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How to get the most out of property management helpdesks28th September 2014

Outsourcing a helpdesk can make life easier for property management companiesFrom a property manager's perspective, a helpdesk should provide the backbone to the overall service and help to 'free up' their time.

Providing a centralised hub of information, helpdesks should log jobs, follow up and create an audit trail. The helpdesk creates the front line and a first port of call for the tenant.

They shouldn't however just provide an answering service. Instead they should add value, and understand the needs and limitations of the contractors being employed on a given site, in order to find the right solution(s) and make the best judgement in a given situation.

Pitfalls on going it alone...
Some property management businesses choose to take on the set-up and development of an in-house helpdesk solution. The helpdesk has to be managed, and this can be difficult where a portfolio fluctuates in size. Where a company plans to expand, they need to have planned to take their helpdesk with them.

Outsourcing a helpdesk is I don't doubt a huge leap of faith to take. The first port of call for tenants will then be in the hands of a third party.

When a company does choose to take the outsourcing route, they need to take the time and effort to find the best partner for their particular business. They need to arm the helpdesk with the level of detail for them to become ‘helpful’. Property details need to be kept on top of and updates made - only then can the helpdesk do its job.

Tips on setting up the best helpdesk (in-house or outsourced)

  • Know what you want from the helpdesk.
  • Take time to understand and appreciate the pitfalls of getting the wrong helpdesk on board.
  • Get the right people involved. Helpdesk operations are people operations.
  • Empower operators to make decisions and own their role
  • Stay away from scripts - the personal touch works so much better.
  • Encourage face-to-face engagement between the helpdesk and client.
  • Make sure the operator doesn't just 'sit on the phone' all day, get them out to see sites. They are far more likely to understand a property's requirements if they have been there, met the management team and viewed the typical areas where issues arise.
  • Regularly review the helpdesk to see if it continues to live up to expectations and requirements.

About the author

Chris MacDonald, PropertyserveChris MacDonald is managing director at Propertyserve UK, a facilities management helpdesk provider and managed procurement service for commercial buildings.


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