Franchise Trends: Mobile is In
Many dollars are being spent by franchisors to convert their operations manuals to online solutions, to switch to more advanced POS systems, and to increase the use of eLearning.
The newest trend in all of these operational and training solutions is their mobile accessibility.
Benefits of going mobile
The main benefit of the mobile trend is accessibility, which in most instances translates into increased efficiency.
Being able to access information from mobile devices not only makes it convenient, but it increases speed and accuracy.
As a rising number of the Millennial Generation’s members enter the world of franchising, they demand more technically advanced solutions and put pressure on franchisors that may have been late adopters in the past.
Efficiency is not the only benefit of these solutions. In addition, mobile training solutions and online Operations Manuals offer the ability to:
- Search for information from anywhere thus answering questions on the spot and in real time.
- Accommodate different learning styles such as visual, auditory, verbal, solitary, and even social, when online discussions are encourage.
- Adapt to different learning and usage schedules.
- Review materials learned in other types of learning environments.
- Collect immediate feedback and assess users and trainees.
- Ensure consistent message and curriculum.
- Use information that is usually lost within an operations manual that stays on a shelf.
- Protect proprietary information and monitor usage.
Increased efficiency is also not the only benefit of mobile POS Systems. These systems also offer the ability to:
- Streamline order processing and scheduling
- Increase ease of operations, financial management and reporting
- Eliminate the need for cash transactions, at least for certain types of businesses, thus increasing the safety of franchise owners and their employees
- Improve the customer’s experience
- Reduce operating costs to franchise owners, as tablets and other mobile devices are less expensive than traditional terminals
- Allow franchisor and multi-unit franchise owners to easily monitor business activities and metrics 24/7 and give them the ability to respond immediately
Dangers of going mobile
Just like with anything else in life, not everything is perfect, especially when it comes to technology. It is important to understand the risks of these three technological advances and respond accordingly.
Dangers to mind include the following:
Replacing all relationship building efforts with technology
Many franchise companies have fallen trap to this danger. They have increased the use of technology to such a degree that they seem to have forgotten that franchising is all about relationships. Technology is a tool to be used in operations and training; it facilitates communication and the transfer of information, but it does not replace face-to-face and one-on-one training. No new technology fulfills the need for human interaction nor can it change social dynamics if used as the sole means for instruction and communication.
Not taking enough security precautions
Proprietary and personal information is stored and handled by trendy technological solutions increasing the level of responsibility of franchisors and franchisees with the safety of their customers’ information. Although usability and the cost of the solution are critical factors, security should never be compromised.
Not considering legal ramifications of these solutions within the franchise context
Today there is much talk about legal cases that are jeopardizing the sanctity of the independent nature of the franchisee-franchisor relationship. Extreme care needs to be used when training the employees of the franchise owner, avoiding giving any impression that the employees of the franchise owners have any relationship to the franchisor. Information must be passed on in such a way that it is crystal clear to these employees that they have no working relationship with the franchisor.
Mobile solutions are playing a key role in reaching new growth and efficiency levels in franchising.
As long as franchisors use these solutions responsibly and smartly, they can gain the benefits these solutions present while managing their inherent dangers.
Lizette Pirtle is an expert in franchise operations and training at franchisee and franchisor levels. She works for franchise consultancy Expansion Experts.
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