You’d better believe it!
And these days it’s not just word of mouth you have to worry about. The likes of social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook never sleep. Boundaries have been broken down and now anyone can (and will) share their views and experiences with others, be it good, bad or ugly.
We often make the mistake of thinking that we’re smarter than the people we’re selling to. Fall into this trap at your peril. Today’s buyers are savvy and are on the lookout for any hint of negativity or unrest in the network or potential problems with the product or service they’ll be expected to provide.
What is bad news?
Different issues cause concern for different people so ‘bad news’ can mean one of many things. Disgruntled franchisees, dissatisfied customers, poor sales, a stagnant network. None of it is a laughing matter and ALL of it is guaranteed to have a negative impact on your franchise recruitment and growth.
Things go wrong, they’re bound to from time to time. Addressing them quickly and directly is crucial for a positive resolution. Particularly if it’s initiated publicly. The key in this situation is not to panic and not to let emotions rule common sense or good business strategy. Dealt with correctly, even a mistake can be turned into a positive PR effort.
PR = Public Relations, so remember:
Be polite at all times: rudeness will immediately damage your brand and reputation. Be polite, not condescending and try to genuinely relate to the party feeling injured to understand what went wrong and how you can fix it.
Respond with facts: this can’t be stressed enough. Facts and facts only. Not opinion and not an emotional response other than to express an apology for inconvenience. Respond with what you know, not what you assume.
Apologise if you got it wrong: crucial for public image. Know when to say sorry. You’ll be amazed at how this can diffuse a situation.
Small gestures go a long way: be seen to be trying to put the situation right. Money isn’t always the answer. Understanding your customer profile will help you to offer a solution that will be best received.
When managed correctly, these resolutions are just as powerful as your good news and success stories. They clearly demonstrate that as a brand and as a franchisor you are open, honest and, most importantly, care about those that you do business with.
You could be forgiven for wondering how this fits into your franchise recruitment strategy. Well, the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter what you’re spending on print, exhibitions, online listings or eshots in order to entice prospects into your pipeline. If things fall down at due diligence stage then it’s been a waste of money, pure and simple.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about managing and utilising PR to rev up your franchise recruitment.