Tough Talks Book Series

Franchise Tough Talks®: When Customers Overhear Personal Conversations

Difficult conversations are a part of life for franchise owners. As for all businesses, communicating with employees is essential.  When that employee is presenting a face to your customer that isn’t good for your franchise business, it’s imperative that you deal with it immediately.  But do you always know about bad behavior of your employees?

I recently went through a drive-in fast food restaurant after my yoga class one evening. After I placed my order at the franchise, well known for it’s consistent quality around the world, I drove up to the window to pay. Behind the cashier was a small office, with the door open. An adult women, whom I assume was the night time manager, was on the phone. I overheard her conversation, which was an unpleasant one. She was reprimanding the person on the other end of the phone for charging a purchase.

She was having a Tough Talk® that was probably necessary.  But how it took place was wrong for several reasons:

  • She had a personal conversation at work that was overheard by a customer.
  • The conversation escalated into a shouting match.
  • The personal conversation reflected poorly on the franchise’s image.

The result was that my relaxed, after-yoga tranquility, was disturbed. Expectations of my customer experience at the franchise were not met. If I hadn’t paid (and been observing for a blog entry!), I would have gotten out of the line and left, goofing up their efficient food delivery system, which would have made subsequent customers mad.

Franchise owners, make sure you know what conversations are going on in your absence. Your customers do!

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