New Research Findings on Field Managers

Results are now in from our latest research at FRI, The Field Manager Performance Study. These findings could make a big difference to the satisfaction of your franchisees. Over the past 12 months we’ve been asking hundreds of franchisees to rate how likely they would be to recommend their field manager to other franchisees. Next we’ve been asking what the highly regarded field managers are doing that adds value to the business and what the less highly regarded field managers could do to add more value.

So far we’ve analysed 463 franchisee comments on 40 field managers. I’m going to cut to the chase now and give you the five areas at which highly regarded field managers excel. It’s interesting that these areas were of equal importance.

5 ingredients for field manager success

Business-minded. Successful field managers focus on business improvement by helping franchisees to grow sales, improve profitability and make sense of their numbers. They also share what other franchisees are doing that’s working. The most frequently mentioned area of value was delivering support with Local Area Marketing.

Engaging. Successful field managers engage franchisees in important discussions by being friendly, positive and solution focused. They are motivating, constructive with feedback and easy to talk to. Franchisees look forward to meeting these people. They don’t feel criticised or defensive like they often do with the less highly regarded field managers.

Dependable. Successful field managers are organised, responsive to calls and prompt in following up on their commitments. In particular they come well prepared for their visits and are reliable in their call cycles. The less highly regarded field managers were frequently referred to as “missing in action”.

Informative. Successful field managers are honest, straightforward and help to facilitate good communication between the franchisee and Head Office. They are also knowledgeable and keep franchisees informed of anything that might impact on their business. The less highly regarded field managers were seen as lacking in operational skills, vague in their communication and having a poor understanding of the market.

Considerate. Successful field managers genuinely care about their franchisee’s success and wellbeing. They phone franchisees to check-in on how things are going and listen with curiosity and respect to their concerns. The less highly regarded field managers were seen as just going through the motions and not being interested in the business or its people.

Here are some typical comments from franchisees when describing the more highly regarded field managers:

Always pre warns of visits and agendas to be covered so I can prepare to the best of my ability.

She is a straight shooter, a no nonsense person who delivers on her promises, it’s very easy to communicate with her.

Provides encouragement and understands the business.

Always available to answer our calls and follows up on outstanding issues, even when up against roadblocks in the Support Office.

So there you have it, five ingredients for field management success — Business Minded, Engaging, Dependable, Informative and Considerate. Being a field manager is not an easy job so, if you want to be highly regarded and add value, I’d suggest a good question to ask yourself is:

“Are you all over it? Or all over it!”

By the way, if you are a field manager and want to plug into a convenient, cost effective way of staying up-to-date on information and trends in the field, check out the Franchise Operations Network (FON). It's a new initiative we've created to provide ongoing professional development for people who support franchisees.

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