Being Irrationally Helpful

Every company, any good one at least, has to have something they are irrational about. It's the hill they stand on in the marketplace.

Services are seen as a commodity in our industry. One company is indistinguishable from another.

It takes a significant amount of focus and hard work to stand out. It also takes sacrifice and risk.

It takes a significant amount of focus and hard work to stand out. It also takes sacrifice and risk.

It's choosing to take a loss on a job because a vendor messed up.

Its offering a prospect our vendor list because they don't work with national facility maintenance vendors.

It's making long term decisions when the short term decision seems more attractive.

It's checking in with our customers to see how they are doing, and doing it without an agenda.

It's rewarding our team when they go out of their way to serve a customer or vendor, especially when it's outside of their job description.

It's referring a vendor to a software, book, article, or resource that will help their business.

It's connecting people when there is nothing in it for us.

And it's sharing information about our company because we believe in helping everyone, even our competition.

Irrational helpfulness is baked into every level our organization. It is a value that drives our decisions, goals, and actions.

We hope it's contagious.

Happy Friday everyone.

What We Look For In Our Vendors

We believe so strongly about what we are doing at EnvoyFM. Leveraging the best technology with awesome, service oriented people really works. One of the questions we get often from our customers is, "How do you qualify contractors?"

Our answer is simple because it's value oriented. We will only partner with companies who share our values and have commitment and capacity to execute on them.

While most national facilities maintenance vendors are searching for cost and coverage area, at EnvoyFM, we are focused on our vendors soft skills.

Our single most important goal is to be the most helpful facilities maintenance vendor in the business. We believe that success is defined by the level of service we bring to the people and organizations we interact with. We believe that it is our moral obligation to positively affect and influence every person (customer, vendor, and employee) that we interact with.

Naturally we demand our vendors to feel the same way.

In order to make it as an EnvoyFM service contractor, vendors have have an irrational commitment to communication and follow through. We ask numerous questions to get a feel if their company is led by a long-term thinking, big ideas, visionary. We ask about internal systems and roles. We ask about their goals and their plans for the future.

We want to get to who is behind each and every company.

What we find is that when we hire vendors who share our value of high level service, everything else works out, including cost. If you ask our customers, we perform well on that metric as well.

How can we help?

Just Ask Our Customers

Hey Folks! Listen, communication wins, doesn’t it. Seriously, there is not a single attribute that strengthens the level of service for a contractor than incredible, high level communication.

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Just ask our customers. They are happy because they are in the loop. They don’t have to chase down information. It is served to them.

So, since we believe great communication elevates our industry, here are out tips to get the most from your contractors.

1. Ask why?

Why is the uber-question. It cuts to the core of what so fast. If your contractor can’t tell you why, you are not getting the communication you deserve. Want even better information, ask why again. Heck, do it 5 times. We have found that 5 why’s gets you the whole truth.

2. Get the whole picture.

At Envoy we preach a 4 step method to information delivery. We state what was requested. What we found. What we are going to do and why. And finally, how the job will be left when it is done. When these bases are covered, it’s easier for customers to make a decision.

3. Don’t be grumpy.

Our industry can bring enough stress as it is. There is no reason to add to it. We believe people like working with fun people, so we make sure every interaction with our customers is a positive one.

One more thing. A funny thing happens when there is great communication in place. Costs aren't as high. It seems communication breeds honesty and helpfulness too.

Want to know what this level of communication feels like? Ask our customers. They will be glad to tell you.

Have a great day!

People Love Working With Happy People

We talk a ton about a culture of service at EnvoyFM. Why? Because it’s so important.

There is so much more that goes into a great service provider than what you do, where you do it, and how much you charge.

At the end of the day, people love working with happy people.

This is one of the core values in the EnvoyFM culture.

You have all heard the adage, an organization’s culture matches the leader.

Grumpy leader. Grumpy company.

Stubborn leader. Stubborn company.

Selfish leader. Selfish company.

Fortunately it goes the other way. We simply prefer to be fun, happy, and generous people. Our customers love it too.

We decided since our company is going to have a culture, it better be one we like.

Here are some ways we protect our culture.

Absolutely no gossip. Gossip comes in many forms. We don’t tolerate any of them.

No grudges. We handle disagreements immediately and with grace.

Play music. It’s just makes everything better.

Be flexible. Our team is responsible for one thing: take care of our customers. They have freedom to make that happen on their terms.

All of this helps to encourage great attitudes and healthy people. It’s great for our customers, and it’s great for us too.

People like working with happy people.

Earning Referrals Early

Woohooo! We are just a few weeks into real world testing the brand new EnvoyFM system with an early adopter customer. The results so far…incredible. Read on to find out why.

