Facilities management programs may vary, but a focus on quality two-way communications must be constant between clients and service providers.
A new client of ours is serving as a reminder regarding the absolute importance of creating an organized and structured process when receiving work orders. Although they operate multiple units in several states with more opening each month, they have not yet partnered with a facilities management software provider, so their daily general repair needs are communicated via email for the time being. While this procedure is a very serviceable scenario, it does increase the potential need for follow-up questions in order to properly understand the issue and start to work towards its resolution. Whereas an FM software program will provide prompts helping to clarify the repair and maintenance service needed, an email is open-ended and is dependent upon its author’s ability to clearly communicate the problem. This is obviously a critical element that dictates our response time and efficiencies.
Back to our client. Almost immediately, we have noticed that they were consistently sending us service requests with a lot of missing information. They have regional managers (“RM’s”) issuing the requests and while the RM’s have a basic understanding of facilities maintenance, it is not their full-time focus and it was leading to a lot of follow up inquiries by our account managers. The RM’s had the very best intentions and weren’t being lackadaisical when dispatching work orders. They just didn’t necessarily know what is needed from their facilities maintenance service provider in order to “run the call”. This led to delayed response times and frustrations. What to do?
Our role as a partner extends well beyond just dispatching field technicians and contractors to our clients’ retail stores, restaurants, and commercial properties. At no additional expense, we will also consult on facility maintenance related matters, such as process and procedure. In this particular case, we opted to create site repair request forms that ask a short list of simple questions tasked with whittling down the matter and identify what is truly needed. They were questions that the client didn’t know to ask themselves, yet a high percentage of the time, they did know the answers. This immediately changed the way in which we interacted and produced a far more capable and less frustrating facilities program.
Building a sustainable, platform that is user-friendly, scalable and effective is a strong contributing factor to the success of our relationships. A well-designed, executable facility maintenance work order request system will help to ensure key performance indicators are achieved. Quality field techs are an essential piece of the R&M pie, but a thoughtful partner who can also provide value by delivering guidance towards improving operations is vital to your business’s growth and bottom-line.