Struggling MODE Franchise Wins Franchisee Satisfaction Award. Seriously.

Ciara Stockeland’s MODE retail franchise seems mired in turmoil with franchise agreements ending in terminations, take-backs and lawsuits.  How is it that MODE and the Franchise Business Review claim that it has one of the highest franchisee satisfaction rates in the country?

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  The MODE Designer Fashion Closeout Prices website proudly declares

MODE Named Top Franchise for 2017!

MODE has been named a Top Franchise for 2017 from Franchise Business Review! We’ve been rated an Outstanding Brand by our very own Franchisees!  Want to know more about the FBR50?  Check out their video to learn about how MODE was honored and what this means!

In the accompanying video (posted in its entirety below), Franchise Business Review President & COO Michelle Rowan makes these representations:

Every year we survey thousands of franchisees to gauge their satisfaction…

We ask them critical questions about their brand’s leadership, training and corporate support, marketing and promotional programs, communication, technology, and product development and innovation.

We also measure their financial performance and their overall satisfaction with the brand.

Would they recommend the franchise to others?

And if they had to do it all over again, would they still invest in the brand today?

We use this data to formulate their franchisee satisfaction score and to name our satisfaction award winners.

Our awards tell the true story of franchising:

Where are the franchisees most satisfied… and which brands offer the best opportunities for success.

They are the brands with the highest franchisee satisfaction, the brands with the best training and support for franchisees,  the brands that care enough to ask their franchisees what they really think.

Just as important as the brands that are on our list are the brands that aren’t.  A franchise cannot buy its way onto our list through sponsorship or advertising dollars.

What matters is performance, and we measure it the best way you can:  by surveying franchisees.

Franchise Business ReviewFranchise Business Review claims that it surveys MODE franchisees with more than 30 questions each year, that it analyzes their financial performance, and that their satisfaction is so great that they’ve been named as Best Emerging Franchise  in 2015 and to their Top Franchise List by Franchisee Satisfaction for 2016 and 2017.

MODE Franchisees Are So Happy They Are Closing, Rebranding, and Countersuing?

Yesterday, we published our findings that MODE franchise disclosure documents indicated that approximately 9 MODE stores had been either closed or had their franchise agreements terminated, reacquired, or ceased operation for other reasons.  The franchisor has filed a lawsuit against a MODE franchisee in South Carolina, and that franchisee has filed a countersuit for fraud, violations of franchise law, and more.  Read it here:

Ciara Stockeland, MODE Franchise: A Fake Success Story?

It seems perplexing that in the midst of what seems like all-out internal discord, MODE is promoting that it has higher franchisee satisfaction than 3000-4000 franchise companies.

To hopefully clear up the confusion, UnhappyFranchisee.Com is reaching out to MODE founder & President Ciara Stockeland & Franchise Business Review President and COO Michelle Rowan to explain:

  • When were MODE franchisees surveyed by Franchise Business Review?
  • How many MODE franchisees were sent surveys each time?  How many completed the surveys?
  • Were terminated franchisees or those who recently left the system for other reasons included in the surveys?
  • Can you provide a summary of the results of each survey?
  • For transparency purposes, how much has MODE paid Franchise Business Review in the previous 5 years for related or unrelated services?

MODE Franchise Owners & Former Owners:  Are You the Most Satisfied in the Country?

UnhappyFranchisee.Com is also asking MODE franchisees (past & present) to confirm their high satisfaction level on a confidential basis.

MODE franchisees are invited to rate their satisfaction using the same grading scale and categories used in the Franchise Business Review summary.

We’ve also added three questions.  Please email your answers to UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com

MODE Franchisees (Past & Present):

HOW DO YOU RATE YOUR OVERALL SATISFACTION WITH THE MODE FRANCHISE PROGRAM?

Please rate each franchise area using this numerical scale:

5 excellent  4  very good  3  good  2  average  1  poor

  • Training & Support?
  • Franchise System?
  • Leadership?
  • Core Values?
  • Franchisee Community?
  • Self-Evaluation?
  • Financial Opportunity?
  • General Satisfaction?
  • Overall (average)

Additional Questions:

– Would you recommend the MODE franchise opportunity to a close friend or relative?