Why in the world would a customer who has only been with us for right at 3 weeks be willing to act as a reference?

The short story: communication levels increased dramatically while average invoices decreased substantially. Pretty awesome, right?

How the heck are we pulling this off when we don’t even self-perform? We use a simple, 4-step process.

One. Deliver on the Big 3.

Two. Reduce contractor time spent on site.

Three. Treat local providers really, REALLY well.

Four. Use the best technology…period.

Part One: Deliver on the Big 3

I believe there are three things every facilities manager needs from contractors. If you know me, you know I say this all the time. I call them the Big 3.

Excellent communication. Thorough follow-through. Fast invoicing.

If you disagree, dig into the major issues you deal with as a facilities manager, and you will find one of these 3 at the root of your issues. Better yet, pick your favorite contractor. I guarantee that company kills it in these 3 areas.

Part Two: Reduce Contractor Time Spent On Site

This one is tied to our proprietary work order management software. I can’t give  away details here. If you are super curious, let’s chat.

Part Three: Treat Local Providers Really Well

There is this crazy thing that happens to you when you treat people really well. What is it? They treat you really well in return. National vendors have a bad reputation of beating people up on price, demanding a ton, and then slow paying them. That’s a recipe for churning through contractors, and guess what? There are only a handful of great local vendors in a small town.

Part Four: Use the Best Technology…Period

This part is the most important. In order to pull all of this off, we need maximum levels of organization. There is no room in our fast-paced, highly reactive industry for more chaos. We need to bring the peace.

We needed a highly efficient work flow. Extra work had to be removed.

We needed highly accessible information quickly.

We needed a communication conduit with our contractors.

We needed to strip away redundant work and stay focussed on value adding work.

If a customer needs to know about a break in Kansas City our account managers need to know about a breaker in Kansas City, plain and simple.

If a work order comes in for a small town, we need to quickly select a vendor and dispatch a work order.

Basically, we need to free up time to allow people to be great at the people part of the business.

The Conclusion

It’s working.

Our customers are happy because they have great service at great prices.

Our vendors are happy because they have plenty of work and are treated fairly.

Our people are happy because people they get to focus on meaningful work: serving other people.

What Does Your Day Look Like?

We are, and always have been, a group of people who learn how to serve from the people we are serving.

One of the ways we do this is through customer profiles.

Basically, in order to train our team to serve our customers, we must first understand what our customers’ day looks like, the problems they face, and what their dream contractor looks like.

This is why we are so focused on communication and helpfulness. Time after time, we hear our customers tell us it’s the best communicating and most helpful contractors who win.

Next we go one step further on a customer to customer basis. We ask you who we can help you be successful. What are your goals? How are you evaluated? How can we help you hit your metrics or get your bonus or simply make your day more enjoyable?

When we say we are here to help, we don’t say it in the “we are here to receive work orders from you” context. Though, we don’t complain since work orders keep us fed and living in doors.

We recently found a box supplier for a customer who had that problem on his desk. What did we get out of it? We got to help.

So, what does your day look like? What are you working to accomplish? What does success look like for you?

Tell us how we can help.

Service Architecture

Great facilities maintenance service starts with a complete understanding of the customer’s needs. This is were so many facilities maintenance providers get it wrong. It’s not about what we can do. It’s about how we can help our customers meet their goals. Here is a peak inside how we create the service architecture for each of our customers.

What does a typical day look like for you?

The first step is to get an understanding of what your responsibilities look like on a daily basis. What is working well? What isn’t?

What are your goals?

The second step is to gain an accurate idea of what you are working towards? What are you responsible for accomplishing? What are you doing to accomplish them? Are you on track?

How are you recognized for your work?

At the end of the day, our service is about you. Tell us how we can make you shine, get your bonus, or get the promotion you are going after. Creating a great service architecture is about you, your responsibilities, your goals, and your rewards. We are here to help. Seriously, just ask.

The Value of Communication

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I remember my very first conversation with a retail facilities manager.

I was just put in charge of developing new facilities maintenance business for the company I was working for. I was nervous and hungry for my first account. Thanks to some wise counsel I asked this person, "What do we need to do to be your favorite contractor?"

It was a simple response. "Be a great communicator."

This answer defined my approach to service in the facilities maintenance industry, and it has helped shape every person I have ever had the opportunity to lead and train.

Communication is powerful. It is the thread that connects our customers to the work with which we are trusted. Our customers feel out of the loop and out of control without effective, proactive communication.

It's this approach that has given me the privilege to oversee tens of thousands of work orders and projects and build great relationships throughout the industry.

Simply put, customers will come to Envoy when they are frustrated with service providers who fail to communicate at the level they require.