just being another buzzword, the term ‘less is more’ is a business motto worth getting behind — this is seldom truer than where data is concerned. After all, big data is only useful if companies do not have to struggle to utilise even half of the information that they’ve worked hard to store. For distributed franchises, especially, the sheer amount of data on the table stands to drown your business rather than helping it to float, and insights are the best way to stem that tide.
With franchises in mind, Loop ensures data-led actionable insights that are easy to access, monitor, and most importantly, distribute, ensuring that you stay on the pulse with what customers want, even when you aren’t there to meet them. Enjoy these benefits and more by getting in touch and starting your free demo of Loop-BI today.