Don’t Just Check the Box on Building Amenities

by | 03 April 2017

We learn a simple lesson about doing things right from a young age: pushing the mess underneath the bed isn’t cleaning. It’s dangerous to hand in a report without running spellcheck and reading Cliffs Notes isn’t the same as reading the book. Doing half the job or just “checking the box” simply isn’t good enough. Going above and beyond — exceeding expectations — is what makes a job successful.

In my last post, I discussed the driving principles that make Colliers’ Real Estate Management Services successful: doing what’s right and operating with a culture of collaboration, thoughtfulness and service excellence, to name a few. Doing what’s right isn’t always the easy path, and there are no short cuts. But it’s a job worth doing because doing what’s right is essential to customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is our leading indicator to measure the loyalty of our clients, as well as the method we use to identify happy or unhappy clients. Without a well-thought-out marketing plan that includes customer satisfaction measures, you can’t meet your goals. But one area where we often see clients struggle with customer satisfaction is related to building amenities.

Recently, I was talking to a friend about the remodeled gym that just opened at his office. It looked great and covered about twice as much space as before. That sounds like an improvement, however, space was never an issue with the old gym — the equipment was. Imagine his disappointment to find the same weights and the same equipment hauled out of storage and onto the new floor!

I thought this was a perfect reminder of a fact that seems so simple but can easily get lost in the shuffle: customer satisfaction is about what the customer wants. In this case, building management missed an opportunity to assess their tenants’ desires and deliver a solution to meet those needs.

Make Your Mark

A year ago, we published a piece about the changing office landscape. The title, “Amenities: A Hot Commodity,” was a little tongue-in-cheek. Commodities are fungible and inherently lack differentiation. By offering the same features as everybody else, owners miss a chance to make their buildings stand out from the crowd.

There are two ways to approach this topic in your buildings. One way is to work with your clients to discover what their end goals are. In the case of the new gym, the building owner might have saved time and money by uncovering the fact that tenants wanted new equipment rather than significantly more space.

The second approach is to provide solutions to potential issues tenants might not have even thought about. In the case of the gym, perhaps the owners should have considered deferred maintenance before remodeling.

Think about what the tenants’ needs are. As an example, one of our management teams recently sent a survey to understand tenants’ and visitors’ experiences with the existing food services in a building. The survey revealed that there was a need for additional food services to meet the needs of the lunch crowds. The management team developed a solution by partnering with a local “trendy” food truck that provided healthy options. This additional service was a fantastic idea and tenants responded positively to the experience — a great way to make the asset and services stand out from the crowd.

Don’t Lose Sight of the Bells and Whistles

It’s not uncommon to end up with hard-to-lease spaces in otherwise very successful buildings. Instead of continuing to pound the pavement, consider trying something different.

Whether it’s an on-site barista, a common area stocked with snacks or a tenant lounge serving local brews, think about what amenities would make you happier at work and try to make that happen.

Amenities Matter

In order to ensure your “above-and-beyond” building amenities really stand out, you have to make sure the simple things are also functioning well. Fixing issues in your building before they become a nuisance is an easy way to do what’s right.

If an elevator is constantly out of service or the fire alarm goes off once a week, fix it! You wouldn’t host a dinner without a working oven because your guests would think you don’t care about their evenings. The same goes for the tenants in your building. Take care of anything that might interrupt their day-to-day routines before you draft new floor plans.

When it comes to building amenities, it can be easy to fall into the complacency trap. What’s worked before should continue to work, right? Not so — there are always new compelling ideas and people looking to lure tenants away. Be sure that your amenities are a reason for people to stay and to help you attract new interest! Do what’s right every time, and you will build client loyalty.

Tim Allison is the National Executive Managing Director for Real Estate Management Services. With 20 years of experience in commercial real estate management, he has responsibility over business development, implementation of Colliers’ strategic platform development, property operations and the delivery of third-party management services for all of the Colliers family of clients. Tim is part of the National REMS leadership team and offices in NYC and Richmond, VA.