Success today is often underlined by the size of a company’s marketing budget and how much exposure they can afford to give their brand. However, more and more successful businesses are opting for a ‘service-centric’ approach; one that puts user experience and customer relations over everything else, including marketing and branding. The idea is that a strong focus on customer service will serve to exemplify a brand and extend its reputation and reach over time.
Perhaps one of the most successful examples of this in practice is Amazon. They spend very little on traditional marketing, instead choosing to focus on delivering a consistent and superior service that reinforces customer loyalty and makes it the default choice over competitors.
For businesses who are considering making the jump to a service-centric model, a solid facilities management (FM) solution will be a key component in ensuring its success. Facilities management will underpin any strategic ambitions a business may have to get closer to its customers and start building customer relations.
The key areas a facilities manager must consider can be broken down into three distinctive parts: intangibility, customer integration and heterogeneity.
Intangibility – Businesses may already have procedures in place to measure practices, processes and goods, but something like FM customer service is intangible and can’t be measured quantitatively. For that reason, new criteria will need to be developed to make sure customer experiences can be tracked and understood.
Customer integration – FM services have traditionally been implemented according to set criteria in order to achieve particular goals. Moving forward, it’s increasingly likely that customers will have a much greater influence on FM solutions and their implementation, particular if customers are to be a central focus.
Diversity – A customer’s requirements are forever changing, and the performance of staff can fluctuate on a daily basis. For that reason diversity remains a core challenge for FM providers and will need to be a key area of focus in years to come.
So what can FM providers do to ensure they are leading the way?
Simply put, FM providers need to become closer to the businesses they work with. They must be aware of an organisation’s challenges and ambitions, and develop their office environments with this in mind. This ‘closeness’ will be a vital ingredient for success as the needs of a business shift and change to become more targeted, more focused and more connected than ever before. In order for a service-centric delivery to be truly successful, an FM solution will need to align with all other aspects of an organisation’s strategy.