– If you could do it over again, would you invest in the MODE franchise opportunity?

– If you are a former franchisee, how much do you estimate you made or lost by investing in the MODE franchise?*

Please include store or stores owned and time frame of ownership.

Individual numbers will not be publicly disclosed – only an average if 3 or more are received.

Please copy and paste and submit via email to UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com

DO YOU AGREE THAT THE MODE FRANCHISE IS A TOP FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY FOR 2017?  WHY OR WHY NOT?  SHARE YOU OPINION BELOW.

At MODE, we do more than simply partner with our franchisees from a business perspective. We mentor each and every franchisee and go above and beyond to ensure they have the necessary skills to become leaders in their communities and the authors of their own success story.

MODE President Ciara Stockedale, 7/19/16, “How to Increase Franchise Opportunities for Women”  International Franchise Association website

 

“We make a tremendous effort to increase profitability for our franchisees. We understand that if they are successful, we are successful,” says Stockeland of MODE. “We receive weekly store reports and monthly P&L statements from each of our franchise locations that we compile and analyze on a monthly and quarterly basis. After reviewing the data internally, our Franchise Relations Director visits with each owner to discuss their highs and lows, their goals, and their struggles.”

Ciara Stockeland, Franchise Business Review, Best Emerging Franchise Report 2015

 

 

ALSO READ:

FRANCHISE DISCUSSIONS by Company

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH CIARA STOCKELAND & THE MODE FRANCHISE OPPORTUNITY? WHAT DO YOU THINK?  SHARE A COMMENT BELOW.

Contact UnhappyFranchisee.com

TAGS: Ciara Stockeland, Jim Stockeland, MODE franchise, MODE franchise opportunity, MODE Clothing, MODE discount fashions, MODE franchise complaints, MODE lawsuit, Ciara Stockeland lawsuit, Franchise Business Review, FBR, FBR50, Michelle Rowan, fake franchise news, fake franchise success story, unhappy franchisee

15 thoughts on “Struggling MODE Franchise Wins Franchisee Satisfaction Award. Seriously.

  • March 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm
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    Took the survey. I hope every current and former owner does. The truth needs to be exposed.

  • March 26, 2017 at 12:03 pm
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    I would like answers from Michelle Rowan as well. Please post or do a story on her response. There is no way Michelle Rowan took into account financial performance in
    giving MODE this honor. I’d also like to know how many stores were surveyed, how much MODE paid her and if any former stores were allowed to take the survey. The credibility of her company would certainly be in question in my opinion due to the unsettling state of affairs of MODE coinciding with being given this ranking.

  • March 26, 2017 at 12:03 pm
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    Can’t wait to see the results!

  • March 26, 2017 at 3:03 pm
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    Franchise Business Review is paid franchisor advertising.

    It’s not real or reliable.

  • March 26, 2017 at 3:11 pm
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    Also, many stores have multiple owners. I can tell you from personal experience, not all owners were included in the survey. I would love to share my thoughts. You’ll be getting an email from me!

  • March 26, 2017 at 4:02 pm
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    Franchise Business review is seemingly endorsing an investment in this company? Michelle Rowan, I’d like a public comment on this. Your company encourages investment in MODE?

  • March 26, 2017 at 7:47 pm
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    Eric Stites is CEO of Franchise Business Review. His email is eric@franchisebusinessreview.com.

    Michelle Rowan is President and COO. Her email is mrowan@franchisebusinessreview.com.

    Both claim that they are in the business of providing prospective franchisees with how existing franchise owners feel about their franchisors, the support they receive, etc. I am sure they would appreciate hearing from MODE owners who don’t believe the high ratings and accolades bestowed by FBR onto MODE accurately reflect the current views of franchise owners.

    If you would, please copy unhappyfranchisee[at]gmail.com on your correspondence with Eric and Michelle.

    Also, please complete and share with other MODE franchisees our informal poll:

    MODE Franchisees (Past & Present):
    HOW DO YOU RATE YOUR OVERALL SATISFACTION WITH THE MODE FRANCHISE PROGRAM?

