Let's finish our three part article on Facilities Management technology considerations by looking slightly further (although in reality only just around the corner).
In the FM sector, customer experience is key, and for clients is often the distinguishing factor between FM organisations.
This is definitely the year to consider all your customer touchpoints – the call centre, online and field staff. Are you satisfied that all these channels provide a consistently friendly and helpful service to represent the face of the company in the right way? Technology can support a positive customer experience in innumerable ways, allowing customers to get the kind of service experience that they are becoming used to from the growth in consumer digital platforms and data. An example would be an app that tells customers with a broken boiler how long it will be until their service technician arrives on site. It’s a simple thing that could dramatically increase your customer satisfaction levels, and reduce costly calls into your contact centre.
Here, we are getting into a longer term view, but now is the time to think about what your technology landscape will look like in 5 years time and how you’ll get there. To get ahead, FM businesses will be required to be more innovative and go beyond a simple maintenance service.
AI is no longer a far-fetched concept. If machines can perform time-consuming, functional tasks, or process large amounts of data, it provides scope for FM professionals to expand and innovate, and focus on the human side of service provision which differentiates the best FM organisations. Although true AI technology has a long way to go before it’s in widespread use, it makes sense to keep an eye on how it develops.
Virtual reality could revolutionise the FM industry. Imagine having a junior engineer on site being guided by a senior engineer positioned at a different site through VR glasses. The senior engineer’s time isn’t wasted on travel, the junior engineer gets their resolution and the customer gets an instant fix. The technology to enable this scenario is coming.
Additionally, building and asset optimisation via augmented reality could be made significantly easier through stored data. By viewing designs this way, engineers could pinpoint weaknesses and improve facilities for the future without any cost or lengthy time implications.
Energised or Nervous?
I’m aware that many of the technologies referred to here are already in widespread use in FM organisations, and also that some of them are just not relevant to some of the work done in certain parts of the FM industry.
There is no need to invest in every system that’s available, just to ‘stay ahead’.
But what may well be needed is a thorough analysis of whether the systems your organisation is using match your operational goals, and your customer experience aspirations.
Undertaking this in a managed way will mean not only that you can plan your technology roadmap and investment, but also that you are in a position to innovate at the right time, and in the right way.