The definition of a field manager and what is encompassed in their role varies greatly across different franchises. Nevertheless, the impact that field managers can have upon the successful operation of a franchisees business is significant. So whether you are a franchisor looking to hire or a field manager yourself, it is important to understand what franchisees value most in their field managers.
An insightful study conducted by Franchise Relationships Institute asked 750 franchisees ‘Based on your experience, how likely would you be to recommend your field manager to another franchisee?’ The franchisees that regarded their field managers highly were then asked ‘What does your field manager do that adds the most value to your business?’. The answers of those franchisees helped to establish 5 key areas of value within the franchisee – field manager relationship.
1. Performance Focused
An outstanding 21% of franchisees mentioned that they value most when their field managers focused on improving business performance through sales growth and profitability. This included taking time to help franchisees analyse and better understand their figures, and sharing what lead to success for other franchisees in the network. With a notable mention was their support for Local Area Marketing campaigns, conducted to help drive business.
2. Engaging & Constructive
Franchisees described successful field managers as easy to talk to and engaging. 21% of those surveyed said that they valued their field managers motivation and positivity, adding that when giving feedback they were constructive rather than critical. Franchisees said they looked forward to their field visits and felt that they could take on board their advice without feeling defensive.
One fifth of franchisees surveyed mentioned they highly valued the dependability of their field managers. In particular they mentioned that they liked when field managers were responsive and prompt when following-up, and that they were available for help when needed. Other field managers who were perceived to be less organised and professional were often called ‘missing in action’.
4. Honest & Informative
20% of franchisees surveyed described successful field managers as informative and straight forward. They went on to say that they were well informed regarding issues impacting their franchise business and were direct and honest in their communications. It was also noted that they valued field managers who facilitated open communication with head office to better resolve issues.
5. Considerate & Caring
Field managers can often be the first point of contact during trying times for franchisees. This is reflected by the 18% of those surveyed said they valued field managers that showed genuine care and compassion towards the success of the franchisees business. Many surveyees recalled times where their field managers checked in to see how they were and listened openly to their concerns.
Ultimately, the roll of both field managers and franchisees is inherently stressful and often the relationship can become strained if either party fails to meet the others expectations. Studies such as the one noted above provide critical insight into what is valued by franchisees to help field managers better understand areas where they can best offer value.