An estates organisation review revealed that the FM team was failing to deliver consistent, high-quality customer service. Although customer service training had been delivered in the past, a fully-targeted, bespoke training course, which allowed staff to vent their frustrations and identify the barriers to their success while providing them with tools and techniques to deliver high quality customer service, was seen as central to delivering a change in culture within the estates department.
The intention was to retrain and develop the in-house team of approximately 100 facilities managers and assistants to deliver improved customer service. Alongside this, we also aimed to assist the change process by using the training sessions to create a safe environment in which a large number of long-term, disaffected staff could vent their frustrations and (in some cases anger) at the way in which their roles had changed during the preceding review. This would allow them to put any negativity behind them and embrace the new culture of service delivery.
The first half-day session introduced the context for the training, the concept of service excellence and allowed the team to ‘vent their spleen’, attempting to create a clean slate for the second session which focused on what delivering excellent customer service at the university looked like.
The training not only had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the majority of the attendees, but allowed the management team to identify, and then deal with, a range of barriers to the success of the department in delivering customer services. This ranged from a deep-seated frustration at the removal of certain parts of the facilities assistant role to the usual issues with a lack of clear and concise communication. The training also helped to develop a closer working relationship between management and staff, helping to move away from an adversarial ‘us and them’ culture.
During a time of significant change and upheaval, Anne’s design, development and delivery of a programme of customer service training for the university made a significant and lasting impact on the facilities management team, kickstarting the transformation from a negative, inward-looking and reactive service to a proactive, responsive and customer-focused service.
Simon Francis, senior facilities manager, University of the Arts, London
These training courses were delivered on behalf of BIFM Training