As a facility manager, you will hear your fair share of complaints. It comes with the job. Even if you are doing everything right, there will be complaints. You can bet on it. The most frequent complaints deal with temperature (68%), with restrooms a distant second (10%). How you handle those complaints, however, is entirely up to you. Remember, you can’t please everyone all the time, but with a little strategy, you can resolve complaints rather efficiently.
Strategies to Successfully Resolving Building Occupant Complaints
Handling complaints, especially the frivolous complaints, takes strategy. Here are a few tips to help facility managers to better handle occupant/tenant complaints:
1) Timely Response: It is best to address complaints as they arise. If you wait too long, complaints can start to pile up, taking all of your time and breed resentment amongst your occupants/tenants.
2) Policies and Procedures: It is important to have policies and procedures in place to properly address complaints. This is especially useful when dealing with special requests – looking at what can be run through the building as an operating expense and what can be billed back. Defining escalation and de-escalation policies are important as well, indicating when management approval is needed if these policies are not followed.
3) Research, Don’t Assume: It is important to do some research into every complaint before acting. Often times there are many layers behind a complaint, and it takes some digging to get a good understanding of the underlying reasons behind the complaint. In the end this saves time and energy. Facility managers may think complaints are frivolous, but they need to stop and evaluate who the complaint is coming from and possible causes for the complaint, such as lack of status, low morale, not being heard, etc. Remember – “a building is more than just a building envelope and systems for heating and cooling. A building is a social structure; it is a community.”
4) Treat Every Complaint Equally: Often times, facility managers are male, while complaints come from females. This can sometimes lead to credibility issues. For instance, some facility managers will write off temperature complaints as frivolous. However, even complaints that seem frivolous are often rooted in some truth. It is important to do some digging before dismissing a complaint. A good example is the office temperature complaint. In the summer, the office temperature may be set to be comfortable for men who wear wool slacks, yet the women are too cold as they are dressed more appropriately for the warm weather.
5) Prioritize: Obviously certain issues are more critical than others. It is important to prioritize complaints based on necessity and to explain to the building occupant why their issue has been bumped. This brings us to No. 6.
6) Communication: It is the key to customer service. Be patient with the occupants who are complaining and do your best to help resolve their issues in a calm manner. Taking the time to explain what you have done and if you have done all that you can.
7) Don’t Take it Personal: Facilities manager are in the business of providing service and solving issues to complaints. It’s all about keeping your customers – the building occupants – satisfied and comfortable. Look at the complaints you receive more as information rather than complaints.
Crockett Facilities Services can help you control office temperatures to ensure tenant comfort with our mechanical services and HVAC preventive maintenance agreements. With our over ten years of facilities expertise in mobile HVAC and on-site facilities management, we can help you lower your utility bills and maximize mechanical equipment performance. Contact us today for a service quote for your commercial heating and cooling systems.
For more Facility Managers Strategies to Better Resolve Building Occupant Complaints, please contact Crockett Facilities Services by calling 301.262.2771 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Like us on Facebook; follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+.
Survey Results: How Facility Managers Handle Occupant Complaints FacilitiesNet