    Please rate each franchise area using this numerical scale:

    5 excellent 4 very good 3 good 2 average 1 poor

    Training & Support?
    Franchise System?
    Leadership?
    Core Values?
    Franchisee Community?
    Self-Evaluation?
    Financial Opportunity?
    General Satisfaction?
    Overall (average)
    Additional Questions:

    – Would you recommend the MODE franchise opportunity to a close friend or relative?

    – If you could do it over again, would you invest in the MODE franchise opportunity?

    – If you are a former franchisee, how much do you estimate you made or lost by investing in the MODE franchise?*

    Please include store or stores owned and time frame of ownership.

    Individual numbers will not be publicly disclosed – only an average if 3 or more are received.

    Please copy and paste and submit via email to UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com

  • March 27, 2017 at 9:03 am
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    Sean, Always happy to answer the questions we can, despite your approach of seeming to bully people and reputations online… Please feel free to review our methodology (https://tour.franchisebusinessreview.com/research/research-methodology/) we share publicly, as it seems to come into question every time you take issue with a company that appears on our website.

    I will answer your specific questions that I can as well, keeping in mind that we promise confidentiality to all systems that survey (free or paid):

    Sean: When were MODE franchisees surveyed by Franchise Business Review?
    Michelle A: Our 2017 Top Franchises Guide (https://franchisebusinessreview.com/todays-top-franchises-2017/top-200-franchises/) lists the date the survey was done, January 2016.

    Sean: How many MODE franchisees were sent surveys each time? How many completed the surveys? Michelle: MODE would have to disclose this information as they are not sharing it publicly on our website.

    Sean: Were terminated franchisees or those who recently left the system for other reasons included in the surveys?
    Michelle: Again, all open & operating franchisees are invited to take the survey, we do not include past franchisees as we are looking at a current moment in time (and why we share the date of the survey).

    Sean: Can you provide a summary of the results of each survey?
    Michelle: It’s up to the franchisor whether they share their report with candidates. You can see the companies opting to share their reports on the Franchise Reviews page (https://franchisebusinessreview.com/franchise-reviews/) of our site.

    Sean: For transparency purposes, how much has MODE paid Franchise Business Review in the previous 5 years for related or unrelated services?
    Michelle: No, we do not feel obligated to share any information about who has, or has not paid, for the service. It’s not relevant to our lists or reports.

    Our goal continues to be to raise the bar in franchising. We provide data to franchisors to help them improve their franchisee relationships and system, and help those with strong feedback use that as a way to differentiate from the hundreds of brands out there. We don’t publicly bash companies or people, we work with the majority of our clients operationally, helping them identify key issues they can address.

  • March 27, 2017 at 12:48 pm
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    Michelle Rowan,
    It is deeply concerning that it is unknown whether or not these endorsements are paid for. How many of your endorsed companies pay you? It seems you can disclose this information without breaching any of your customers expectations of confidentiality. My questions are simple ones. Are you comfortable endorsing the investment in a company that has a greater than 50% fail rate with so few stores? Of all of the franchise stores in the nation, you feel MODE is one of the best investments? Thank you for your reply.

  • March 27, 2017 at 1:18 pm
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    Michelle:
    Thanks so much for your response. I am sorry if asking questions comes off as bullying. In the past, FBR has ignored my inquiries, unsubscribed from my emails, blocked me on twitter, and threatened me with lawsuits (as recently as this morning.) But you have graciously responded and I appreciate that.

    You wrote ” Our 2017 Top Franchises Guide (https://franchisebusinessreview.com/todays-top-franchises-2017/top-200-franchises/) lists the date the survey was done, January 2016.”
    It took me some time to find that date, which does appears in the list in the interactive edition but not on the more accessible list posted on the web page. Perhaps I’m the only one who has trouble with those interactive versions. Seems kind of buried.

    Is January 2016 the most recent survey of MODE franchisees conducted by FBR? Is there another survey that would give a more accurate indication of MODE franchisee satisfaction in 2017?

    Isn’t it a bit deceptive to use the title “Today’s Top Franchises 2017” when information (in this case) is over a year old? (and could go back to May, 2015 according to your web page?)

    Your 2016 ranking of MODE was based on a survey taken in August, 2015. Is there a reason that the next survey was just 6 months later? Do franchisors get to choose when their surveys are given (say, following a franchise convention when morale is high)?

    Michelle, you write: “we do not feel obligated to share any information about who has, or has not paid, for the service. It’s not relevant to our lists or reports.”

    I kind of think it’s very relevant. Perhaps we should ask the Federal Trade Commission whether they think it’s relevant for paid endorsers to disclose what they’ve received from those they endorse. What do you say?

    You write: “Our goal continues to be to raise the bar in franchising. We provide data to franchisors to help them improve their franchisee relationships and system, and help those with strong feedback use that as a way to differentiate from the hundreds of brands out there.”

    Oh, I thought your goal was to provide prospective franchisees honest, reliable, objective data as to which franchise companies have the most satisfied franchisees, and which don’t. I thought your goal was to help individuals and families make informed decisions about the largest and most significant investment that they will ever make… a decision that can result in prosperity or total devastation of their families. My bad.

    Last question: If you had information that your representation that a given franchise no longer has satisfied franchisees and, in fact, may have among the lowest satisfaction ratings in the country… would you continue to promote the outdated and false satisfaction throughout that year?

    That’s where the whole “pay for play” question comes in. The Consumer Union, which publishes Consumer Reports, which is unpaid and reliable has no problem issuing a rescission of a positive review if conditions change. That’s because they see their responsibility to those who are making the buying decision, not to those who are selling.

  • March 27, 2017 at 4:36 pm
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    It seems as though Eric Stites believes that questioning Franchise Business Review about its highly questionable award equals defamation.

    He has drawn a line in the sand and threatened to sue this website if all mention of Franchise Business Review isn’t deleted by 8:44 tomorrow morning.

    FRANCHISE BUSINESS REVIEW, Eric Stites Threaten Defamation Suit Against UnhappyFranchisee.Com

    This society of people who find each other via the International Franchise Association (IFA) live in their own little bubble with their own version of reality. They give each other awards and “certifications” (like CFE Certified Franchise Executive), pat each other on the back and actually start believing in their self-created self-importance.

    I have no doubt that Eric Stites truly feels that he has been treated unfairly and illegally by being publicly questioned and held to account. And I have no doubt that he and Michelle Rowan have convinced themselves that there’s nothing wrong with providing MODE with the tools to make a false representation about the state of its franchise opportunity.

  • March 27, 2017 at 6:48 pm
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    Michelle & Eric –

    FBR’s methodology lacks accuracy and reliability.

    You can’t survey a franchise system on whether it is a good investment and not survey former franchisees.

    You don’t know if the names on the franchisor list contain all their franchisees. Some franchises have more than one owner. Some franchisees own more than one franchise. Which you cannot assure anyone that you account for these variations since you cannot and do not confirm the data you use.

    Almost everyone in franchising knows that FBR puts out franchise satisfaction puffery theater and it helps franchisors sell franchises.

    Ultimatums are usually not a good idea. FBR is going to look really foolish now if they file a lawsuit and if they don’t. Take you pick (hint, one is much cheaper).

    Art

  • March 27, 2017 at 7:13 pm
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    Michelle,
    Please put yourself in the place of one of the owners of the failed stores. I think the purpose of these posts are to show the truth that is not being told through the press releases, awards, blog posts, etc of the franchisor. It would be another story if this was not correct information.

    It’s a shame that you comment in a defensive, rather than informative way and that you are more concerned with your reputation than the integrity of your data.

  • March 27, 2017 at 7:53 pm
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    I love how calling out someone who portrays themself and their business as a success when that is not the truth is called “bullying”. Maybe those who want to defend MODE should invest their life savings in a MODE franchise and then talk to me.

  • March 27, 2017 at 8:01 pm
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    Lawsuits could shed light on the business practices of both MODE and FBR. The public could benefit from a little transparency. For example, are the results of the latest survey of MODE stores being ignored, putting those who trust in the endorsement by FBR at risk? If MODE is a solid endorsement, there’s nothing to hide.

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