In our continuing series spotlighting our 2021 Best In Category Franchisee Satisfaction Award Winners, Madeleine Park, marketing manager for MaidPro, talked with Nicole Dudley, client relations director for FBR. An FBR Top Franchise for Franchisee Satisfaction for 14 years, MaidPro uses its strong Franchisee Satisfaction marks to help bring new franchisees on board. Listen in to the interview to learn how they use their reports both pre- and post-covid to find potential franchisees who make a good fit with MaidPro. Watch the video for the full interview.
And there are some highlights from that conversation below the video.
Nicole Dudley: I'm here today with Madeleine Park at MaidPro. Thank you, Maddi, for taking the time to speak with me today. I was looking back through notes and we've been working with MaidPro consistently since 2011. We had a few years prior to that also that we did work with the brand.
Since that time, we've seen MaidPro named a top franchise for Franchisee Satisfaction for 14 years. That's a big accomplishment! You guys have made our Hall of Fame, which means you've been consistent in 10 years. Awesome achievements there.
We've seen MaidPro be a part of special features that we do, such as our Top Franchises for Women, Veterans, and most recently, the one that we did on brand culture. We'll be doing that one again later this year. Hopefully, we'll see you guys named a second time.
Maddi Park: Fingers crossed.
Nicole: Tell me, what does it mean to you to be an FBR winner?
Maddi: On behalf of our team, it's such a huge accomplishment. It feels like a great thank you to the home office and everyone we work with, vendors, to franchisees, to their employees. As you know, the survey is based purely on how they're doing - their satisfaction.
Knowing that this isn't a marketing ploy, it's not something that's going to sit there and be an award banner, it's working with us to help push us forward and getting a good gauge on whether or not we're doing a good job. Very rarely are you able to get that feedback from that many people in your organization. It's motivating. It's very validating as well.
Nicole: How do you take that information from the franchisees and use it to drive your strategic plans? Then how do you share it with the team?
Maddi: Right away, we share all of the reports with the executives. They're going to read through the whole thing. Then they're going to take whatever their department has and dig deep into it.
The great thing is that the questionnaire or the survey covers so many topics in such great detail that we can look at what we're doing well and say, "OK, what did we do in the previous year or years that have led us to get these great scores? How can we continue that in the future?"
Then, of course, we can look at the middle range or the lower scores and say, "OK, we didn't do our best here. What immediate and long-term changes can we make in the future so that we can get these scores up?" Having such detailed information allows us to drill in department by department and see where we can be the best franchisors for our franchisees.
Nicole: Awesome. What's been the experience beyond the data side of it and operationally using the information with other products or services that we offer, where you can use the feedback or the information from the franchisees to drive development and marketing efforts?
Maddi: That's where my department lies - finding new franchisees. The survey results are very detailed. They're very user‑friendly. Even someone who is brand new to franchising can look at the report, download it, get the full scope of who we are, and it’s showing the full transparency there, which is important.
When you're going into such a big investment partnership, being able to not just hear it from the best validation franchisees or the franchisor itself, but you're getting that full scale.
In terms of marketing, we try to push it out as much as possible for transparency and showing people, "Look, we're proud of what we can do. There's a reason behind all of this, what we're saying to have you join our family."
Nicole: Exactly, it helps validate what you guys say at the corporate level, then the franchisees and to the public. When people are looking to join MaidPro, how do you measure who's the right fit? What do they need to bring when they come to the table?
Maddi: That's a very important question to us. Up until this year, obviously things are a little different with COVID, everybody's had an individual discovery day. We don't do a bunch of group tours. It's a very personalized franchise sales process. We've been able to, through the years, detail out who our ideal candidate is.
They're going to have the qualifications of investment level, and maybe educational background, and do they fit the territory mold outside of those regular logistics.
We're very protective of our franchise family and making sure that whoever joins it isn't just another number or another location on a map. They're people who are going to be able to contribute to the family and grow and have that right, for lack of a better word, vibe if you will, and good feelings around who they are as people and making sure it's a good culture fit. That's very important for us.
Nicole: Speaking of the Discovery Day changes, what else came from the pandemic last year that you had to do to adjust your marketing or even your recruitment strategies?
Maddi: Right off the bat, things were very scary for a lot of people. Some of our offices had to close their doors. Thankfully, we're in a very recession and pandemic‑resistant industry. We were able to stay open and help fight this virus.
