19 Oct 2017

Office Service Standards and Customer Experience: A best practice guide

It’s just 2 years since BCO published its ground-breaking report Building Performance – Rethinking the Relationship between Owners, Managers and Occupiers. The report set out a 10-point action plan to improve stakeholder relations and remove much of the friction that frustrates corporate occupiers. “Office Service Standards and Customer Experience: a best practice guide” highlights the revolution currently occurring in the property industry’s approach to delivering service, based on customers’ requirements ‘from space as a commodity’ to ‘space as service’. It also forms the basis for a consultation with the BCO members on the format of a new BCO Customer Experience Award which will recognise those owners and their managers that are running buildings in a truly innovative and customer focused way. 

The research identified the need for change and articulates benefits for both owners and occupiers in adapting a new and inclusive approach that is more engaging and in line with a customer service and satisfaction ethos across other industries. Office owners, managers and occupiers were engaged with to define and communicate what the industry should be delivering by way of effective and efficient building services that match a significant improvement in building and workplace design and quality in recent years.

We participated in the debate and discussion at the breakfast seminar held on the 17th October at UBS, Broadgate, London sponsored by British Land, LGIM Real Assets, CBRE and Broadgate Estates. The panel was joined by Polly Plunket (Property Management Director, Broadgate Estates) Debbie Hobbs (Head of Sustainability, LGIM Real Assets) Danny Harte (Senior Director, CBRE) and Gary Wingrove (Projects and Construction Director, BT Facilities Services). 

As recent PhD research by Dr Danielle Sanderson shows, there is a clear commercial case for investing in building strong relationships with occupiers. I am excited that there is evidence that our attention is now shifting from a viewpoint of ‘What’s wrong with the way we do things?’ to ‘How we can make things better for our occupier customers?’ That’s why this latest report is designed to provide those forward-thinking property owners and managers who want to change their approach with practical guidance in the form of checklists, scorecards and case studies. These will measure how well an office building is performing, viewed from the perspective of the owner, property manager and occupier.

The checklists, designed to help property owners, managers and occupiers understand what best practice looks like, follow the broad structure of the RealService ‘Best Practice Framework’ and cover the following areas: customer experience culture, customer insight and service design, collaboration with service partners, leadership & training, operational excellence, and, performance measurement.

There has never been a more apt time for our industry to get close to our customers – the price to pay for missing this opportunity is potentially great. Who could have predicted the seismic shifts in the political, economic, social and technical worlds that we have seen over the past 18 months? If ever there was a time to stick close to your customers it’s now!

Other industries have learned the hard way that failure to innovate and to follow the customer is a sure-fire way to attract the attention of the business disruptors – like Uber, eBay, Amazon, Airbnb, etc. The office industry is seeing new entrant disruptors like WeWork and The Office Group transform the experience of the workplace.

-Chris Richmond, PwC Chair, BCO Occupier Group

For more information on Office Service Standards and Customer Experience or to download the report, access the BCO research page.

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