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Field Marshall ProgramWe’ve all seen it, your company grows beyond a single location and soon you have customers across a large geographic area. You don’t have time to see them all face to face once a month, maybe not even once a year.

You think they are getting a great service but you don’t really know.

A friend of mine who runs a camps business understands this first hand and has a unique way of combatting it. The business grew exponentially over a 5-year period. He was winning many customers and expanding his business across Western Canada. When I asked him what he would attribute to his success, he answered with one phrase, “a Field Marshall.

What’s that you ask?

The Field Marshall’s job is to look at everything from the quality of the meals to the cleanliness of the bathrooms. This role is for someone who is on the ground at the camp ensuring everything is going as expected. The moment any issue pops up, it gets addressed NOW!

Since that conversation, I’ve made a point of setting up our own Field Marshall program. In our version, we arrange with our customers to travel to their branch offices and see how they are using the system.

We have been from Fort McMurray, Alberta to Hobbs, New Mexico with the program – questioning, listening and observing how our customers use our software. And we do it with one goal in mind – to help them better utilize the system they have invested in.

Since this was a lesson passed along to me, I’ll pass our best practices along to you. Here are our 5 recommendations for setting up your own Field Marshall program.

  1. Engage as many customer-interacting staff members as possible in the program – seeing customers in these settings will help them understand their pain points much better.
  2. Create a singular customer-driven goal for the trip not a huge checklist. Ours is to help our customers optimize their use of our system.
  3. Ensure the trip includes both business and downtime with customers – bring lunch into their office or take them for dinner – it is so valuable to build rapport over a meal.
  4. Go visit your customers keeping in mind the ratio of mouth to ears – listen twice as much as you talk.
  5. Follow up, follow up, follow up. After every visit, keep the conversation going and tell your customers what you did to fix their issues or improve their experience.