BOMA Education Session Spotlights
JLL head of customer experience Peter Merrett—who came all the way from Australia—presented “The New Office Romance: How Are We Helping Our Customers Fall in Love With Us?”, which focused on creating happy, fun and inspiring workplaces. (To set the scene, Peter, standing, scattered rose petals on the floor to welcome attendees and provided them with giant red balloons.) Amazing customer service is now the expectation, he says. Carve time for yourself and your team to see how you’re setting them up for happiness. As Walt Disney once said, “You can’t have a happy show without a happy crew,” Peter points out. What are you doing each day to make your customers feel really appreciated? Do you take time to thank your team personally? Focusing on these can help you achieve greater customer service satisfaction ratings, higher rental rates and a better overall workplace.
During the “New Building Operational Risks” session, DTZ’s Katie Ross, Healthy Building International’s Simon Turner and EnerNOC’s Jake Blaine noted the risks that come from sustainability. While we make decisions on a financial basis, according to Simon, we don’t necessarily think of risk, which includes direct exposure and value exposure—unknowns that could kill or damage deals. The panelists noted the unintended consequences of green initiatives (like high-efficiency toilets that can't handle the amount of waste produced by a building or Legionnaires' disease found in dead-legs of waterless urinals); the benefit of using demand response and energy management solutions; and changes coming to programs like Energy Star and LEED.
Envision Realty Services' Craig Sheehy, Corporate Sustainability Strategies' Brenna Walraven and Oracle's George Denise touched on no- and low-cost efficiency strategies from the BOMA Energy Efficiency Program (also known as BEEP). Brenna says that implementing these strategies can demonstrate your leadership through greater energy efficiency to tenants, owners and other building stakeholders; improve property performance and tenant comfort; and reduce energy costs. Some of the strategies discussed included installing low-flow water fixtures; optimizing energy management systems time schedules; and making use of variable frequency drives and heat recovery systems.
Many attendees at the “Proper Staffing for Industrial Management” session noted that they had trouble hiring and retaining talent. DCT Industrial’s Charla Rios says that you have to identify the needs of your company before hiring a property manager—like the size of your portfolio, your geography, the attributes of your top performers and your company culture, to name a few. “It’s not as simple as saying, ‘I need a property manager.’ You’re looking for someone who can take on multiple properties and different types of customers.” RETS Associates’ Jana Turner adds it’s also about delving into client investment objectives for the portfolio. Talent should have strong financial acumen, customer service skills, ability to negotiate, exceptional communication skills and the ability to tackle issues proactively. If you’re hiring, know your competition and what your company has to offer; use social media and industry organization to meet recruits; use recruiting firms for key positions; treat candidates as customers; and move quickly when you find the right candidate.