Immediately, we maneuvered to what local scale marketing we can do to not only help our offices, but help the public know what they need to do to stay clean and safe. From that, there was a lot of publicity for our franchise system in that a lot of people were losing their jobs. They're on furlough. They're seeing MaidPro in the news.
They're saying, "All right, this business is open. They're doing good things for the community." From that we got a lot of organic traffic and people reaching out and saying, "Hey, I saw maybe a franchise ad or I noticed that there's a franchise in my area. Is this something that you guys are still doing?"
Thankfully, we were able to keep our pipeline pretty strong, and people moving through the process. I'm not going to sugarcoat it. Of course, it's difficult, and everything has slowed. We've cut back on marketing dollars to save whatever funds we need, in case we don't know where this thing is going.
Thankfully, from the consumer to the franchise side of the business we were able to keep things moving, and keep people educated in terms of staying safe, and also opportunities for the future.
Nicole: Do you have a specific success story that came from 2020?
Maddi: I’d have to look back at the records, because I don't work with the franchisees individually. I do know that we had a couple brand‑new candidates say, "I'm already halfway through this process, let's go for it. I'm going to keep going." They ended up opening their doors recently. They're thriving. They're doing as well as can be expected.
That's a big testament to how well MaidPro is doing in the pandemic; to still have people invest their life savings, and put it all on the line in a pandemic, because they trust the system and the people they work with. We're very proud of that.
Nicole: It shows their commitment and your commitment to them, too. What opportunities, speaking about the franchisees in the community that you have, do you offer to your owners to learn from each other, connect, share best practices and be successful?
Maddi: This is very big for us. It's interesting now, because a lot of us are remote. We're such a family-oriented community that we're still trying to put dates on when we can see each other.
For the big ones, we do peer performance groups, which the franchises are lumped into regional sections. Then, they get together virtually, or hopefully in person, once or twice a year where they can discuss what are the best operational marketing strategies in their area. Something that works in Texas might not work in Connecticut. Those are super, super helpful.
We also have our annual conventions, where everyone gets together, learns what's going on, what's new, what they can get help with. We do a very special thing called adventure trips. Every 18 months, we pick an exotic location. We invite all of our franchisees to come and it's “get out of the box”. It's better than a boardroom.
You get out of your comfort zone. You get to adventure, but also, you talk shop with the home office and franchisees. Most recently, we did a boat cruise around Croatia for two weeks. We've hiked Machu Picchu. We've rented catamarans in the BVIs.
If you talk to any owner who's been on this, it's a great vacation. The family bonds from all of this are incredible. You know that if you need support, you have people's cell phone numbers. People want to call you. They want to know how your business is doing, and also how your kids are doing.
Then with COVID, this is a very scary time for business owners, which is why we're very thankful as a franchise system. The president of our company arranged entire franchise unit and home office calls three times a week. You could get on a call Monday, Wednesday, Thursday.
They brought in lawyers. They brought in PPP specialists, anything that we could have needed or talked through so that they had a really solid support system getting through these quarantine waves and making sure it was all done legally and correctly, and you're getting the funds you need. Those calls were super important over the last year.
Nicole: The next time you guys do plan a trip, I wouldn't mind an invitation.
Maddi: [laughs] Definitely.
Nicole: It sounds a lot of fun. It ties into the next question about your culture. I know we talked about it before, about how we've seen you on our most recent list for best culture, coming from the survey data itself.
How do you foster that, beyond doing those trips and those kinds of get together calls? How do you foster that among your employees and the franchisees and the leadership team?
Maddi: This ties into your earlier question. The most important thing is bringing people on who are going to be the right fit. Everyone could have all the qualifications in the world. If they're not a personality fit, it could cause bumps and obstacles down the road. Making sure right off the bat, that people are going to get along, that it's a good fit.
Outside of that, we pride ourselves on being a franchisee-friendly environment and a family environment. That means that we've tossed out a lot of the very corporate-y rules, corporate-y lingo. People have each other’s cell phones. We have a Facebook owners’ group.
People are heard, no matter if you're brand new, or you've been at the company for 18 years. There're platforms for you to speak, to connect. It's, of course, encouraged through all of these trips and the friendships you make throughout.