Service Contracts… Getting it right at the outset – part 2


June 12th 2017.

This month I am delighted to post the concluding part to my 2 part article on ‘Service Contracts… Getting it right at the outset’.

People responsible for managing premises will no doubt agree that it can feel like a thankless job at times. Managing service providers can present a whole host of problems if the fundamental questions aren’t asked at the outset.

It is usually the premises manager that gets an earful when things don’t go to plan. It really doesn’t have to be that way, so my 2 part article addresses some of the many pain points suffered by Premises & Site Managers.

In Part 1, I shared the first 5 of my top 10 questions a Premises or Site Manager should ask at the outset of a potential service provider / customer relationship.

In part 2, I will be sharing the second 5 questions. Asking the right questions at the outset will help reduce the overwhelm and lessen the burden if things going wrong. I believe the key to making premises run smoothly is getting the customer & service provider processes and ground rules right at the outset.

Which brings me on to why I posted the article in the first place; more often than not when I am talking with people responsible for managing premises it is clear they can have a number of frustrations with their current service arrangements. Some people blame the service provider, some blame management and some blame finances. Whatever the root cause here are the top 5 frustrations of those responsible for managing service providers:

  1. No shows, late shows or turning up unannounced
  2. Sub-standard quality or cutting corners
  3. Site untidiness and poor cleanliness
  4. Disruption during work
  5. Repeated snagging visits

As I mentioned in Part 1, this is not an exhaustive list but in my experience these issues do crop up often.

“Relationships flourish when built on solid foundations”

Here are the second 5 of my Top 10 Great Questions to ask when assessing the suitability of service providers. I should point out that a pro-active service provider who has the customers interests at heart should not have to be asked these questions directly; a truly proactive service provider will address these points with you:

6. Will the service provider take before and after photos?
Before and after photos serve a number of purposes, 2 of the most obvious ones are; they provide the customer with peace of mind that a piece of work has been completed if it is not visible and they form part of a compliance record that the work has been completed.

7. Does the service provider carry out quality inspections?
Will the service provider be pro-active and carry out quality inspections to ensure the work is being completed as anticipated or is it left up to the customer to report any issues after completion, depending on the duration of a piece of work, quality inspections may be carried out at various stages of completion or at the end of a project?

8. How will the service provider measure success?
While quality inspections should determine whether the desired technical output has been achieved, it will not necessarily measure the project success in terms of the customers experience.  A simple customer rating is a method of gauging the customers experience overall, however it should be a simple satisfaction score initially rather than a set of onerous questions which can either put off the customer or cause them to overthink their initial reaction to their experience. Once the score is in, decisions can be made on the if, how and when further feedback is necessary.

9. Communication (before, during and after)
Why? – Agree the reason for various communications,
What? – what will trigger it, what will be communicated,
When? –  Are there certain reporting stages or perhatime of the day or week?
How? – What method of communication is required for the agreed types of communication?
After Care? – Agree what level of aftercare communication is required.

10. Align your Why’s
Projects deliver the best value when the customer and service partner have a shared reason for wanting to work together and more importantly for being in existence. Shared (actionable) values are also important. More on ‘why’ in my next article.

You can read Part 1 of this article and my 1st 5 questions HERE

Conclusion…

There is no exact science to managing service contracts or partnerships and there are many questions that can be asked whether technical, safety or quality in nature.

My top 10 questions attempt to address the most fundamental and essential questions which should be asked and I hope these questions will, at the very least give you food for thought and hopefully inspire you to review and improve your existing arrangements with your service partners to the benefit of all parties.

I wrote in part 1 that your service partner will deliver better value if they are treated with respect, dignity and you have open discussions about what both parties expectations are.

“I believe that true value is delivered when a client and service provider work together as partners”

In my next article…… I will be discussing the benefits of aligning your why’s.

If you have any particular pain points I have missed you can email me on more@thevitalelement.co.uk or connect with me on LinkedIn here.

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Service Contracts… Getting it right at the outset - part 2
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Service Contracts… Getting it right at the outset - part 2
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Top 10 questions a Premises Manager should ask at the outset of a potential contractor / client relationship.
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The Vital Element (UK) Ltd
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