Regular communication between facilities management companies and end users is key towards providing satisfactory service and ensuring that you are able to meet end user goals and expectations both seamlessly and consistently.
While good communication skills are indeed essential for facilities managers, it is just as important to ensure that your facilities management staff, the ones who are actually working onsite, have satisfactory communication skills too and are able to assist the end user should he / she have any questions or problems to report. As mentioned in our previous article entitled ‘What Needs to Change: Why SA’s Facilities Management Companies are Lagging Behind’, it is evident that there is a gap in terms of regular, professional training and skill development of staff members – something that is holding the South African FM industry back and making it impossible for some to replicate international standards. With this in mind, for the sake of growth and service delivery, including training that focuses on the development of good communication skills is one of the first steps towards improving your FM company’s service delivery and satisfaction.
Let us now focus on how to better communication between FM companies and end users from a facilities manager’s perspective.
Every Person Has His / Her Own Way of Communicating
It is important to remember that people tend to comprehend information in different ways, so implementing the same communication tactic when it comes to all clients simply isn’t going to do your company any favours. Is the client a visual communicator? Or is he / she happy to take things in a purely verbal direction? Employ visual materials and try different strategies with each client until you find what works best and adapt your stance accordingly going forward. Keep in mind the fact that your approach will need to change with different clients.
Be Concise Yet Thorough
Provide the end user with information that is short, concise and easy to understand, but also take the time to ensure that you provide him / her with all of the necessary information. In order to be 100% certain that you are both on the same page, repeat important things more than once and, at the end of a conversation, send the client an email to summarise what was discussed so that he / she has the information on hand for future reference.
Set Up Regular Meetings
It is important to meet up with the end user at regular intervals to discuss progress and update goals and expectations. This face-to-face exchange will also help to not only ensure that the end user fully understands your thinking, recommendations and future plans for improvement, but also to show him / her that you are dedicated to meeting and exceeding expectations.
Another point to keep in mind when trying to improve communication is the fact that there is often more than one end user to take into account when it comes to facilities management – the landlord and the tenant. In South Africa, there is evidence that while communication between FM companies and landlords is strong, communication between FM companies and tenants is lacking quite substantially.
With all of this in mind, the key to improving communication between FM companies and end users lies not only in ensuring that everyone within the company possesses decent communication skills, but also ensuring that the company leaders and staff are communicating with the right people – thus resulting in all-round client satisfaction and a service delivery that meets, and perhaps even exceeds, international standards.