No matter if you’ve gone for a digital approach or are still relying on printed franchise manuals in binders, one thing still has to click: usability. Written in a tone and style that everyone can grasp, clear about roles and responsibilities, and most importantly, setting guidelines for quality, the franchise manual can transform your branded network to a consistent high performer.
How will a Franchise Manual benefit your Franchise?
Whether you are looking for your franchisees to fulfil their contractual obligations, set clear quality standards, or impose conformity across the network – the franchise manual is the only place that allows you to truly establish a benchmark for your business. Done right, a well-documented Franchise Manual will help you to achieve:
- Improved efficiency
- Greater level of customer satisfaction
- Customer loyalty
- Stronger bond between you, your franchisees and your customers
- Role based help and advice from your head office
- A reduction in the number of unnecessary enquiries
With me so far? Great. Most franchise owners we talk to are. But understanding usability is a different animal. Consider the day-to-day lives of the staff in your franchisee network – working the floor and rushing from customer to customer – how do you make their work day just a bit easier?
What makes the manual stand out in terms of usability?
When we speak to our clients, we typically remind them about a few important features to consider, including:
- Using an appropriate publishing method– ie. hard copy or electronic format
- Having a look and feel building on your corporate image and applying it throughout
- Developing an easy to follow, logical structure (See more on WorkMap here)
- Applying a good and consistent method of indexation
- Compiling a comprehensive Table of Contents
- Providing a smart system of cross-referencing (See more on WorkMap here)
- Creating a simple, easy to read visual presentation for the pages, which makes use of graphic white space
- Adopting an easy-to-update format
Again, I am convinced that most of you will agree on the list above. And which is why all things considered, we never recommend storing your franchise manual in a Dropbox or archived in folders in a Sharepoint site (which in essence moves your printed binder format straight into a PDF archive which is equally frustrating to rummage through). The way to go, we feel, is embedding your franchise manual right into your franchise intranet. Here you can make your vast franchise manual instantly usable by enabling it to be:
- Instantly searchable allowing users to find what they need, when they need it
- Role based, allowing users to see only what they needs to see
- Cross-linked, allowing users to easily navigate relevant instructions and processes with just a click
And embedding your franchise manual into you franchise intranet has one other significant benefit: it transforms your intranet from a static news page to the very main artery of your franchise network, allowing you to better channel critical information, knowledge and content to your franchisees. On a platform that you can rely on, track, and add to as you go. In an increasingly connected world, your locations are likely equipped with tablets and smart phones. So if your work force is there – why aren’t you? Trust me. Providing knowledge and content in a smarter way will help you take your business to the next level. IT. WILL. IMPROVE. YOUR. BUSINESS.