A Building is a Service

A Building is a Service

Do you think of the building you manage as a service? Today’s leaders in building management and professional facility services and national janitorial services do.  In fact, in the BOMA panel session with industry leaders, the leading thought was getting tenants to “love their building services”.  This is not new. As a professional marketer, I know that all services (including building services) belong in one of three stages:


Companies start out in Stage 1 proving the minimal service standard; they fulfill the customer’s most basic desire for a product or service.

In Stage 2, enter the marketers. They seek to differentiate by listening to the needs and wants of customers: “We want more lighting.” “We want open meeting spaces.” “We want Class A design, and Class A janitorial services.” Most companies get stuck in stage 2.

Only the truly great companies move into Stage 3. In stage 3, the customer experience is about surprise. It’s about “loving” the services. This is what the panel of experts in Monday’s general session was trying to relay.

As building and property managers, as building service contractors, as maintenance techs and manufacturing reps, we all have to work together to surprise the customer and love the service.

So how do you do it? I’ll give you my personal advice. It is through small and simple things that great things come about. By doing small and simple things that exceed the building tenant’s expectations, you can surprise your customers. Water boils at 212°. You can turn the temperature up to 211° degrees yet you won’t get water to boil. It’s that extra one-degree that causes the water to boil. Leave a note, “John, I noticed your lights were flickering so I checked the ballast and traded out the light bulb. I hope that is better for you.” Surprise your customer by your response to a complaint. Go beyond the mark. Instead of simply taking care of a complaint, go beyond what was expected to remedy the problem. In doing so, you will turn your customer from dissatisfied to impressed.

Yes, your building is a service. Will you be a stage 1, 2 or 3 service provider?

Remember, only at three will your customers not flee! 

Marc Collings

Senior VP of Sales and Marketing at Varsity Facility Services
Marc Collings is Varsity's Vice President of Marketing for Varsity Facility Services. Marc oversees the company's growth, branding, positioning, customer support and analytics. In this role, he has positioned the company as a customer solutions leader for lowering cost and improving quality. He also led the company-wide rebranding and strategically positioned the company as a sustainability leader, serving on a committee for the EPA, obtaining the Ashkin Group award for sustainable leadership, leading Varsity's CIMS Green Building certification with honors, and developing Varsity's S.H.A.P.E. sustainability strategy, which improves service results along five dimensions: Safety, Health, Asset Preservation, Productivity and the Environment.

In 2011, Marc's team won the large company category, "Best in the Industry" marketing materials from the Building Service Contractor Association International (BSCAI). Marc also directs Varsity's proposal writing, sales process and tools development, marketing campaigns, corporate website SEO performance and customer support center.

Marc has spent his career developing strategic capabilities that enhance value to customers and the company. A Lean Sigma Green belt himself, he developed the company's Lean Sigma offering, providing an innovative solution to customers' need to lower cost while raising quality. He led the development of JanOPS, an industry-leading janitorial operating system, which brings standardization and service consistency to large campus and geographically disperse national accounts.

Prior to this position, Marc was responsible for strategic management at Varsity. He has initiated or directed multiple strategic technology initiatives, ranging from a corporate website, a corporate intranet, a web/smartphone based quality control system, a learning management system, a corporate content manager and knowledge wiki, salesforce.com deployment and customization, and an Android app which facilitates the GROW sales process he has developed.

Marc is the author of several leadership and management training manuals, field guides, marketing collateral and case studies. He speaks Portuguese and Spanish and holds a bachelor degree in English/Technical Writing and a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Idaho State University. Marc enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and golf. He is happily married, and he and his wife Victoria enjoy raising and spending time with their four children.

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