The Leader Magazine

MAR 2017

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52 MARCH 2017 F E A T U R E A R T I C L E In one example, an employee found a leaky faucet and reported. The facilities team determined that a plumbing problem caused the leak, and installed a replacement. But then, four more occupants reported the same problem after the plumbing part had been replaced. This pointed to a malfunctioning sensor on the sink itself that the employees identified based on the cadence of their reports. The facilities team transitioned their efforts to replacing the sensor. "Once employees have the app on their phone, it changes the relationship with the facilities team. We can let them know personally that they are an important part of fixing the issue," said Bob Schiaroli, facilities and operations manager for GE Oil and Gas. GE also was interested in driving usage around safety reporting. Prior to launching the app, it received through a web portal about 20 reports of safety problems per year. With CrowdComfort, safety reports increased by more than three times. The employees demonstrated that they were more likely to report a safety problem through an intuitive simple app. Fighting against cold showers Crosspoint Towers is a multi-tenant environment with a fitness center that is shared between all tenants. When CBRE deployed a crowdsourcing app to its occupants, the company realized occupants were having a terrible experience with shower-water temperatures. The hot water for the showers was unreliable, so employees were forced to start the day with either a cold shower or no shower at all. The property management team was concerned, and realized the problem existed before the app was even deployed. But, no actionable data were available so property management didn't know the scope of the problem. Now with the app, they have a whole data set to draw from when they search for the root cause. Every occupant report coming from the gym included a timestamp, so the management team could look at whether the early bathers are using up all the hot water. Some occupant reports included the actual stall, so they could look at whether certain stalls are dysfunctional. With one of the buildings under construction, they could reset the controls on the water boiler and see if occupants continue to experience cold water. Finally, if nothing else works, the team could call in a technician to inspect the boiler itself. "There are multiple opportunities to let the occupants know that you are acting on their reports. Sending a 'thank you' at the end of the process is a small part of it," said Nicole Townsend, a property manager for CBRE. "When the tenant knows that they are part of a greater community that is reporting a specific problem, it reminds them that our team is listening and actively investigating their concerns." Analyzing real estate on a new level When real estate leaders look to measure satisfaction across their space, they no longer need to look at one general database or use anecdotal evidence from talking to others in the building. They can use data generated by a crowdsourcing app to see the most common type of problems based on number of reports. They learn that when facilities teams learn about problems early, they avoid crisis situations and can measure their response in minutes or hours, not days. Occupants return the favor when they are given an easy way to report. They do not want to see their problems linger. When, through the app, they see that others in the workplace are reporting and getting the attention of the facilities team, they know that their culture supports proactive reporting. Finally, when facility managers close their report, they can give a personal "thank you" to show the occupants that they were part of the solution. *according to an internal GE survey Eric Graham is the co-founder and CEO of CrowdComfort, a start-up that builds a crowd-sourcing mobile app for facilities and property managers.

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