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Determining how to best service tenants and staff in corporate buildings is extremely difficult. Changing needs and fads, along with constant innovation have meant that the idea of service and engagement is always evolving, either because it needs to, or simply because people get swept up in the notion that they must adapt or perish.
As an industry innovator, First Contact has seen, and in many cases developed innovations in Corporate Services. With over 10 years’ experience in the industry, one thing is certain - the service level in corporate buildings has increased dramatically in that time.
Before First Contact, having either security or an admin-focused receptionist was the service norm at many premium office buildings. Walking into your office each morning past an employee who didn’t actively engage with you (not even simply making eye contact) meant that your first potential interaction of every day was extremely uninviting.
With an idea to change this interaction, making it a positive one, the name First Contact was born. In making the human element of service more welcoming through trained hospitality professionals, this innovation was a revelation for the corporate world.
Over the years since First Contact’s inception, the service has been refined, adapted and taken on additional scope, to become a pivotal cog in many leading workplaces. This stems from hospitality professionals having a ‘yes, we can do that’ mentality.
Other innovations in corporate service involve the introduction of technology. First Contact has always welcomed the introduction of technology into the industry, when it helps Concierge staff reach new heights of service. Using systems to remember VIP birthdays, preferences, as well as ensuring meeting spaces are efficiently utilised and visitors are recognised and directed accordingly are great technology initiatives that have a valuable impact.
While some have been introduced to enhance and assist service, there has also been a push for technology to replace service, mainly through efficiency. This has largely been fuelled by seeing technology in service as a strategy, rather than a tool, and trying to innovate for the sake of innovating. There was little to no business objective in implementing such innovations, other than it being touted as a must have, or the next big thing.
This created a trade-off within many multi-tenanted office buildings. They were given a piece of technology to replace an engaging and service-minded staff member. This meant that while tenants could order lunch and coffee and have it delivered to their desk, the building once again lost its spark, and reverted to a cold, uninviting location for people to do their job. Gone was the cross-tenant interaction and welcoming smile. Building managers also felt a lack of urgency from reception staff to create engagement on-site.
With the novelty of tenant-level technology now dissipating, many corporate buildings are seeing the impact of person-to-person service once again.
There is now a clear trend in the workplace to have not only an engaging presence, but to also utilise concierge as a pivotal central point of contact – creating a one-stop shop for all necessary building requirements and information. In addition, concierge staff are also being utilised in a support role, ensuring client staff can perform their day-to-day duties uninhibited.
With workplaces now seeing service engagement technology for what it actually is – simply a tool, not a strategy – a trained, professional concierge can use this to their advantage to bring staff and tenants of a building together. Using technology to promote, rather than restrict and control service is much more conducive in creating a welcoming environment.
By humanising service in this manner, tenants and workers are also regaining a fundamental aspect that improves work-life balance – an escape. Taking 5 or 10 minutes away from the desk to order and pick up a coffee allows eyes to be rested, legs to be stretched and a human interaction to be created. As they walk through the lobby, they might even notice an event that they would have otherwise missed, allowing them to clear their mind for a few minutes. The result – the employee walks back to their desk refreshed and ready to continue work.
In today’s business environment, humanisation is especially important. There are more and more boutique office towers, meaning potential tenants have much more choice. By understanding your tenants and/or staff, and tailoring your service approach (which can only truly be achieved with a strong human element), you are creating a strong, unique culture that will bring the right tenant into your building, or attract like-minded staff to allow your business to prosper.
Although this new change is still in its infancy, the notion of humanisation in the workplace will go a long way towards creating the inviting, yet corporate environment many organisations are striving to create.