Higher Logic announced that the North American Association of Subway Franchisees (NAASF) increased franchise member engagement, advocacy, and sharing of best practices since deploying Higher Logic’s online community platform. Over 83 percent of all NAASF members are now actively participating in the online community contributing to 1,015 discussions in the first year, which is an average of 85 discussions posted per month.
“Members post literally around the clock. They are constantly engaged, incredibly frank and respectful,” says Illya Berecz, executive director at NAASF. “I think everyone is really pleased to have the tool, so they’re consistently willing to share information that will help others within our franchisee community. We had a flurry of members who renewed with NAASF based on an email we sent during our membership drive regarding access to the community. Once they realize how useful the tool is, they don’t want to give it up.”
The NAASF community has become a central hub for both problem solving and advocacy efforts. Many discussions center on legislative issues that are vital to most franchisees. These conversations and requests for information revealed a knowledge gap that NAASF could help fill through community webinars and education events. Without those community interactions, franchisee members would not have a reliable platform to voice these advocacy issues.
Two national issues especially caught both members’ and NAASF’s attention: the minimum wage changes with the Department of Labor and healthcare changes based on the Affordable Care Act. In both instances, NAASF used the community to collect opinions and anecdotes from members about how these issues directly affected their businesses. Then NAASF hosted informational webinars to educate its members on the changes and regulations. This healthcare webinar was so popular among franchisee members that the platform ran out of spots, and NAASF held an encore presentation. Webinar content discussions continued in the community after the event.
The discussions and knowledge sharing in the NAASF community has created a groundswell of crowdsourced customer support. Members now help one another while alleviating support costs for both NAASF and Subway’s corporate entity. Through the community, members have provided assistance to each other on a range of topics including providing advice with point of sale (PoS) processes and equipment, providing detailed instructions on how to fix equipment, and discussing various other best practices relating to local delivery efforts, catering, and much more.
“Discussions are the most popular feature in our community, as it is easy for members to use and collaborate in different conversations. Sharing files is also popular: members can share documents that outline crew incentive ideas, profitability tracker spreadsheets, and much more. There are also great site automation rules to use. I love that our members are being pinged on a regular basis on topics that actually are relevant to them,” says Berecz. NAASF uses automation rules to reach out to members about updating profiles, posting discussions and generally increasing participation. It started customizing certain rules in 2016, and hopes to build out more campaigns targeted at lurkers and those who have been previously active but may have less activity now.
“Every day the NAASF online community demonstrates the high level customer engagement that an online community can bring to an organization,” says Higher Logic CEO Rob Wenger. “From equipment, to back-office, to crops, to dozens of others areas, NAASF members are helping each other to ensure they are all delivering the best customer experience in each of the thousands of Subway franchises across the country.”