The commercial property sector is undergoing a fundamental shift towards a customer-centric focus with facilities and building managers being at the forefront of this approach.
The facilities marketplace is moving away from typical building management where occupiers rarely saw or heard from the Facilities or Building Manager unless an issue arose. We have entered a new age of property management where the guest experience is increasingly prioritised to successfully retain and attract tenants.
Service providers carry out the cleaning, security, housekeeping, concierge and building maintenance services and are responsible for ensuring guests feel welcome and tenants satisfied. Within both retail and corporate environments, service providers have a great responsibility to improve the occupier and guest experience.
Within the retail landscape, there has been a great emphasis on improving and enhancing the consumer experience. We’ve seen consumer confidence drop with the uncertainty of BREXIT, online increasingly rising competition and all shopping centres advancing their offering. All of these factors are increasingly pressuring all departments of a shopping centre management team to advance their services to maintain footfall. For service providers, this requires taking the space to a new level and delivering beyond expectations; not just reacting to issues, but proactively implementing innovative strategies to add to the overall environment.
In the corporate market, there have been numerous research studies to prove the environment directly impacts staff health, wellbeing and ultimately, productivity. This can be anything from the temperature, amount of natural light and the overall floor layout. There have been technologies introduced to aid the advancement of strategies including BIM, Blockchain, AI, among many others. Service providers need to utilise the tech advancements available whilst innovating their strategies to transform their offering.
With this shift in the market, greater responsibility is placed on facilities service providers which intern, gives them greater influence in the property market. A relationship needs to be built between service providers and occupiers to ensure as the ‘boots on the ground’, facilities service providers are up to date with the growing requirements from tenants.
Along with experiential factors, service providers are now having an impact on the overall asset value, looking at commercialisation avenues to maximise revenue from unused space. Savills is a great example of a managing agent who is assessing potential opportunities for additional income, providing support and function to deliver a bespoke venue strategy.
Facilities and building management responsibilities are shifting and it is evident service providers are already adapting to the market quickly. We’ve seen a surge in demand for talent, advanced skill sets required, and a real mix of professional backgrounds sought after. Customer service skills and a business-savvy mindset approach are essential to be successful in the future FM sector.
Service providers will play a pivotal role in how the commercial real estate market changes. They will be at the forefront of tenant experience, supplying solutions to business costs and implementing innovative technologies into their practices as they look to streamline, improve and advance their services.