Franchisee Engagement: Tips for Fitness Brands Focused on CX Improvement

Franchisee Engagement: Tips for Fitness Brands Focused on CX Improvement


Franchisee Engagement: Tips for Fitness Brands Focused on CX Improvement

Whether you’re rolling out new customer experience (CX) initiatives or reinforcing current ones, keeping key stakeholders engaged is critical to success.

But developing franchisee engagement and driving participation can be particularly painful—especially for fitness and gym franchise brands trying to balance ongoing CX challenges. For these businesses, it’s especially important to provide a differentiated experience to keep up with rapidly shifting consumer trends (e.g., working out from home, the expansion of digital options) and disruption from a struggling economy.

The thing is, low adoption of your customer experience program initiatives won’t get you anywhere—even when you have the best CX insights. Having franchisee buy-in and driving engagement in the field is critical and customer experience programs can’t be successful without it. 

This blog will provide gym + fitness franchise brands with 3 steps for creating stronger engagement with franchisees to motivate their involvement in your CX program.


How to drive franchisee engagement

Today’s winning brands know that to stay atop a crowded marketplace, they have to find new and innovative ways to resonate with customers. That’s why it’s no surprise companies are investing more resources in CX measurement programs.

A best-in-class CX program delivers cutting-edge technology and world-class insights—but technology and insights will have diminished impact if employees don’t use the program to drive action. The truth is, the success of any CX program depends largely on your field teams.

Here are 3 steps for sparking field engagement and jumpstarting your efforts.

Step 1: Create hype

The first step is to set up a plan to introduce your CX program—or reintroduce it if you feel like it’s grown stale. The more franchisees are talking about it, the better. A few ideas for effective communication are:

  • Brand your program – People naturally remember and assign value to programs if they have names and associated visuals. Consider developing an acronym and even implementing a logo you can use on all communications related to the initiative to grab attention.
  • Create collateral – Get the program in front of every team member with relevant materials like posters, pamphlets, splash pages, etc.
  • Announce it live – Don’t just send out an email to share what’s new. Consider announcing your program at a live event or sync it with a live quarterly meeting. Encourage questions and give it the attention it deserves!
  • Invite your CX program vendor in on the action – You don’t have to do all this work yourself. Lean on your partner for support in onboarding and engaging franchisees.

Step 2: Establish relevance through education

Don’t launch and move on. The more your franchisees are brought into the fold, the more invested they’ll be. Give them access to real time, role-based dashboards—and teach them how to use the intel with: 

  • Online tutorials
  • Pre-scheduled working sessions + webinars
  • Additional resources (pro tip: lean on your vendor for quick + accessible how-to guides)

Step 3: Keep all parties motivated

It’s important your franchisees stay motivated throughout this entire process—and the quickest way to increase their willingness to participate is to show them what the program can do to their bottom line. Here are a few ideas:

  • Find your champions – Consider test driving the program with a small batch of clubs before a full system-wide rollout. Use this testing group as your benchmark and work with them to evangelize it.
  • Build performance benchmarks – Encourage healthy competition, both between locations but also within teams. Also encourage self-growth and give associates reporting access so they can track their own improvements. 
  • Share results – When you’re trying to engage employees, create an environment that makes work rewarding. A good way to do this is make an example out of employees that provide exceptional service with celebration alerts, call out top performers within executive communications, and incentivize continuous improvement by celebrating teams that achieve program goals.

Franchise motivation starts with focused action and clear communication from the top

It’s not uncommon for franchise owners to feel overwhelmed by changes and initiatives delivered by “headquarters.” By keeping leadership messaging on CX program initiatives positive (less “franchisee agreement” verbiage) and focused on how taking these actions will drive franchise success as well as promote growth of the brand, you’ll keep them plugged in and excited about the company’s goals. This also creates a positive feedback loop, so you’re consistently engaged with your community of franchisees.

That’s why it’s so critical to choose a CX partner with a proven track record of keeping the franchise network fully engaged and one that schedules regular program checkups once your strategy is in place. Left unaddressed, a disengaged field can lead to more serious conditions detrimental to your brand’s long-term health—including decreased customer satisfaction, loss of competitive visit share, and eventually lower comp sales across the organization.

How SMG can help drive franchise engagement

SMG’s CX programs are designed to inspire field teams to provide exceptional brand experiences across every touchpoint—every single day.

With SMG’s customer experience management program, franchise fitness brands like Crunch Fitness, Pure Barre, 24-hour Fitness, and others are using best-in-class tools to capture member feedback. That experience survey data is then delivered to the smg360® reporting platform in real-time, providing a holistic view of the member experience while the platform’s automated reporting provides individual locations with local member feedback, areas of focus, and targeted insights.

In addition to this solicited feedback, SMG is also able to help these brands measure and respond to unsolicited social media feedback from online ratings + reviews with our online reputation management platform.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. To learn more about SMG’s approach to experience management feedback—including what you can do to keep franchisees engaged and your customers happy—request a demo here. You can also find more information on creating and sustaining program impact with the best practice guide: 10 ways to spark field engagement in your CX program.