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April 07, 2016

Don’t do what the customer asks; instead, give him what he needs

“Things are really well organized 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 organize a meeting for our colleagues to make sure that we are all on the same page. However, with everyone living all over the country, getting them all together in one place is always something of a challenge. So it was all the more pleasing that this time every colleague came to an inspiring location at one of our largest customers in the Netherlands.

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

“No problem—we’ll arrange it!”
When I asked Bart Voortman, the Facilities Manager at Achmea, whether we could organize 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 along with us, and nothing was too much trouble. With that kind of service-minded approach, it is not surprising 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 organized 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 labor 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 organization. During our kick-off, Bart 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; instead, give him what he needs.”

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

Marcel Groenenboom
General Manager Planon BeNeLux & UK