Puddle Ducks

Gaining reassurance: How Puddle Ducks use ‘The Best Franchise Programme’ by WorkBuzz to ensure they’re on the right track

Puddle Ducks was established in 2002 and offers fun and tailored swimming lessons for babies and children aged 0-10 years. A number of its franchisees now have purpose-built swimming pools for their lessons and this is something they would like to expand across the network.

Puddle Ducks have over 50 awarded territories (60% of available territory) with 33 franchisees, and have excellent coverage across the UK. In the following case study, Jo Stone, Co-Founder, explains how Puddle Ducks work with the ‘The Best Franchise Programme’ to deliver an improved service to their franchisees.

What value do you get from participating in the Best Franchise Awards?
We place high value on running the survey as we get a fantastic overview from franchisees as to how they are feeling, what their challenges are, and what they like, want, and need. We then know that we are addressing the right issues. There are rarely any shocks in the survey, but it reassures us that we are doing the right things.

We also pride ourselves on taking the challenges that the franchisees tell us about in the survey and acting on them where we can. Our franchisees know that we take the results of the survey seriously.

The opportunity to gain awards on the back of it, especially consistently achieving the 5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction Award is incredibly important in our franchisee recruitment. Scores from our own network benchmarked against other franchisors is also invaluable for franchise recruitment and gaining credibility as a franchisor.

Was there a particular area you wanted to improve?
It’s important to give franchisees a voice to feed back to us. The Benchmark survey is just one way our franchisees can do this. By understanding any issues/challenges, satisfaction and retention are naturally improved.

Benchmark consistency is critical for us, and we use this in franchisee recruitment.

How do you use the reports?
The results are summarised and presented to the franchisees along with our plans on what we are addressing. This is done in a couple of ways – a self-explanatory PowerPoint slide which is emailed and discussed in meetings. The timing of our regional meetings and webinars gives franchisees further opportunities to discuss the survey and for us to delve further and find out the detail of any issues. This then enables open discussion in the network and a chance for franchisees to help find solutions.

Our overall plans rarely change as a result of the survey. For example, this year, we were able to bring forward some planned changes to resolve some recruitment issues sooner. As a result of the open discussions, it enabled a focus, and a number of smaller changes to our IT have been instigated – all saving franchisees time and, therefore, money.   

The stats from the report are a key part of our Discovery Day process and Franchise Information Pack that is subsequently sent on.

How do you use your ‘5 Star Franchise Satisfaction’ award?
We have benefited from all of these awards, and they all form a key part of our franchise marketing and recruitment strategy. It also provides a huge boost to the franchisor head office team and to franchisees as they are part of an award-winning brand.

How has your franchise engagement improved? 

We have never had a big problem of franchisees becoming disengaged and just walking away from the brand. Franchisee satisfaction and engagement has always been good, and we have liaised with franchisees to see what challenges need fixing. During this period, we’ve not had a franchisee decide to give up during their term. Any who have decided to move on, have reached the end of their contract period and sold their business to a new owner

Overall Benchmarking score for the last 5 years:

2017     84%
2018     85%
2019     92%
2020     91%
2021     87%

“There is nothing better than positive feedback from existing franchisees to give us credibility and convince potential franchisees to buy into our network. An ongoing feedback programme ensures that high levels of franchisee motivation and satisfaction are maintained when feedback is listened to and actioned. We would totally recommend doing the survey and have done so for the last nine years. Next year we are going for our 10th 5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction Score and it will be our 20th year in business. Our HQ team is very proud of the support it has given, and the recognition from the 5 Star Franchisee Satisfaction is an added boost!.”

Jo Stone, Co-Founder