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20 November 2017
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In-house client team of the year

14 October 2013


Winner: Edge Hill University


By electing to treat students as customers and adopting a commercial market approach to customer service, Edge Hill University’s in-house FM team not only saw the institution leap nine places on the higher education rankings table within a year – from 95th place to 84th – but also made a number of cost savings.

The team told FM World it was “essential [to] recognise our students as customers with high expectations from their university experience and, more to the point, the £9000 per annum they will ultimately pay for their tuition”.

Taking the initiative to map the ‘student journey’ through the university life cycle, the team identified how FM services impact every stage of that journey – and how to ensure that impact is positive. This was integral to Edge Hill’s success, as facilities and services are of course an enormous part of a university’s product offer.

One example is that on Welcome Sunday each September – when students first move into their halls of residence – the FM team provides a golf buggy and trailer shuttle service to help students whose accommodation is not close to parking.

As well as being helpful, generating appreciative feedback from students and families, the “fun factor” of this scheme creates what the team call a “buzz” to the proceedings, making it a memorable and enjoyable experience, too. 

Competitive costs were also achieved through improving FM services. Among these reforms were LED lighting replacement and lighting control schemes across campus, which produced annual energy savings of  £66,000, and a campaign to reduce energy waste over Christmas 2012, resulting in a 5.3 per cent reduction in usage compared to 2011.

For the team at Edge Hill, their efforts have proved that “FM succeeds through customer care”. And in a sector where government funding can be lost if student recruitment targets are not hit or students drop out of courses, satisfying the customer is all-important.

Commenting on the win, the BIFM judges said: “The Edge Hill team are fully engaged in delivering excellent customer service, understanding their customers and looking for ways to deliver great service in an area that has to redefine its place in what is now a very competitive industry.”