Clients and customers are key stakeholders. Without both, there is no business. We tend to refer to the principle of ‘Customer Relationship Management’ but perhaps ‘Client Relationship Management’ should also be considered.
The client is the person with whom you will develop a long term relationship so how do you determine their interests and requirements? The customers will be seeing and using your services on the front line, so what about their interests?
Here’s a few ways to establish the requirements of both clients and customers.
Involving the Stakeholder in the compilation of the Service Level Agreement (SLA)
If a functional and suitable specification is to be written, the stakeholder must be involved in its creation. Only then can the service provider be confident that the service or goods being provided meet the requirements.
Review of the SLA
SLAs are organic, i.e. they should be able to be changed as the requirements alter. Again, this should be done in negotiation with the relevant stakeholders.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys
If a customer is satisfied with the service they are being provided with then one can safely assume that their interests are being met. If, on the other hand, the satisfaction surveys are not favourable that stakeholder interests have not been addressed in the service that is being delivered.
To summarise, then, to ensure that you can identify the interests of all stakeholders you must keep them involved and informed by:
- Treating them with respect
- Providing whatever information, training, mentoring, and/or other support they need to stay involved
- Engaging them in decision-making
- Employing them in the conception, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the effort from its beginning
It is important to continually evaluate how effective you are in identifying and meeting the interests of the stakeholders. This can be done by asking the following questions:
- What could you have done to better identify stakeholders? Which strategies worked best to involve different groups?
- How successful were you in keeping people involved?
- Did your stakeholder analysis and management efforts have the desired effect? Were they helpful?
- Did stakeholder involvement improve the work, effectiveness, and/or political and community support of the effort?
Finally, to maintain stakeholder involvement stakeholder involvement for the long term you should consider the following:
- Maintain stakeholders’ and supporters’ motivation, keep them informed, and continue to find meaningful work for them to do
- New stakeholders may need to be brought in as time goes on.
- Although some people may cease to be actual stakeholders, they may retain an interest in the effort and you should therefore continue to include them.
- Understanding and engaging stakeholders can be tremendously helpful to your effort, but only if it results in their ownership of it and long-term commitment to it. And that depends on your continuing attention.
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 FM specification and procurement
- FM3.06 Project management within facilities management operations
- FM3.08 FM within the context of an organisation
- IWFM (BIFM) Level 4 in Facilities Management
- FM4.15 Customer service in Facilities Management
- FM4.21 Understanding procurement
- IWFM (BIFM) Level 5 in Facilities Management
- FM5.11 Managing facilities management projects
- FM5.21 Managing procurement and contracts in FM
- IWFM (BIFM) Level 6 in Facilities Management
- FM6.09 Developing strategic relationships in FM
- FM6.11 Corporate responsibility and sustainable FM
- FM6.12 Procurement strategy for FMs