Written by Ann Corrigan Deputy Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality 2011/12The answer, writes Ann Corrigan, is ‘going the extra mile’
The challenge of providing world class facilities management services has probably never been greater. Any get-together of managers or directors charged with supplying these services will probably generate more combinations of business activities than any of us could imagine. These combinations are entirely dependent on the nature of the business being serviced and the definition of the services that fit into the FM portfolio for a particular organisation.
So what, you might think - we all know that. But what really differentiates great facilities management from good facilities management?
It is safe to say that it is not the technical skills needed to provide services; these should be there regardless! No, the best facilities management is delivered when those responsible for the services offer an integrated and seemingly seamless service that delights the customer – be this internal or external. Going the extra mile and ensuring that the customer experience is one that brings them back either to you as a contractor or to you as the service deliverer is the key.
To elaborate: in 2009 and 2010, the Hospitality Assured Awards for the most Innovative Application of the Hospitality Assured standard were won by organisations who had submitted their facilities management teams for accreditations against this business and service excellence standard developed by the Institute of Hospitality.
The first of these winners was a bank headquarters building with the FM services supporting HSBC employees through a merged FM operation known as Facilit8 – in this case the merged facilities were provided by different contractors operating under a single banner. The services included fitness & well-being, catering, reception, mail & logistics, housekeeping and engineering.
The second organisation was the Hamad Medical Corporation of Qatar where eight services operate through five hospitals. There, the group was trained around the criteria contained in the Hospitality Assured standard in order to assist the fostering of customer focused support services. This is the key identifier of great service – one that is totally focused on delivering on the customer’s needs....often varied and conflicting in this case, as they count not only patients but visitors and staff as their customers.
In the case of HSBC, services have to be tailored to ensure that staff working at Canary Wharf are supported to enable maximum efficiency and therefore productivity. Visitors and customers of HSBC should be impressed by the quality and warmth of service delivered, whether at reception or throughout the building, and not disappointed. At HSBC, for example, you can ask any member of the merged team about any aspect of facilities services and receive assistance. This does not mean every member of the team can fix a Lift, but they certainly know a person who can!
Hamad has a slightly different emphasis on putting hospitality back into their hospitals to assist the healing process. What are defined as their hospitality services are very much illustrative of the breadth of facilities management activity. Their teams comprise around 1800 multi-national staff operating in functions from housekeeping, which includes cleaning and laundry services (part of which managed by a contractor), through catering, printing, transport, engineering, security, and patient and visitor service centres (reception areas), to mail services. What they hope to achieve by utilising the quality standard is real appreciation of customers’ needs – both patients and in-house customers, ie hospital staff, to generate a singularity of purpose around service delivery.
All services already had in place Service Level Agreements with each hospital management team, and while these provided the underlying performance requirements, the objective in using the Hospitality Assured Standard criteria was to drive up the service delivery levels against the targets set. The objective was to add that little extra to service delivery that generates the perception for both patients and visitors that they are the centre of attention and reason for the organisation’s existence. As a result of this, they are constantly on the look-out for ways to address their customers’ concerns – going so far as to recently pilot valet parking. Not a service you would see as yet at a UK hospital!
These two exemplars are not alone. The highly competitive world of university conference provision is getting on board and identifying the ways in which the simple team concept can enhance what are already undoubtedly professional accommodation, conference and events offerings appreciated by the customer.
The addition of customer focus as a team objective can assist in the support of and delivery to customers of exceptional service inspired by a clear understanding of needs. In addition, it can open eyes as to where a opportunity might be that potential customers may value, existing customers as yet may not appreciate exists but will certainly enjoy for the future, and – important, too - competitors may envy.
Ann Corrigan MA FCIS FIH is Managing Director of the Hospitality Assured Service and Business Excellence Standard and Deputy Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality.
|< Prev||Next >|
Building & Maintenance
Fire, Health & Safety
Latest News from Facilities Manager
- Preserving documents, preserving business
- DDA legislation - are you affected by these new changes?
- The case for facilities management
- Filling the information gap
- Service solutions - a multitude of options
- Developing FM on an international stage
- Standards in facilities management
- The future of the services sector in Europe
- Service delivery - the 'real' asset
- Believers and cynics