All business owners are presented with challenges on their journey to growth, but especially franchise owners and operators in the gym and fitness space. Successfully operating multiple locations, whether it’s a handful to a few hundred, presents a unique set of challenges, including providing consistency across all locations.
Here are five ingredients that help franchise operators maintain consistency across multiple locations:
Value frontline workers.
Frontline employees are the core of every franchise; they drive your company’s vision and deliver the brand experience to your members. It’s important to maintain a happy and engaged team because what’s happening on the inside of an organization is often felt on the outside by its customers. When team members do not feel valued or heard by management and leadership, turnover increases, productivity can diminish and customer satisfaction levels can suffer. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of you and the business.
Open communication and listening to team members can mean the difference between a location that is thriving and a location with high turnover. In fact, 80% of the American workforce feels stressed as a result of ineffective company communication and this pain point is a common reason why people quit their jobs. Implementing the standards for communication from the very beginning – such as policies and operating procedures – creates shared accountability across team members.
Align goals across all levels.
Setting business goals is critical to consistency in franchises, but many brands do not create organizational alignment from leadership down to frontline workers, which in turn sets both the employees and the business up for failure in the long run. However, highly aligned companies are 72% more profitable and outperform unaligned peers in employee engagement, customer satisfaction and retainment, and leadership.
A brand will thrive if employees can properly execute the company’s vision and deliver consistent and strong performance along the way. From company values and vision to the role and responsibilities of each employee at every level, it’s important to be clear from the onset to ensure an employee can contribute to building a successful and consistent business.
Focus on customer service.
Most gym/fitness concept’s success lies in the hands of its members. Without members, there is no revenue or, really, a business at all. Retaining members is all about providing them with a unique and consistent customer experience. Customer service must go beyond attending to inquiries and complaints; you must also consistently meet expectations.
To ensure consistent customer service, it’s imperative that gym/fitness operators equip their team members with the right tools and knowledge to provide a customer-focused experience. This starts with continuous training. Proper training takes education and experience, that’s why for long term results, employee training should be continuous, consistent, well organized and informative. Using a performance and assessment based training program that provides employees with feedback and rewards for skill development is a great step to producing desired customer service experiences.
Maintain quality equipment.
Unfortunately it’s common for equipment to break down, but when it becomes a consistent problem that isn’t tended to, not only does this affect the member base, but expenses and liability issues can increase. Keeping equipment in good working order and maintaining an efficient and regular maintenance schedule is vital to creating a consistent experience for your members.
This also goes for the tools your team members use on a daily basis that promote a productive workplace environment and allow operations to run smoothly. Your employees are only as productive as the tools set in place to support them — so computers, registers and workplace platforms must be maintained as well.
Deliver clear messaging and communication.
Through brand consistency, franchises become familiar and comforting to their members. Their members know exactly what to expect each time they visit at any location because the standards for operation are consistent across all locations, or so they should be. The key to creating clear messaging is to develop brand standards that limit interpretations of your stance and expectations. Every interaction customers have with your brand including online and in-person, should embody the brand values and principles. Find your brand’s voice and keep it consistent across all levels of operation.
Establishing consistency allows you to build awareness and trust and helps to retain your customer base, a vital component to maintaining brand value and growth. With numerous branding touchpoints to monitor across multiple locations, controlling consistency can be a challenge for franchisees. By aligning goals across all levels, keeping the club running efficiently for customers and team members, and pouring your focus into your frontline workers, brands can more easily maintain consistency, generate revenue and scale with ease.
Cait Downing, Brand Success Manager at Woven
Cait Downing is the Brand Success Manager at Woven, an all-in-one workplace management tool for multi-unit franchising founded to keep franchise operators focused on growing their businesses. Today, the Woven platform delivers accountability, consistency, and productivity to all of its customers, including Planet Fitness, Massage Heights, Sun Tan City, and more. Visit www.startwoven.com or follow @Woven on LinkedIn for more information.