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Customer Experience in a Post-COVID World

Customer Experience in a Post-COVID World
15 September 2021
 

How has the concept of a good customer experience changed in light of the pandemic? Julie Hulme from Expeditious Services shares her views.

Julie Hulme is the Commercial Director at Expeditious Services and has worked for the company since 2015. Julie began working in the Facilities Management and Security industry in 1990 and has experience in a range of senior roles within security and FM. Julie is a member of ASIS and is a committee member on the IWFM Northern board and Customer Experience group.

At Expeditious Services, Julie is responsible for all commercial development and relationship management, particularly within the FM sector and with end-users. Her proudest moment at Expeditious to date is recently securing a £2.6 million contract.

 

Using Customer Experience to Reopen the World

 

As well as Commercial Director at Expeditious Services, I am also a member of IWFM Customer Experience (CX) Group. Our current project as a collective, is developing a standard of FM best practice, and I’m working alongside senior specialists in CX (customer experience) to achieve the section we are tasked with.

There’s a passion within the group that now is a great time for any business to be redefining their customer experience and auditing the audit journey a client takes. With many businesses reopening following national lockdowns and many returning to the office for the first time in 18 months, it’s crucial to ensure nothing has been missed in creating positive experiences with the “new normal”.

It’s estimated around 60 million use facilities services within the UK every day, with many services restarting, finding their feet again, or embracing remote working following on from the impacts of COVID.  Great CX is more important than ever, to create warm (and safe) systems to welcome users and stakeholders back as the world takes tentative steps in reopening.

 

What is Customer Experience?

 

According to IWFM, CX is a combination of customer care and customer service. It follows the end-to-end journey a customer is taken on, combining all the physical and emotional elements and attributes within service & care at every step of the way.

Customer experience extends to anyone encountering a brand’s people, culture and values.

 

What is Customer Experience Mapping?

 

CX mapping supports creating a seamless workplace journey – following the steps a client takes from initial contact and business preparation through to purchase and business exit. It evaluates employee input at each step of the journey, auditing any opportunities to elevate the experience through creating efficiencies and improving personalised interactions.

Part of our responsibilities within the group is examining CX mapping and using this to produce a ‘Good Practise Guide’. Its aim is to showcase what good Customer Experience looks like in FM and how, as an industry, we can drive consistency across the sector, and raise the bar.  The guide will also help to define models and best tools to use for measuring and improving processes.

 

Why is it Important to Measure Customer Experience?

 

The first benefit of measuring CX is being able to conduct a gap analysis, to see where the standards are currently, compared to desired standards, as well as any specific points within the journey which fail to meet expectations. This helps a business ensure consistency across their entire service, get buy-in and engagement from all the team, supports management of expectations, and improves results across the total FM service. The benefits of measuring customer experience are felt by clients, customers, end-users and employees alike.

 

What Does the Measuring of Customer Experience Involve?

 

Auditing CX involves taking a fully holistic and 360° look at the customer journey. This includes:

 

  1. The measurement of the customer, client and end-user satisfaction, using models and tools we will be defining.
  2. Management of stakeholder and relationship expectations, using models and tools we will be defining.
  3. Defining what success looks like with the specific Customer Experience journey.
  4. Defining communication tools and models.
  5. Supporting our people (our own businesses, networking, FM sector and wider) to deliver great customer experience
  6. Mapping the customer journey to create the best experience possible and drive consistency.

 

What outcomes and KPIs are we expecting from monitoring the success of the CX plan?

 

The success of any new plan or guidelines is seen by monitoring results. These are just some of the outcomes the Customer Experience Group are aiming for:

 

  1. Consistency in expectations across FM
  2. Return on experience vs return on investment
  3. Educating clients into being super clients
  4. Relationship building
  5. Environmental impact
  6. Financial impact – all the above working together in harmony will undoubtedly benefit the bottom line of business.

Being a part of the Customer Experience Group and the development of the best practice guide really has opened my eyes to the potential great CX can offer. I’m excited to see the guide be implemented throughout the members of IWFM and filter out into the wider FM community. I have no doubt the ripples of benefits will be felt far and wide.

Personally, I’m looking forward to taking this guide back to Expeditious Services, sharing my lessons with the team, and putting it into action. As we go through a period of rapid growth, especially developing our service excellence offering and 24/7/365 helpdesk support (Critical Control Helpdesk – CCHD). I’m already planning on how we’re going to be implementing best practise and building best possible customer journeys – which are particularly critical to helping us service our FM clients. Customer Experience starts with the teams we have within our business, everyone sharing the same vision & purpose to provide the best journey possible, and I cannot wait to take ours to the next level.

The Best Practise Guide will be available in early 2022 to IWFM members, with a plan to roll out more broadly into FM and other sectors.

Picture: a photograph of Julie Hulme

Article written by Julie Hulme | Published 15 September 2021

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