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Excellent customer service is essential to maintaining a strong, ongoing relationship between a facility management department and its customers. If the bond is strong, the customers are more likely to feel that the facility management department knows them and their needs so well that they don’t want to change relationships. Following are four strategies that will help keep the relationship between the customer and the facility management department strong.
1. View Staff as a Selling Tool
The Walt Disney Company refers to all its employees — from the head of the company to the person sweeping the sidewalk — as cast members. Disney believes that cast members should treat each other as guests and insists that everyone behave accordingly. The result is a sense of pride, not just from being part of the organization, but from respectfully treating, and being treated like, the primary customer.
While the idea of treating everyone as a customer may seem simple, it can have an impact on profits. This approach gets everyone involved in improving the organization, and it allows people to see the real impact of what they and others do. Bottom-line impact allows facility managers to market to their customers in terms that make business sense: cost avoidance, cost savings, financial benefits, and improved performance.
2. Service is a Fundamental Value
Service must be the prime directive of a facility management department. A mission statement can be expressed as goals: “We must at all times provide the highest quality, value-added service to our customers to ensure their satisfaction.” It can also be stated more simply: “We all succeed or fail together.”
3. Train FM Staff in Customer Service
Although few people know intuitively how to provide the best service possible, rarely do companies invest in training their employees in customer service. Proper training in how to serve fosters creative and imaginative solutions. Employees begin to see how the customer views them, the service they provide, and the unit they represent. Spending time in the customer’s shoes is one of the most effective ways to understand how to serve the customer best.
4. Track Performance
Two maxims readily apply to the area of tracking, or monitoring: “Manage what you measure” and “Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.” Rewarding good performance reinforces appropriate behavior and communicates to the organization that customer service is important. This may sound simple, but it is surprising how many organizations do not have a method of assessing the impact of what they do. Measures of success should be expressed in monetary value to the company. When corporate management wants to know how the facility management department contributes to the corporate bottom line, provide data that document successful project completions and customer satisfaction.
It is also important to recognize exemplary staff performance, which in turn raises awareness of the contributions of the facility management department.
This article is adapted from BOMI International's Fundamentals of Facilities Management course, part of the FMA designation program. More information regarding this course or the BOMI-HP™ credential is available by calling 1-800-235-2664. Visit BOMI International’s website, www.bomi.org.
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