CEO Spotlight: Jeff Bevis, FirstLight HomeCare
“Absolutely do not wait. You should do this like yesterday and you should give extra communication to the franchisees to explain why you’re doing it, what you’re hoping to gain from it, and how it can impact them in the future.”
To say FirstLight HomeCare CEO Jeff Bevis understands the importance of measuring franchisee satisfaction would be a major understatement. Bevis has used Franchise Business Review’s annual satisfaction survey at three brands now—beginning when he was executive vice president of senior care company Comfort Keepers almost seven years ago and now as CEO of FirstLight.
Founded just over two years ago, FirstLight was the youngest system ever surveyed by Franchise Business Review when they were surveyed last year. Although Bevis was somewhat hesitant to survey franchisees so soon into their franchise ownership, he knew that surveying early would provide important information about the development of the franchise going forward.
“We didn’t think we were going to survey until the end of Year 3, but we had such a good strong start in the first two years that, at the end of last year, we said, ‘Let’s go ahead and pull the trigger’ … We knew there was a little bit of a risk because we were so young, but the results came back very, very strong.”
Bevis is a leader who really understands the operational benefits of Franchise Business Review’s survey. It’s not just a validation tool for FirstLight (although Bevis says that’s certainly a use); he and his staff use the results to formulate their ongoing strategic vision, and they share the results of their survey with all of their current franchisees.
“It’s given us even greater credibility, greater trust, and even stronger relationships with our owners—that they see our willingness to ask, to get their feedback and then to pay attention to it.”
So why use an outside survey company – and why Franchise Business Review? Bevis’ first exposure to surveying franchisees was an in-house survey used at Comfort Keepers. In his words, that survey was “mind-boggling”—unwieldy, hard to manage, hard to analyze. Bevis knew surveying franchisees was important, but he also know that their in-house survey tool wasn’t as effective as it could be. That’s when he turned to Franchise Business Review.
“FBR’s survey was a much more structured, objective, impartial way to get franchisee feedback. That was kind of a big ‘aha’ for me,” Bevis said. “I’ve looked at [other companies] that talk about doing something like Franchise Business Review’s survey, but I’ve just really found great results and great flexibility with their survey. I think that everyone at FBR really understands franchising.”
Bevis found the right partner and the right survey tool in Franchise Business Review, but it’s really his commitment to his franchisees that is to credit for his company’s stellar franchisee satisfaction. So, what advice does he offer other franchise leaders regarding surveying franchisees?
“I don’t think there’s anything more valuable that you could send to an owner or get from an owner than their feedback. No matter how important you think the ops or the marketing or the technology information that you’re sending to them or that they’re being often times barraged with, this is really, really important. Franchisee feedback carries the day.”
(To learn more about Jeff and FirstLight, check out our new special report, Senior Care Franchises.)