6.4Close and two-way communication
The success of the franchise model is predicated on close, two-way communication between DIA and its franchisees. Aware of this, DIA has set up channels for transmitting its values and business information, gathering suggestions and assessing franchisee satisfaction.
A large part of the communication between DIA and its franchisees is channelled through the Franchisee Portal. This platform, created in 2014, provides the entrepreneurs with key business information–covering range, orders and sales information, etc. Franchisees can use this online channel to access databases containing information about their own performance as well as comparative information; it is also configured with a messaging system for getting in contact with DIA.
There are also permanent country-specific feedback channels. Here it is worth highlighting the creation last year of the Franchisee Ombudsman figure in Portugal, which complements the postal feedback channel. In Argentina, there is a Strategic Partner Service Centre (CASE for its acronym in Spanish) which operates by phone and e-mail and is similar to the phone line in operation in China. In Brazil, the company has developed a programme dubbed ‘DIA is listening’ to handles queries and resolve potential business management issues.
International DIA Franchisee Satisfaction Survey
Once again in 2015, with the aim of continuing to measure the trend in franchisee satisfaction and remain in touch with franchisee concerns, the company carried out its fourth International DIA Franchisee Satisfaction Survey, which is carried out annually by independent consultant, Nielsen.
In 2015, this barometer confirmed that the most highly-rated attributes remain the sales and supervisory aspects, notably including the quality and competitiveness of the DIA brand, the advertising campaigns and the Club DIA loyalty programme. The poll revealed that 58% of franchisees would repeat the experience and 54% would recommend it to another person.
According to the International DIA Franchisee Survey, 58% of franchisees would repeat the experience
The survey has emerged as an exceptionally good way of learning about the entrepreneurs’ expectations and suggestions. Moreover, over 95% of franchisees answered the following open-ended question: “What else could DIA do to help you manage your business?”
More dialogue between DIA and its franchisees
DIA promotes contact between franchisees and employees from different areas.
DIA’s quest to strengthen ties with its franchisees materialised in the International Franchise Managers Meeting held in September. For the 2015 edition this event, the company invited six franchisees from Spain to participate in a round-table event at which they exchanged impressions, suggestions and questions with the franchise managers from Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil and China. The meeting was attended by operations managers from all of DIA’s business markets.
In 2015, the company set up various forums for dialogue for the purpose of enabling entrepreneurs and representatives from different areas of the company to analyse processes, make proposals about how to improve them and establish agreed-upon procedures.
In Spain, the franchisees are brought to visit the warehouses regularly, giving them close contact with their regional centre’s management and knowledge of how their local distributions centre works. These meetings were also organised at the company’s head offices with the department heads who are involved in everyday franchise activities. They were organised in a ‘focus group’ style and addressed specific topics such as logistics and administration, essentially unearthing issues that affect the franchisees’ business.
Meetings of this kind also take place on a recurring basis in Portugal and China.
In Brazil and Argentina the company organised an event called Franchise Week, with activities and presentations designed to make DIA employees familiar with the franchise business model and its strategic importance for the company. It also organised an Integration Day with franchisees. During these sessions, franchisees were put in contact with leaders from DIA Argentina and DIA Brazil to share and swap projects, experiences and business concerns.
Periodically, and regardless of the country they operate in, all the group’s franchisees receive a newsletter or some form of targeted communication outlining the latest corporate news and best management practices.
The company also publishes various publications targeted at its franchisees. A new slogan was devised in Argentina to work on the franchise’s image, internally and externally: ‘DIA franchises, partners in success’, and it launched a bi-monthly magazine called ‘Partners’, in which DIA shares best practices, news and business information with its franchisees.
The Spanish franchisees also receive a country newsletter every two months with a print run of 1,900 copies which covers topical and training-related issues. The Portuguese franchisees similarly receive a newsletter.