Invariably when I am contacted by a multi location franchise owner, the account is already in a bit of a mess. Whether this be due to multiple suspensions, poor visibility, lack of a brand pack or they just realised that their franchisee have run wild with their Google business profiles.
Most of the issues with franchise multi location business profiles can be prevented if franchisees expectations are properly managed and guidelines put in place regarding managing their business profiles.
Golden Rule for Multi Location Franchise Accounts
Before you can begin to start cleaning up your franchise profiles there is one golden rule that should be put in place to protect the account as a whole.
The Franchisee is the Owner of their Business Profile, your Organisation Account is the Manager.
If you are creating the business profile for the franchisee, you can skip the verification (verify later) then assign them as owner and retain manager. Once completed you can request verification.
Now that franchisees have control of their business profile, they need guidelines, or as I regularly use when creating these for franchises is “Help Us, Help You”.
Franchisee Business Profile Guidelines
The idea behind these guidelines is to provide clear visualisation as to what they will see, can expect to see happening (changes) on their business profile and what they can do themselves.
I always start with this, because most franchisees that have been left to their own devises have invariable thrown in a few keywords and or completly left the branding out.
Make sure your naming convention is also reflected on the businesses location page on site too, so these match.
A good portion of franchise owners will have used their home address and not marked the business as a Service Area business, or the franchise owner will have expanded their service area into other franchise owners locations.
Explain why you are changing to a service area business and their assigned service area.
Update the business description to fit within brand guidelines but also include a bit about the franchisee “Steve has been operating in X area for Y years and part of the Brand family for Z years”
This also give you an opportunity to get to know your franchisees better which can also be included on the websites location page to make it more personable.
This is dependant on the franchise model:
The website link should be to their location page on website with the inclusion of UTM tracking.
Show them what this will look like so they don’t end up removing the link because it looked odd.
If the franchisee has their own website, ask them to display a link on their website to their location page to show official affiliation as a franchise.
Products & Services
Explain you will be adding official branded images with product descriptions.
Show how to you are going to structure these in the business profile.
Show where services are added and how they are sometimes removed or added to algorithmically.
Update with Official and remove poor images.
Provide guidelines as to work / service type images that would benefit a user from viewing.
Talk about best dimensions and the quality.
Apart from Branded Updates show them how to add Google Posts when they have additional information to share.
Provide them with examples:
- New installation in X area, before and after images
- Millie passed her drivers test, congratulations
This is dependant on the franchise and model, but if they do have the ability to provide offers, provide details on how to add.
A decision should be made whether ‘head office’ will be integrating messaging from multi locations into their Chat functionality or the franchisees responsibility.
They must however be made aware that if they enable and do not respond then Google will remove this ability.
If ‘head office’ handles booking and messaging, it would make sense for you to include direct links to leave a review for the customer. However if the franchisee manages their own bookings then they should be shown / provided with a link to include in their customer interaction.
How to add, when to add and how to prompt a user to leave a review about the service they received.
Bad reviews are a fact of life, provide advise on how to respond professionally.
Help Us, Help You
Communication with your franchisees is crucial to maintaining your brands image online. Provide clear communication that will enable you to manage and maintain your multi locations for the benefit and growth to all partners.
Online Ownership provides multi location consulting to franchises and vendors. Feel free to drop us a line for a no obligation chat about your franchise.