The role of customer care in FM
Shedding light on building support standards
I was recently delighted to receive an email from my nemesis, Elm Street FM. It advised me that, in line with its policy for providing safety and comfort to its residents, I should follow a certain complaints filing procedure.
I’m sure that you will appreciate my excitement as I read through the email and discovered the company’s comprehensive policy – especially one that was designed to create safety and comfort for me. Under such a policy, gone would be the frustrations of the past.
No more will I and the thousands of other victims, who had been unfortunate enough to experience the pre-policy days, be subjected to being treated like imbeciles by Elm Street’s customer support (and I use this term very loosely) staff. All those instances of filing repeated complaints, only to eventually have no action taken, would become nothing more than mere frustrations to share with our grandchildren as we wisely advise them that they’ve never had it so good.
Naturally, I was eager to take advantage of my new awareness of this stated policy. In doing so, I could rid myself of all outstanding issues that either made me feel less safe or less comfortable. I would be living the utopian dream, supported by a considerate and customer-focused service provider. Why, they had even provided an email address specifically to file complaints. I responded to Elm Street’s instruction and sent an email without hesitation.
The biggest outstanding issue in my building is the lack of interaction between its access control system – installed as an add-on by Elm Street – and the pre-installed intercom system. Elm Street did, briefly, install the required interconnection. However, it was, according to our watchman, also soon disconnected by the company.
Living on the top floor of the building and having to descend to the lobby to let visitors and tradespeople in each time the intercom buzzes does not exactly make me comfortable. I pointed this out in my email to the customer care department, and also advised the support staff that the issue had been outstanding for more than two years, asking them to resolve the issue immediately.
I sat back and waited for everything to be fixed; after all, it’s in line with Elm Street’s stated policy to deliver safety and comfort isn’t it? Silly me.
It’s been more than two weeks since I sent my email, but I’ve heard nothing. Elm Street’s initial email notifying residents of the complaint filing system also advises that we can track outstanding issues using the tracking number provided – and this is the start of a whole new problem that gives lie to the company’s customer care function.
You won’t be surprised to learn that not only did Elm Street not resolve the outstanding access issue, the organisation also failed to respond to my email and issue a tracking number so that I can follow up on my query.
I appreciate that this whole situation may seem laughable to most FM professionals reading this article, but pause for a moment. Ask yourself whether you work for an organisation worryingly similar to Elm Street, or one that is currently going down the company’s well-worn path. If you do, please allow me to suggest that you might be better off trying to further your FM career elsewhere.