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16 January 2019
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Neil Usher addresses delegates

23 October 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

There should be more focus on ‘colleague service’ not ‘customer service' in the facilities management profession, delegates at the Workplace Trends conference heard last week. 


Neil Usher, a property workplace expert and former facilities manager, told attendees at the event in London that “many years ago the FM sector decided it needed a stronger focus on the customer and customer service and I am not sure that’s the right way to look at it”.


Usher said: “I know that may sound counter-intuitive. At the end of the day, we are providing services for people within the workplace and they are our colleagues. They are not customers, they are colleagues. The customers are external. The moment you create a customer service relationship within a service team you put a target on your back… you are much better off thinking about this as colleague service rather than customer service.”


Usher, who is due to release a new book called The Elemental Workplace in March 2018, argued that it meant the standard of services delivered would be even higher as a result of this kind of arrangement because “you are in the boat with your colleagues”.


In his presentation Usher also stated the forgotten importance of toilets in the workplace.


“The toilets are one of the places in your workplace where your visitors will go and they will probably realise what you are all about as a result of that visit. 

“It’s not necessarily the place that you work… but if you take care of the toilets – where people do not usually work – then it says you take care of all the other people aspects of your workplace.”