5 Best Practices of Franchise Brands for Communicating with Customers During Reopening
By Max Pecherskyi, PromoRepublic
Regulating the reopening process across your franchise.
During the lockdown, businesses were forced to focus on switching to online and providing contactless service options. Now the situation has become even more complicated: businesses have to provide both pickup and delivery, as well as prepare locations for reopening. And the main focus here is to make each customer feel valuable and safe.
Also, all changes — whether it’s franchisees opening in-person commerce or implementing new delivery options — need to be communicated to local customers via marketing channels. This means via social media channels, in particular, because they have become the main means of communication since the quarantine. Regulating such communication is a responsibility shared by marketing leaders and their local teams. PromoRepublic has collected and analyzed the best marketing and communications examples of the top franchise market players. Here they are.
While announcing reopening, emphasize your concern for customer safety.
People expect businesses to be no less responsible today than during the quarantine period. Your franchisees need to understand that even if they’re back to providing offline service, things are not the way they used to be. There are new rules and regulations they must follow. It’s really important for them to show local customers they’re aware of them.
Black Bear Diner adds this “Bears That Care” icon to almost all of their posts to help their customers feel safe. This way, when they announce their reopening, people will see that they will be taken care of. Consequently, the Diner is more likely to have visitors to welcome back in.
People have lots of questions today—provide the answers.
Following all the new regulations isn’t hard for just franchisors and franchisees. It’s hard for local folks as well, so they tend to ask more questions. Get prepared for it — set chatbots and add the most up-to-date questions to these bots so that it will be easy for customers to get info about the rebound.
Keep track of comments and mentions and respond at the head office level if local teams can’t process them.
Get testimonials from customers.
You worked on building good relationships with customers during the quarantine period? Good for you! Now it’s time to share the results.
Mainstream Boutique shows us a perfect example of such a campaign. They featured all the notes they got from customers in a short video. They positioned it as a thank you to their customers, but it obviously showed their brand in the best light, too. And it definitely didn’t come off as salesy.
Keep your customers engaged in comments.
To retain your audience’s attention pending important announcements and to build relationships with your customers, your franchisees shouldn’t just post about their shops/salons/cafes. What people really love is talking about themselves, so invite them to. This way, you’ll keep them engaged and they’ll be more likely to perceive future information positively, including updates about reopening.
Scooter’s Coffee tends to be really good at this. They let their customers speak and get new subscribers by creating “tag a friend” posts. They stick to the topic of care and positivity and say nothing salesy.
Don’t forget about customers who are still on quarantine.
The reopening of some locations doesn’t mean your franchisees can go back to selling offline and wait for customers who are still under quarantine to come later. They simply won’t. Keep providing them opportunities for online shopping, just like Apricot Lane retail franchise does. They organized a live sale for their customers and gave them the shopping experience they’d been missing so much.
During economic reopening, franchise businesses that switched their products online during the quarantine need to stick with it and continue supporting online product offerings with digital marketing. If you’re already opening your physical locations, add these updates to your marketing communications and focus on the concept of safety. In this way, you’ll be able to cover the needs of all your customers — both those who are staying at home and those who are going out.
Max Pecherskyi, CEO & Co-founder of PromoRepublic. PromoRepublic’s Social Media Marketing Suite connects brands with local audiences. The platform is designed to help franchise HQs eliminate inconsistent communications across multiple locations while giving franchisees powerful, easy-to-use tools for social media content creation and AI-driven scheduling. For more information on International Franchise Association (IFA) supplier member PromoRepublic, click here.