How to ease a software transition for franchisees.

Actionable Tips for Getting Franchisee Buy-in for New Software

By Michael Otjen

It can be overwhelming for franchisees to hear that corporations want to switch their software, possibly not for the first time.

How can you approach your franchise owners and present them with the reasons why switching software is a good thing? How can you address any concerns they might have? Let’s explore.

Keep open and transparent communication with your franchisees

Effectively speaking with your franchisees about a new software essentially boils down to three main things: keeping an open line of communication, ensuring they understand how the switch will help them, and clarifying what they should expect during the switch.

Here are a few tips to ensure a smooth transition.

Assure them they’ll get to test the software first

Franchisees are often concerned about a software switch because they feel they have no control or input. Delivering a thoughtful and thorough pilot plan, focusing on a single location within your brand, using real customer data, can ease their concerns and increase buy-in.

Piloting is an effective way to show franchisees a location’s firsthand experience with the software, compare the new solution to the current one, and see the value for themselves. Exploring the software in a live setting with real customer information helps franchisees envision the future success of their operations with a new platform.

Collect and share feedback

Fostering an open line of communication is key. Demonstrate that your franchisees’ opinions matter by leaving room for feedback, questions, and concerns. If there’s something about the new software that might not be effective, you need to know about it ahead of time. 

Consider creating a franchisee council dedicated to this project. Ensure that you have representation across various roles and locations. This group will be your primary pilot team, representing the larger organization so all key business needs are addressed throughout the pilot. A typical pilot meeting cadence should occur once per week until the decision is made.

Establish and share pilot success criteria

Establish and share your success measures and benchmarks with your franchisee council. Your new software provider should have a team ready to work with you to determine measurable criteria that ensure success. 

This way, everyone is aligned going into the pilot and understands what to look out for.  Plan on providing regular updates so the team understands the direction of the pilot and how things are going. 

Identify and share the value of the new software

It can be challenging for franchisees to understand the benefits of the new software if you can’t clearly explain what it offers that the current software can’t. 

For example, franchisees are likely spending several hours of their workweek returning missed calls and offering customer support when the new software should handle that work. Mindbody’s Messenger[ai] responds to missed calls, answers questions, books classes, and schedules appointments. With the front desk handled, franchisees can focus their attention on customers. 

It’s possible that your current software doesn’t offer much flexibility when it comes to branding your app and sending personalized emails. Highlighting how the new software gives you a branded customer-facing app and easily sends personalized and targeted emails to customers might be exactly what franchisees need to hear.  

Make it easy for your franchisees to see exactly how the two tools differ. If you do, they’ll better understand why you’re considering the switch— and what’s in it for them. 

Draft a value-based roll-out plan

Work with your software provider to create strong documentation and experiences throughout the entire process. With a value-based plan, the team knows exactly how the software will benefit their day-to-day operations. Your software provider should be able to assist with any supportive material, training, or meetings to set your franchisee team up for success.  

Once you know the plan, create a marketing package for your franchisees that shows the value they’ll see with the switch. We typically see the following components built into the marketing plan: 

  • Resource page: Provide a central repository with all necessary documentation to roll out the new software. This gives your franchisees confidence that they have all the tools they need to upgrade their software in one easy-to-find location.Video: Create a short promo video highlighting the value that came out of the pilot and that you predict for the future. 
  • Social posts: Use any social communities where your franchisees collaborate about your brand to share out the marketing materials.    
  • Digital communication: Plan an ongoing email cadence with weekly updates about the software rollout, what franchisees should expect, and how they can prepare themselves and their staff.  
  • Printed materials: If budget allows, mail out printed materials outlining the value props and transition schedule, so franchisees know what and when to expect the change. 

Moving forward

Your current software isn’t getting the job done, which is why you’re considering switching. Factor your franchisees’ anxiety into this decision and make sure they understand how the new software is going to make their lives easier. 

If you’re considering switching to a new tool, Mindbody might be exactly what you’re looking for. Contact us about getting a demo today and learn more about piloting our software with your franchisees.

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About the author:

Michael Otjen headhshot

Michael Otjen

Senior Director, Professional Services and Implementation

Mindbody

Michael Otjen currently serves as Mindbody’s senior director of professional services and implementation. Michael is a seasoned professional services and IT executive with comprehensive experience in leadership of EPMO, project management, mobile application development, IT engineering, and support/delivery divisions. 

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