Guest blog by Christie Campbell of ABM

Multi-use properties have many kinds of customers: visitors, shoppers, residents, tenants and their employees, etc. Creating a great experience for these diverse audiences is paramount to a successful brand. From the moment people arrive on the property, whether on foot, in cars, or via public transit, they need to feel welcome and taken care of. As you probably know, customers sharing their positive experiences on social media is some of the best advertising you can get.

On the other hand, complaints can be far-reaching. Restaurants, stores, offices, hotels, residences, movie theaters, and other spaces all have their own maintenance issues that can make or break the customer experience. While the challenges of maintaining mixed-use facilities can be daunting, I’ve seen firsthand how meeting those challenges can result in a successful and wildly popular all-encompassing destination.

In addition to the physical attributes of the facility, the attitude of the facility services staff plays a big role in creating the best experience for everyone. For example, consider the story of a cleaner who finds rings in a restroom and goes out of her way to return them to a thankful owner. This instance reinforces for all workers how integrity can elevate the customer experience. Encouraging that kind of responsibility in the workers who maintain a facility elevates the customer experience by enhancing a sense of security and caring.

Because many facility service workers are public facing in a mixed-use property, it’s important to hire people who care about service excellence, are proud of the property, and feel like part of its team. I encourage both you and your service provider to interview those applicants. Besides job skills, public-facing service staff also need excellent social and communication skills: They can serve as ambassadors who greet and direct visitors and embody your brand. Their uniforms should match or coordinate with the brand’s look and feel. In addition to customer service and job training, anyone working around sensitive information or delicate items needs training specific to those environments as well as the people in them.

As a property owner or manager, you can work with your service provider(s) to create a collaborative culture of “we’re all here for the same reason.” Team-building exercises can be helpful to instill pride and a sense of ownership. For example, a manager might use trivia games in team meetings to reinforce facts about their property—especially if it’s an historic one.

Celebrating exceptional service creates an environment where other employees want to do their best to serve too. Rewarding a can-do attitude encourages thinking outside the box. Whenever service employees go out of their way to help someone or to suggest a better way of doing their jobs, those stories should be shared as an example to the whole team.

Establishing and Reinforcing Your Brand

It’s important for a mixed-use property to define and maintain a uniform brand.

Everything must be kept clean, beautiful, welcoming, safe, sustainable, and functional to enhance the experience for everyone who visits, works in, or lives in the property. And if you own or manage more than one property, you want your brand reinforced with consistency in all of them.

When you’re focusing on the customer experience, consider your need for green cleaning, day porter, trash removal, recycling, pressure washing, graffiti removal, floor and carpet care, and other services for any and all of the following shared areas, each with their idiosyncrasies:

  • Public restrooms
  • Food hall and courtyard
  • Stairwells and elevators
  • Residential elevators, hallways and lobbies
  • Rooftop and event space
  • Parking and loading dock
  • Exteriors, sidewalks, and entrances

Residences, retail, and office space must be move-in ready for tenants. When leases expire, and a prospective tenant wants to see a space, they’ll experience your attention to detail when they see fresh paint, mopped floors, dust-free surfaces, and everything in good repair.

Multi-use takes a multi-talented facility services expert to ensure quality, consistency, and attention to customer needs. Combine technical know-how and innovative tools with caring service employees, and you’ve got a property that really can be all things to all people. And those people are guaranteed to leave feeling great (and maybe Tweeting) about your brand.

Christie Campbell is National Director of Sales Enterprise Solutions at ABM. She joined ABM in March 2010 and serves as the subject matter expert for the company’s commercial real estate business within the Southeast.