World FM Day: sustaining service delivery in FM
- Future of work,
11 May 2022
This year’s World FM Day takes the theme of ‘leading a sustainable future’. To celebrate this special day, the IWFM Nigeria Region reflects on sustaining service delivery in facilities management.
The facilities management industry continues to evolve, even more so with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which brought a lot of attention to it. The resulting effect is the increased level of expectations from FM practitioners to deliver strategic solutions with less, in sometimes difficult circumstances. Opportunities and challenges come in equal proportions which can be described as two-fold. This article focuses on the opportunity. On one hand, the opportunity to deliver exceptional service to the ‘demand organisation’ (or client) and on the other the opportunity to scale up the internal systems of the service provider (FM organisation) to be more effective and efficient in productivity, which can increase customer satisfaction.
In a highly competitive market, service-based businesses need to capitalise on any opportunity to set themselves apart from their competitors.
Whilst implementation and service management are important, perhaps the best way to demonstrate capacity for exceptional service delivery as an FM organisation is to foster strong customer relationships based on the quality of its service. Here’s an outline of a few ways to raise the service level in recommitting to customer satisfaction.
When it comes to customers, there’s no such thing as over-communication. Clients feel more comfortable when they know what’s going on. The amount of communication is not so imperative as the timeliness, its context and its ability to clearly identify the value addition to the client. In a world of constant connectivity, the ability of facilities managers to cut through the flood of information with quality and timely answers can achieve much.
Defining expectations is vital to service management. FM practitioners and demand organisations need to make sure that they are on the same page regarding what to expect (or not) from their service offerings. This includes what the services cover, potential limitations, costs, how to get assistance when needed, and more.
This level of definition shouldn’t stop with the client. The best service organisations also clearly specify any internal efforts required to provide and support their service.
As services become increasingly digitised, where possible, facilities managers can drive the use of technology to improve problematic processes. For example, technology can be used to capture and store data.
In general, service delivery automation is high return and low risk, and more FM organisations are finding ways to cut costs and provide a more satisfactory customer experience.
Every organisation has limited resources and wishes to use them wisely. It is therefore important for FM organisations to understand their current resource needs and to anticipate future resource needs. They need to be able to track employee requirements and capacities. With this information, the facilities managers can schedule in accordance with current projects and ensure that no resource is over or underutilised.
After establishing a feasible service concept, the next area of focus should be its culture which will be instrumental to achieving success. Employees should be aligned when it comes to a specific set of overarching principles and, while methodology is crucial to service delivery, this should feel more like a philosophy.
FM organisations should never take for granted that the culture is strictly internal. It also shows up in the way service is delivered. Relationship and interaction with clients are a reflection of the corporate culture and clients know this. The better, the service providers understand their value proposition,the more that translates to the clients. More often than not, clients know when a service organisation and its employees are on the same page.
The IWFM’s Customer Experience Special Interest Group was created to help our profession put the customer at the centre of long-term planning, helping us to think clearly about the experiences our customers will have when using our services as they follow their ‘journey’. Aided by useful videos which support and explain the content in their latest guidance, it sets out an approach that can be followed to represent the customer journey and help plan a continually evolving approach to positively influence customer experience (CX).
The guidance, which builds upon the Group’s two recent guides on people management good practice and measuring CX, has been developed as an introduction to the CX perspective for persons not specialising in the area of facilities and estates, encouraging engagement and commitment in putting customers at the heart of what your organisation does.