FM's role in creating a great workplace

FM's role in creating a great workplace Facilities teams need to enhance the customer experience, according to speakers at our panel discussion.

Think about it; you’ve probably received great customer service, as a result become a regular customer and told other people about the experience.

What does this have to do with facilities management? Everything…

This was the conclusion of the facilities managers that attended an event hosted by Lexington Reception Services (LRS), last month, where a panel of experts were quizzed about what it takes to create a great workplace.

The event was chaired by Matthew Rock, Editor of DueDil, and the panel consisted of Elaine Burt, Head of Facilities Management EMEA at media communications organisation Omnicom, George Pantelides, Operations Manager at leading international law firm, Skadden and Jane Streat, Head of Client Services at Lexington.

The event left everyone in agreement that creating a great customer experience is key if organisations are to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive business environment.

Elaine Burt said, “Service is the most defining experience. It can change a customer’s entire perception.”

Office space and even product and price can be easily duplicated, but a strong customer service culture can’t be copied. It’s the customer journey that the really successful companies, like Apple, Metrobank and John Lewis, invest in and review regularly to ensure it meets the needs of their customers.

The panel agreed that facilities teams have a huge role to play in helping their organisation stand out. They can help enhance the customer journey by creating positive memorable environments as well as experiences.

George Pantelides said “Facilities Management (FM) is the face of the organisation. It is often a receptionist that will create the first impression and, for this reason, we need to define expectations with front of house vendors to ensure they understand how important that client interaction is."

We need to create great interactions with customers along each step of their journey, from the first point of contact to the last. It was also suggested that in order to do this organisations need to be less process driven.

Jane Streat, from Lexington, said, “It is important to see what your client is seeing – by doing this you can improve the customer journey. There’s also a real need to move away from processes and make it more about the individual.”

She also recognised the need for processes to ensure an element of consistency but said we need to allow room to be flexible: “It is this that will allow for innovation and it’s this that will create great customer experiences.”

The panel also discussed the role of technology in the customer journey and whether it is hindering the customer experience.

Technology can enhance the journey in many ways by providing information about customers. However, it can also threaten the experience where the assumption is made that every customer uses the latest technology – not everyone pays with a debit card, not everyone checks in with a mobile device or wants to sign in via a computer.

The panel agreed it is important technology doesn’t go too far. We need to find a balance, using technology to enhance the journey and making sure personal interaction with the customer is not lost.

George Pantelides says, “Facilities Management is about people, and vendor employee engagement is key. Recent research shows vendor employees who feel empowered and engaged are more likely to give effort above and beyond the minimum that is required.”

Defining experience is how people are made to feel and this boils down to the people who are delivering the service. The experience a customer has with any organisation should be personalised to them, it should be unique, individual, and shaped by their expectations.

It’s up to facilities teams to remember this and put a culture in place to ensure customers/clients visiting their office are not like objects on a conveyer belt. The aim should be to ensure every visitor leaves with a positive and memorable experience.

As Jane said, “It is up to us to show the customer that we are interested in them and their individuality."

Find out more about Lexington by viewing their company profile, here.

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