10 November 2016 | Andy Kelly
I've been judging for the BIFM Awards ever since I was fortunate enough to be voted Facilities Manager of the Year in 2007.
Over the years I have supported many of the award categories, which has given me a really good insight into the way our sector is continually evolving and developing to strive to deliver customer excellence in the operational theatre.
This year I was struck by the potential of data, and its timely delivery, to put FM in the operational spotlight - all through Carillion's customer experience centre. When a helpdesk service is transformed into one where all manner of operational needs can be met through a single information delivery platform, you can see how the true value of FM can be realised by clients.
But it's also about driving competency from the ground up. They'd stripped the service requirement back to really understand the fundamentals of what was required. It's not just about having people at the end of phone; it's about training people to understand all of the potential touch points when a customer calls. In the winning submission, this is work being undertaken by those delivering the service themselves, with call-takers given greater autonomy to customise the service as the customer requires.
As an operative, you're much more than just a person dealing with data. Here they multi-task, getting to know each other's contracts and feeding back on what might work from one contract to the next. That's real empowerment at the coalface, and we may see service providers employing more extrovert individuals so that they can engage with customer contacts across the spectrum.
My key takeaway from this year's process? That it's all too easy to develop strategy across the boardroom table, when actually it's through your frontline troops - the people already delivering great customer service - that your best service development decisions can be made.
Andy Kelly was lead judge for the Impact on Customer Experience category