Expect more… pay less!
In order to survive and prosper building service contractors need to move their businesses from offering customer ‘service’ to delivering customer ‘experience’. Speaking at the WFBSC Congress 2012, Florida-based Jay Garcia told delegates that in the face of very tough competition BSCs must give more than what’s in the contract.
“Customers always expect from you more than what has been agreed. If you do only what’s in the contract you will lose the business,” emphasised Garcia, vice president operations for Diversified Maintenance (DM).
The reason Garcia knows what he is talking about is because his company has surveyed its primarily retail-based accounts across the US.
What the survey told DM was quite revealing. Its clients wanted better quality at less cost; they believed the contractor was too ‘distant’ from them; and perhaps most importantly, they believed its employees were not treated well.
“Our customers said we at Diversified Maintenance did not have the same commitment to our workers as they did to their employees,” Garcia noted.
Much of the survey feedback was not strictly true but it was the customers’ perceptions and as Garcia pointed out, perception is reality.
“Our challenge was to change customers’ perceptions and, in turn, reduce the level of complaints,” said Garcia.
Now when DM addressed the survey responses, it recognised the need to increase internal efficiencies – because price was going only one way – as well as the imperative to better understand each client’s special needs. Or, as Garcia put it, “understand customers deeper down”.
While it addressed service delivery, DM also implemented a transparent performance assessment system, the results of which are delivered to its clients, daily if wanted.
“They expect us to collect the data on our services and deliver the daily results to them,” explained Garcia. He said BSCs have to create a process that measures performance and demonstrates that sites not performing well are identified and corrected. Clients need to be reassured action is being taken.
Use metric tools to measure results, he stressed. “Always show the client what is good and what is bad…
“Diversified Maintenance opens its books to clients. They need to know how we reach our prices and they never need to investigate.”
Garcia revealed that his company uses Prontoforms (www.prontoforms.com) as an integral part of its service delivery infrastructure. Prontoforms is a management and reporting web portal that creates and manages forms, despatches jobs and monitors teams in the field. It easily generates reports, connects to cloud services and integrates with back office systems. Employees in the field access and can enter data into their mobile devices quickly and easily.