October 08, 2018

Becoming a B2B2C Service Provider

Everybody uses the spaces around them. We are constant consumers in both our professional and private lives, utilizing services and facilities offered when working at the office, buying clothes at a shopping center, enjoying a picnic in the park, or going through an airport on a business trip. Many people, however, are unaware of the effort it takes to provide them with the optimal experience.

Webinar - Enabling End-User Success

Watch Jeffrey Scott Saunders, Director of the CIFS, discuss the role of Integrated Facility Management in enabling end-user success.

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The goal of the owners of these properties and assets is to create the optimal experience for the consumer because it often benefits both parties. For example, relaxed shoppers will spend more money. At airports, poorly maintained terminals are not only unappealing, but can further stress the passenger already nervous about flying. And as we have discussed in the past, employees are more productive in appealing work environments.

The services offered

Some of the services that create a better experience are very visible to consumers: a friendly welcome at a reception desk, delicious lunch options, or a clean bathroom. These are known as “soft services.”. In addition, there are many more services that facility management service providers deliver to property owners and occupiers that are not immediately visible, but have an equally large influence on the experience of consumers. For example, the lighting, temperature of a room, or air quality. Many of these services such as having electricity, working elevators, or hot, running water go unnoticed until something isn’t working, but it requires effective monitoring and maintenance to keep these utilities running. These services are called “hard services”. Many property owners outsource soft and hard FM services to commercial service providers to be more cost-effective.

Here are some examples that show the challenging relationship between the various parties involved and the different requirements and expectations toward properties, assets and services:

  • Property and facility management service providers: Providers of soft and hard services manage and maintain properties and assets to unburden property owners (customers). Their primary goal is providing these services in an efficient and cost-effective way to gain and retain customers.
  • Building or property owners: The owners of properties or assets are often large corporations, government organizations or universities. Their primary goal is to offer a location that supports their business goals, whether that is retail sales, student study spaces, or corporate offices that enhance the brand image.
  • Building occupiers, end-users, consumers: The primary need of the people making use of the facilities and services is a seamless experience that supports them in their activity.

This connection of relationships is referred to as the B2B2C-model, in which commercial service providers extend their existing business to business (B2B) relationship with contract managers to also include the end users and consumers of the service (B2B2C). It gets even more complex when including lessees of a property or sub-contractors of a service provider to deliver services.

Why it matters

According to research done by the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies, 56% of companies measure the success of their FM outsourcing using various strategic KPIs such as employee satisfaction and cost savings. Yet many Integrated Facility Management service providers struggle with how to balance the different values of the purchaser versus the purchaser’s ultimate end-users.

For example, an escalator at an airport might have some planned maintenance that needs to occur. The airport is motivated to have the maintenance done before the escalator breaks and causes a long-term issue. However, travellers will be frustrated by an out of order elevator in the short-term. A service provider can advise that the work be performed after hours or during low-traffic hours to reduce disruption. 

In another example, a company may be interested in lowering the costs associated with a property and, therefore, want to reduce space. However, a reduction of space, can make employees start to feel cramped, which leads to a decrease in productivity, and can even make employee retention an issue. This is a perfect example of when service providers can play the role of strategic partner. They can advise clients towards options that support both the company goals and end-user success. That might be through activity-based work spaces, engaging employees in the space redesign process, or using feedback buttons to track impressions of new workspaces.

To hear more about enabling end-user success, register for our webinar presented together with Jeffrey Saunders of the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies. He will be discussing the implications of B2B2C relationships, outsourcing, and pricing models.

Marc Wetzelaer
Former General Manager Service providers