Workplace meeting and discussion.

Why Total Experience is key to the future of FM services

Positive experiences matter. To employees, to businesses and to customers. But increasingly, positive experiences don’t emerge because of a new-fangled tool or a buzzword-filled communication strategy. The experience that an individual enjoys (or not) must be considered as a holistic one - in other words, they are looking for a ‘Total Experience’.

Defined as a business strategy that integrates employee experience, customer experience, user experience, and multiexperience across multiple touchpoints, Total Experience was chosen by tech consultancy firm Gartner as one of its top strategic technology trends for 2022 .

Recently, Planon expanded on this trend as part of our e-book, The Future of FM Services Delivery is Experiential , where we looked specifically at ‘Total Facility Experience’ (TFX), our conception of Total Experience and how it relates to the built environment. Within the e-book, we interviewed five industry experts to delve deeper into the TFX trend. We think it’s important to share what the experts had to say.

Focusing on experience

According to research from Frost & Sullivan , the Integrated Facility Management (IFM) market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% between 2019 and 2026, reaching $139 billion. If the market is to prove such forecasts correct, Peter Deroover, Sales Director for the Benelux region at Atalian Global Services, believes that personalisation will be key.

‘Customer experience is becoming more important than ever before,’ Deroover says. ‘In the past, there was simply a contract between buyer and service provider, and the most important thing was to ensure that this was honoured. Over the years however, it has become more important for employees to have a nice environment to work in. And not just employees, but guests, too.'

This ‘nice environment’ includes hospitality features like catering or wellness programmes, as well as technological solutions like smart cleaning platforms and IoT sensors. The problem, as Deroover points out, is that in this field, there has been a lot of talk, but not much action as of yet. There is definitely a trend in facility management for data-driven services, but how can we bridge the gap between what people want and what they can afford?

People, not buildings

For Lara Paemen, EMEA Director at IFMA, the word ‘building’ itself can lead the industry astray. ‘For FM, I try to avoid the word “building”, she explains. ‘For me, FM is about people – and people are about emotions. FM needs to communicate its impact and successes better, shouting about the topics that really matter to people, whether it’s digital transformation or energy management. Focusing on the areas where tangible benefits can be delivered will help reconfigure the profile of FM as something that is not just a cost centre but something that has a huge impact on experience, potential new employees, and staff retention,’ Paemen continues.

Matthias Peter, Head of Business Development at Honegger, agrees that emotion is key to the successful delivery of facility services. ‘Experience is about emotion and emotion drives conversion,’ Peter notes. ‘The built environment can help support the emergence of more attractive spaces, which ultimately – in combination with a good service – increases revenue turnover.’

FM providers need to convince building owners and investors that they can not only deliver, say, cleaning services, but can offer value-added or integrated services. Younger demographics, in particular, want these value-added services to be technology-driven. They are not prepared to wait for digital solutions in the built environment. FM providers that fail to acknowledge this are likely to see customers look elsewhere.

Adding value

For FM providers, a value-added proposition provides a way of exiting the cost trap and needs to be part of the journey when talking to different stakeholders. The aim should be to foster happy end-users every single day. This means that if a facility service provider is selling a TFX package, it may not be facility managers that they are selling to. It may be the CFO or regional leader.

‘More complex service solutions, like IFM, are the fastest-growing parts of the market,’ John Raspin, a partner at Frost & Sullivan and director of their Energy and Environmental practices, says. ‘Globally, IFM still accounts for just 10 to 15% however, so there remains plenty of potential to evolve – and this needs rethinking by suppliers and customers. IFM represents a huge opportunity. More complex solutions and more sophisticated delivery models are set to play a huge role within TFX – but we’re not necessarily there yet.’

In the opinion of Niclas Elfström, responsible for EY’s Workplace Technology advisory in the Nordics, collaboration will be key to ensuring that TFX can satisfy the needs of all stakeholders. ‘More and more it becomes clear that a true partnership provides the needed trust and flexibility to drive long-term value generation, TFX experience and innovation,’ he admits.

Experiencing - and accepting - change

COVID-19, the rise of hybrid working, and the seemingly relentless pace of digital transformation have all fundamentally shifted debates around the future of FM services delivery.

In our e-book, a greater focus on customer journey mapping, data-driven decisions and the emotional impact of FM were cited by all the interviewees as being key to the delivery of TFX - and essential if businesses are to enjoy a successful future.

Peter Ankerstjerne

About the author

Peter Ankerstjerne | Chief Strategy Officer (CSO)

Peter leads the Marketing and Communications functions as well as Strategy Development and large strategic partnerships at Planon. In addition, he is Chairman of the Planon North America Board. Peter has an extensive record of workplace and facility management experience, including senior management positions with leading companies such as ISS, WeWork and JLL. Peter has also been part of IFMA’s Board of Directors since 2016 and served as Chairman of the Board from 2020 until 2022.

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