“A shift is taking place in the office property industry, forcing fundamental change in the relationship between owners, property managers and occupiers.” – This is the summarised description given by the British Council for Offices (BCO) in regards to their latest publication, entitled ‘Office Service Standards and Customer Experience: a Best Practice Guide’, which discusses how the UK office market is gradually adapting to take on a more customer-centric approach, with increased emphasis placed upon the provision of outstanding customer service to occupiers.

The study, commissioned by the BCO Occupier Group and sponsored by British Land, Broadgate Estates, CBRE and Legal & General, highlights how new entrants to the property sector are disrupting the norm and accelerating this shift in the relationship between property owners and corporate occupiers. As a result, property owners and managers are now realising the need to invest in building strong relationships with building occupiers.

As stated however these new market entrants are only accelerating this shift; the primary driving force is in fact the evolving expectations of clients/occupiers themselves. While the focus in regards to the provision of great customer service within the industry has traditionally fallen upon what are known as ‘the 3-Rs’, namely revenue, retention, and reputation, occupiers are now seeing increased value in so-called “soft” skills such as empathy, understanding, and trustworthiness, which are now seen by many as equally important to “hard” financial factors when it comes to encouraging customer loyalty.

The authors of the report (Howard Morgan, Dr Danielle Sanderson and Sue Flatto, from the RealService consultancy) state that while for those who hold “a very traditional landlord-occupier relationship this change in thinking, attitude and operation may feel revolutionary; what is clear is that we are seeing the industry evolve across the board.”

The effects of this shift in customer expectations from “space as a commodity” to “space as a service” are already visible within the offices of many BCO members, including report sponsor Broadgate Estates. The report describes how when recruiting customer-facing staff, the company’s head of service delivery looks for empathy above other attributes so as to ensure that all candidates can display an understanding for the wants and needs of the client.

Richard Kauntze, CEO of the BCO, said, “For any business to be successful, continued evolution is necessary to remain relevant and responsive to change. New entrants in the office market have prompted an acceleration of this evolution.

“The BCO’s research endeavours to encourage and support property owners and managers in providing their customers with the very best experience. It is significant that within the BCO our NextGen members have been strong supporters of this project. I hope that these rising stars will help lead the charge on this within their own businesses, as well as providing the inspiration to others to create and successfully execute new delivery models.”

The full report is available as a free download for all BCO members; simply follow this link.


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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