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What is a service philosophy and why does your business need one?

Storey leads the way in the future of customer service

I knew early on that working and serving people was going to be important to me. I have been very fortunate to have worked with service teams both here in the UK and back home in Sweden. I started by career in the north of Sweden, working at one of Sweden’s earliest mountain resorts. Following a year studying at Les Roches, International School of Hotel Management, I moved to London where I have had the opportunity to work for renowned hospitality destinations such as Claridge’s, Chiltern Firehouse and The Connaught, before moving to work for Rapport Guest Services where I was introduced to Real Estate for the first time, I realised I really enjoyed working in this field and when I was able to join British land and Storey I jumped on the opportunity.

As the world embraces a new type of normal, customer service is going to more important than ever. Our Storey team is leading the way in innovating for our customers through our service philosophy, and we want to help you do the same when navigating in a post-pandemic world.

Storey currently has offices in ten locations across London, the latest opening being 6 Orsman Road in Haggerston. The next Storey workspace to launch will be located at 100 Liverpool Street, Broadgate. When we started the Storey journey, we knew that our customer service needed to reflect our unique buildings and individual design, in order to entice and then retain the people working within our spaces, whether that is a customer or a team member. This is how the Storey service philosophy and its four pillars of Ease, Belonging, Anticipation and Character came about and implemented across our sites.

Before starting the process of creating our service philosophy, we felt strongly that this was not something one person could do alone, or even in a small group. It was important that everyone in the Storey team was involved in the process, which included those who are not directly in contact with customers. Over six months we held a series of creative workshops, working closely with Within People who specialise in helping companies develop value and purpose led principles. After many one-to-one interviews, group sessions and brainstorms, we found our four pillars and our philosophy was beginning to take shape. The four pillars of Ease, Belonging, Anticipation and Character are results of an organic and detailed process, which the entire team fed into. The pillars also align with our British Land values, something we also wanted to make happen.

Our reasoning behind the service philosophy is even more relevant now, in the unpredictable world of 2021, than it was when we started the process some years ago. Coming from a hospitality background, I had never worked in a team where there was only one person that took care of each area of responsibility, and quickly found that our agendas and understanding of where we were taking Storey were all very different, and as a service provider we were missing the glue. Our goal was clear: to grow Storey to 1 million sq. ft., but it was the how and the why that wasn’t. Creating a philosophy that would bring us together as a team and give us direction when making decisions, developing new buildings and interacting with our customers, was something we knew would take our customer service to the next level.

Over the last two years the world has changed dramatically, how we lead our lives has changed (already before Covid-19) and as a workplace provider, we have to adapt – this is why developing an authentic service philosophy is more crucial than ever. When a company decides on their new office space they are also making a decision on what kind of experience they want for their team to work in every day. Being able to tell our customers before they move in to one of our sites what they can expect, what we stand for and how we operate, enables future customers to see if our philosophy and values align with theirs. There are many great office space providers on the market, but our Storey service philosophy is what sets us apart. By constantly talking and engaging with the four pillars, and listening to customer feedback, we can check in and see if we feel if we are relevant or if we need to make tweaks. The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted how important it is for us to work in partnership with our customers, and we therefore wanted to be clear on this. In our original service philosophy we said we ‘work together’ but during the height of the crisis we decided to change this to ‘work in partnership’.

The next undertaking will be to future proof the Storey service philosophy and ensure we are all held accountable. When we show up to work, these are the promises and behaviours that the Storey team live by, for our customers and each other. We are confident that the philosophy will be followed because every member of the team played a part in creating it, and this is key.  It is really about putting words to what we are already doing, but also creating something aspirational and motivational. We now use the philosophy as part of our decision making process on a daily basis; when a decision is made that will have a direct impact on the customer experience, we return to the pillars to ensure that decision or new process will align, if it doesn’t we go back and adjust. We also ensure that when we recruit, train and communicate that the philosophy is part of this process.

The way that our team, customers and stakeholders have engaged with the philosophy so far urges us to spread the word and encourage other businesses, across sectors, to create their own. You need to go into the process with an open mind, try to enjoy the experience, and learn from the surprises and new points of view. We had an idea of what we thought we were going to achieve and where the philosophy would ultimately land, but there were some real revelations too which made the whole process even more exciting!