This tip is courtesy of The Daily Egg’s Christina Gillick: “Treat every customer that contacts you like a great friend.” While Gillick’s advice is for those who don’t necessarily ever actually see the customer in person, it’s still a useful thing to keep in mind. Coworkers will be more understanding when problems arise if they know some information about you besides your name and role in the company. Coming across as cold and uncaring may lead them to view the facilities department in a bad light.
It won’t always be possible to form a personal connection with each and every employee. You may one day get a call from someone you’ve never met before, someone who is upset enough to the point of being rude. Instead of returning their ire, respond in a calm and positive manner. Gregory Ciotti from Help Scout advises avoiding negative language. Instead of making statements like “We can’t fix the fax machine until the part we need arrives. It won’t be available for two days,” say, “We are working to fix the fax machine as fast as we can. In the meantime, there’s a machine in this area and this floor that you can use.”
Ever call a customer service line, only to be put on hold for half an hour? Try to avoid recreating the same situation with your customers. Facilities managers are often out and about, which means you won’t always have access to your email or office voicemail. Let staff know of other ways they can reach you, such as your work cell. Besides getting issues resolved more quickly, doing this will also keep you from returning to your office, only to learn about a problem that requires to turn right back around and walk out the door again.
When you’re out of the office for a vacation or business trip, make sure your maintenance team knows who to report to. When the chain of command is clear, any problems that pop up can be resolved quickly and efficiently. Also communicate clearly about your absence: Set a vacation responder and voicemail listing the dates you’ll be gone, as well as the name and contact info of the person customers should contact while you’re away.
Recognizing customers is an excellent way to show that you appreciate them. Ciotto cites Jawbone as one example—one of the gadget company’s customer service reps sent a handwritten thank-you note to a customer who bought one of their products. But how to apply a similar technique in facilities management? Try showing your gratitude in an email; if you’ve make changes to the workplace thanks to customer suggestions, send a “You asked…We listened” email listing what the suggestions were and how they improve the workplace. If certain customers go above and beyond in helping you implement a change, you may also want to mention them by name.
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