Martyn Freeman Mitie
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News 4 Min Read 9 March 2021
9 March 2021 4 Min Read
News

So, what does the client actually need?

Look at the maturity of a potential client before proposing a solution

In our industry, not many suppliers take account of the maturity of a potential client and where they sit in their outsourcing journey. When they first engage, FM companies hardly ever invest enough time listening to, and understanding their customer’s challenges and needs. This is a fundamental mistake, as any sales trainer will tell you.

Instead, they promote their usual, regular, FM offer, gift-wrapped with the client’s name on it and call it a bespoke solution. But in reality, it’s a solution better designed to suit the supplier than the client.

The “maturity” of a client, or where they are in their customer journey, makes a big difference to their outlook and their needs from a property/FM perspective. I liken the situation to the differing viewpoints of a graduate looking for a job straight from university, compared to an established manager with many years’ experience under his belt. The graduate won’t know the ropes, the art of the possible and in many cases, won’t have any expectations of what a new role might entail. The experienced manager on the other hand, will have a very much clearer picture with everything he wants mapped out to the last detail.

Q3 had just such an experience a couple of years back, with a potential client who was new to the whole outsourcing scene. This client was an innovative financial services company that had burst onto the scene and was making waves through the successful integration of modern technology across its business model. A combination of acquisition and rapid organic growth had turned it rapidly into a multi-million-pound success story, with a number of regional offices in cities across the UK.

Yet, in terms of its approach to managing its property and FM requirements, it was the equivalent of the graduate attending his first week at work. All the effort had gone into growing and establishing the business while the infrastructure to support it, came second. At the outset, all they knew was that they had a problem. What they needed was a robust solution that could flex to meet their expanding needs, while supporting their strategy of creating great places for all their colleagues to work.

Q3 chose not to thrust a standard approach for FM service delivery on them but listened and took a flexible stance to meet the evolving needs of the group. What we created was a hybrid FM service containing elements of consultancy, conventional FM delivery and supply-chain management. You may have heard this approach described as an integrator model. Effectively, Q3 now monitors and manages the entire supply chain utilising a unique software package that oversees, manages and measures all operations.

To work successfully in this kind of FM contract, you have to be flexible and informative, acting as a trusted advisor on all aspects related to property and FM activity. The person managing the account must be a subject matter expert, capable of dealing with every angle of operational delivery, because the client may not have the expertise, and sometimes even the interest, to get involved in all the detail.
The beauty of this approach is that, in a case like this one, you can deploy the most appropriate solution for each area of the business, in the best interests of the client. Very often with a national Integrated FM type contract, you may find that cleaning delivery is a disaster in one of the regions. There’s pain, anguish, and blood on the carpet while everyone struggles to correct the problem. The alternative is to recognise that sourcing a good local cleaning company through the supply chain may actually represent a more viable alternative, from both the quality of delivery perspective and the economics. It’s a common-sense approach that also supports social value, investing back into the local community through using SMEs.

Sadly, the big players in our industry are just too institutionalised to consider this and revert continually to the one-size-fits all approach. They don’t have their clients’ best interests at heart because at the end of the day, they know they have big beast to feed.
Q3 is now very much part of the client’s team and yes, we believe we have reached the status of a truly trusted partner, working to a set of core standards that are shared by both parties. There is a commitment to working together driven by the real value both parties are now drawing from the relationship.

As the graduate becomes a manager, it means we can easily adapt and evolve as needs change, but in a manner that minimises risk, ensures value for money and ensures that the client’s needs continue to be met.

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