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Don’t do what the customer asks for. Instead, give him what he really needs

‘Things are really well organised here!’ Every Planon employee was amazed at our recent annual internal kick-off at Achmea’s offices. From the welcome to the catering - everything was perfect.

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Twice a year, we organise a meeting for our colleagues to make sure that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet. However, with everyone living all over the country, getting them all together in one place is always a challenge. So it was all the more pleasing that this time, every colleague met at an inspiring location at one of our largest customers in the Netherlands.

As well as being inspiring, the location was ideal for fostering interactions. It was perfectly in keeping with the theme of the kick-off: ‘interaction, inspiration, and customer focus’.

‘No problem - we’ll arrange it!’

When I asked Bart Voortman – the Facilities Manager at Achmea – whether we could organise our internal kick-off at their premises, his response was immediate and enthusiastic. ‘No problem - we’ll arrange it!’ And he meant exactly what he said. The coordination with the caterers and technical support ran like a well-oiled machine. They planned this event along with us and nothing was too much trouble. With that kind of service-minded approach, it is only logical that Achmea hits high scores when it comes to employee satisfaction and productivity.

This is where I want to work

For many facility managers, the dream scenario is for people to say, ‘Things are really well organised here - this is where I want to work.’ But how do you turn that dream into reality?

Ultimately, FM is about bringing added value to core activities by offering services that raise labour productivity and employee satisfaction. The starting point is to identify and to understand the continuously changing needs of employees in relation to the strategy of the organisation. During our kick-off, Bart Voortman described with great passion the effort that he and his colleagues are putting into achieving just that. Planon colleagues and speaker Jan van Setten – the author of the book, ‘De Klantenfluisteraar’ – listened intently to what Bart had to say. How exactly do you make that difference? Jan van Setten referred to Bart’s presentation and challenged our colleagues to make the difference in the field of customer focus: ‘Don’t do what the customer asks for. Instead, give him what he really needs.’

At Achmea, this is something they truly understand. How are you going to overcome this challenge?

Marcel Groenenboom
General Manager Planon BeNeLux & UK