One of the core functions of Facilities Management is to meet the requirements of the end users of FM Services. But who exactly are the end-users?

Generally speaking, the people who use FM Services can be divided into three categories:

  • Clients
  • Customers
  • Users

The three terms are often used interchangeably, but this is actually incorrect – there are distinct differences between the three which a good Facilities Manager should be aware of.


Clients are the people who authorise the service levels and approve the invoices for external providers or are the line managers in the case of internal provision.


Whilst the client may take note of what the customer requires in general terms, the customers (as opposed to paying shop customers) are authorised users of the service and funded by the client accordingly. Customers are generally employees of the business supported by internal or external service provision which is approved and funded by the client.


The last category is ad-hoc users of the service without being aware that they are using an FM service. An example being occasional visitors to the business via Reception/Security notwithstanding that they are utilising services provided by the client for the customers.

Why does it matter?

A major part of the facilities management role is to ensure that the services you are providing are meeting the needs of end users. By understanding the differences between the three types of end-users, you can start to appreciate the different (and sometimes conflicting) requirements of each group and look for ways to deliver a service that satisfies all parties.

Of course, sometimes it is difficult or even impossible to completely satisfy all of the different groups. This is where your communication and negotiation skills will become crucial. This can be one of the most challenging, frustrating but rewarding parts of the job!

IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications

This article relates to the following IWFM (BIFM) Qualification Units:

  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 3 in Facilities Management
    • FM3.03 Customer and Stakeholder Relations in Facilities Management
    • FM3.04 Specification and Procurement of Facilities Supplies and Services
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 4 in Facilities Management
    • FM4.04 Understanding Facilities Management Support Services Operations
    • FM4.15 Managing Customer Service in Facilities Management
    • FM4.21 Understanding Procurement and Contract Management in FM
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 5 in Facilities Management
    • FM5.21 Managing Procurement and Contracts in Facilities Management
  • IWFM (BIFM) Level 6 in Facilities Management
    • FM6.03 Quality Management and Customer Service Strategy in FM
Find out more about IWFM (BIFM) Qualifications
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