New BCO Best Practice Guide points way to better customer experience in the office sector

GRESB Partner, RealService, has been commissioned by the British Council for Offices (BCO) to author a new report entitled ‘Office Service Standards and Customer Experience: a best practice guide’
RealService, Founder and MD, Howard Morgan explains more about the new Guide launched on 17th October in London and how it will help the industry.
The UK office industry is undergoing a fundamental shift towards a more customer centric approach, with an increasingly greater emphasis being placed on delivering an outstanding customer experience to occupiers. This change is being accelerated by new property sector disruptors, companies like We Work and The Office Group, who have put the customer at the very heart of their business models.
The new 40 page BCO report provides practical guidance to property owners, managers and occupiers in the form of best practice checklists, case studies and scorecards. Building on previous research undertaken by RealService for the BCO in 2015, this report gives clear direction on how to deliver an improved experience and how to measure progress.
The report provides evidence of the growing importance of ‘soft’ skills, such as empathy, understanding and trustworthiness. As an example, when recruiting customer facing staff, the most important attribute Broadgate Estates’ Head of Service Delivery looks for is empathy, to ensure his staff are able to stand in the customer’s shoes and understand what they want and need.
A greater focus on customer experience reflects the changing shape of how people work, and the demands they place on their office environment. As customer requirements shift from ‘space as a commodity’ to ‘space as a service’, established operators are showcasing new ways of operating. British Land has launched its Storey flexible office space product, while Landsec has reflected its customer centric approach in a refreshed brand and vision focused on delivering to how ‘Everything is experience’.
To ensure owners and property managers are delivering the type of customer experience that will match the best that can be found outside of the property industry, the report identifies that a much wider set of skills is required, along with a new mind-set to deliver better customer experience at all stages in the relationship lifecycle.
Commenting on the report, Chris Richmond, Chair of the BCO’s Occupier Group and Head of Real Estate at PwC, said:

“There is a clear commercial imperative to deliver improved customer experience in the property sector. With the uncertainty of Brexit affecting property values, and an intensifying focus on income returns and retention in the light of weaker occupier markets, there has never been a more apt time for the UK industry to get closer to its customers. This guide focuses on providing practical advice for property owners, managers and occupiers to realign their thinking from ‘what’s wrong’ to ‘how can we make things better’ for the greater good of the building and the community who occupy it.”

The checklists, designed to help property owners, managers and occupiers understand what best practice looks like, follow the broad structure of the RealService ‘Best Practice Framework’ and cover the following areas:

  • customer experience culture,
  • customer insight and service design,
  • collaboration with service partners,
  • leadership & training,
  • operational excellence,
  • performance measurement.

About the Guide

‘Office Service Standards and Customer Experience: a best practice guide’, was authored by Howard Morgan, Dr Danielle Sanderson and Sue Flatto, all of RealService. The research was sponsored by British Land, Broadgate Estates, CBRE and LGIM Real Assets.
The BCO’s Occupier Group commissioned RealService to conduct research and to develop a set of best practice guidelines for running a multi-let office building in a customer‑focused way. The research involved interviews with individual occupiers, property managers and owners and draws on RealService’s experience gathered over the past 20 years. The report develops a number of the key recommendations from the 2015 BCO RealService report Building Performance – Rethinking the Relationship between Owners, Managers and Occupiers.

About the BCO

The British Council for Offices (BCO) is the UK’s leading member organisation representing the interests of all those who occupy, design, build, own or manage offices in the UK. Since inception in 1990, the BCO has provided thought leadership and best practice in all issues related to the creation and use of office space – through to its research, awards, conference and events programmes.
The guide is available to BCO members to download at
This article is written by Howard Morgan Founder and MD at RealService.

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