Franchise field support (FFS) plays a critical role in the relationship between the franchisor and their franchisees, ensuring operational standards are observed while optimizing franchisee performance. Without a strong FFS, franchisors could find that franchisees are regularly asking for help or even flouting required quality standards.
A single errant franchisee, whether intentionally or unintentionally, could easily shatter the reputation and goodwill among customers that the franchisor had painstakingly built up for the brand over time. When customers have a bad experience, they don’t see it as just one franchisee messing up, instead, the perception is attached to the brand. And with today’s array of social platforms for consumer reviewing, bad news spreads faster and hits harder.
With the reputation of the franchise brand at stake, FFS plays a pivotal role that could make or break the system, influencing how franchisees perform.
1. Promoting Best Practices Among The Network
A key element for franchisees to succeed is for them to commit to the system and follow proven methods. However, there are those who still choose to deviate from the guidelines, which could be due to arrogance, laziness or simply just ignorance. In the case of the former two, it might be a hint that the franchisee selection process needs to be reviewed. But if due to ignorance, that’s where the FFS comes in — championing the adoption of best practices for franchisees and highlighting the benefits of doing so, while subtlely reminding of the potential consequences of errant behaviour.
And since prevention is better than cure, instilling the right mentality in franchisees from the get go starts with proper training.
2. Conducting Training Efficiently & Effectively
Transfer of knowledge is one of the major differences that separates franchising from setting up a new business and is facilitated by FFS. With that in mind, FFS is pivotal in determining a franchisee’s operational readiness. While there are protocols in place for how the training program is to be conducted, FFS are the ones interacting with franchisees and could identify and focus accordingly on areas of weaknesses.
When franchisees are brought up to speed and able to grasp operational abilities competently, performance checks by FFS could be a breeze for both evaluator and evaluatee.
3. Performing Quality Checks
Another responsibility that FFS takes on is to perform periodic field visits to franchise units. Somewhat like a quality check, the goal of the field visit is to ensure the stated guidelines, processes and required standards are observed by franchisees. Also, concerns are raised if any discrepancies are observed. In a best case scenario, FFS will be able to spot and correct potential issues before it becomes a snowballing disaster for all parties flying the franchise flag.
But more than just information gathering, FFS highlights to the franchisor organization of the current state of franchise units, which all face their own challenges that affect profitability.
4. Reporting Feedback & Issues To HQ
In most cases, FFS will be the first line of contact for franchisees. This puts them in a position where they get to hear about franchisee problems from the horse’s mouth. While FFS may not necessarily have the authority to implement corrective measures or solutions, they are a communications channel to highlight current issues to the franchise organization’s decision makers for a timely reaction, thereby minimizing negative impacts.