Mortgage franchise Smartline has again topped a poll of top franchises that is ranked according to franchisee satisfaction levels.
The survey of 2,000 franchisees covering 65 franchise systems was conducted by research site 10 Thousand Feet based on criteria including the intention of franchisees to renew their franchise agreement, their willingness to recommend a franchise to friends and colleagues, financial rewards, support level and the level of passion franchisees feel about their brand.
Smartline, which has more than 200 franchisees in the mortgage and financial services sector took the top prize for the second year running, just ahead of Mortgage Choice, which has over 300 franchisees.
Ian Krawitz, head of intelligence at 10 Thousand Feet, says the rise of the mortgage franchisors is partly a reflection of Australia’s strong housing sector, which has enjoyed a period of big price rises in the last 12 months.
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“It can be quite a financially rewarding business once you get your recurring revenue and trail commissions working for you. “
However, he says Smartline’s steady performance over the last 18 months suggests money might not be the only thing motivating franchisees and he points to the company’s decision to invest heavily in support services has given the network a big boost.
“All of their franchise support staff are trained business coaches or have completed a business coaching program. That’s one of the key things from Smartline from a support perspective.”
While a recent survey from Griffith University suggested trust between franchisors and franchisees was in a poor state, Krawitz says there has been a noticeable trend of franchisors investing heavily in support services, particularly coming out of the GFC when franchisees may have required extra help in dodging the downturn.
“The key that we’ve seen in improving scores on trust is that old-fashioned thing of doing things you are saying you are going to do.”
He says two particular trends stand out.
Firstly, some franchisors have seen satisfaction levels increase after they took a harder line on the issue of compliance. In one case, a franchisor who had earlier asked for franchisees to provide monthly financial results as part of a benchmarking effort won plaudits after it started to crackdown on non-compliant franchisees.
“The franchisees who were doing the right thing saw that the franchisor was actually following through and that built trust levels,” Krawitz says.
Another important trend is that franchisors who insist on sending support team staff to one-on-one meetings with franchisees – and not letting busy franchisees put these off – tend to have better satisfaction ratings.
“Where we see franchisors actually insisting on a face-to-face meeting, everything else flows on from that. Your franchise field support staff are just such important conduits in getting the franchisor message across and feeding information back.”
The top 10: