Our research conducting comprehensive Franchise System Reviews and work with many franchisors, suggests an often-great opportunity to clarify the purpose of a field visitation programme. In turn, this helps create a platform for a more effective field visit programme – for the benefit of franchisors, franchisees, and field managers (themselves).
Historically, it used to be common, mostly many years ago, that the main purpose of the field manager was to go visit franchisees and inspect compliance and operations. The field manager arrived, defensively, with a clip board and a laundry list of compliance and operational items for observation and investigation.
Rectification and training would follow, as needed.
Second, and this remains common today with some franchising companies, the main intent is for field managers to act as a sales coach and and/or trainer. In this common scenario, a limited focus on compliance may be evident – but the principal effort is on understanding sales and helping drive sales results; sometimes, but not always to budget. Invariably, in this situation, there remains little or no co-ordinated focus on total franchisee financial performance.
In a third common scenario, some field managers have no specific articulated purpose – but rather are broadly tasked to ‘support’ franchisees. In this common scenario, the field manager works diligently to help franchisees, drawing on their accumulated insight and available tools. Commonly, in this scenario, where there are multiple field managers, each has a different approach – and thus, their respective franchisees receive a different experience.
Best practice franchisors will have a very clear field visit purpose that can be articulated clearly to field managers and franchisees. That purpose maybe singular, or multi-faceted – like improving franchisee profit, capability, brand alignment, satisfaction and facilitating systemwide adaptations. In turn, such clear field visit purpose then helps set the scene for what is needed to deliver it – like position descriptions, field manager selection, training, field management tools, support, and so on.
It can, of course, be argued that franchisees need a field support focus on all of the aforementioned areas, and others. But, bottom-line, both field managers and franchisees need to clearly understand the purpose of field visits to ensure expectations are delivered upon and both parties know if they have been successful or not.
A clear field visit purpose sets the scene for what is needed to deliver a successful field management programme.
- What is the underlying purpose of your field visit programme?
- How well do your Field Manager roles, training and tools align with your field visit purpose?
About the Franchising Best Practice 500 Series
This is part of a series of franchising best practices. Franchize Consultants is sharing and publishing these best practices weekly for the betterment of franchising. We know that better knowledge and execution of franchising best practices leads to bigger and more valuable franchisor and franchisee businesses.
We have assembled the first 40 best practices into The Best Practice Handbook, which is available for purchase.