Hashtag fail

Search Twitter under the hashtag fail and you’ll come across a lot of examples of poor service, disgruntled customers and some almost unbelievable situations. Look for the hashtag fmfail and there are some great examples of facilities management failings, enough to make even the most robust facilities professional blush – the security guard playing solitaire in a City office reception and the receptionist reading news stories on the internet (thanks @fmguru), the security asleep when the FM turns up to do a site inspection (@stapletoncoach), the empty Klix machine during a swimming pool gala (@FM_day2day) or the retailer who plays rap so loudly in their changing rooms that shoppers are forced out (cathy_fm_world). BIFM deputy chair and powerPerfector consultant Ismena Clout (@iswhiz) added to the list when she went for a night out at a local restaurant and spotted the big aggressive sign in a restaurant to instruct people to use the loo brush after use – with no loo brush provided.

As a nation we’re renowned for being poor at complaining and being prepared to put up with some awful service but the joy of Twitter has allowed us to rant about poor service without the embarrassment of actually complaining to a person (big companies should take note – if you’re not searching Twitter for mentions of your company and responding quickly to complaints, then you’re missing a trick and what might now be a minor complaint could escalate very quickly when people retweet the more hilarious or serious complaints). Virgin has been very swift to respond to #virginfail tweets but other companies have not performed as well. It’s now known by BT customers that it’s very difficult to get through to their customer service department to actually speak to someone but if you post negative tweets about an organisation, they will respond more promptly. Surely properly staffing their call centre in the first place would avoid customers having to go public via Twitter with their complaints?
But do we reward good service? Asda is known for its very competitive pricing but not usually for its good customer service or friendly staff. So when an Asda delivery driver went beyond the call of duty and carried my shopping down two flights of stairs to my kitchen (not even the Ocado man used to go that far) I went on to Asda’s website to email my thanks to his bosses, so he would get recognised. Even though there was an option to complain, there was no way to simply make a comment or say ‘thank you’ so I ended up sending a complaint to say thanks (which probably never got read).

As an industry, we need to get better at recognising great service. Yes, there are various annual awards, but what about the numerous examples of exceptional service that happen in facilities management teams every day? Which is why @izwhiz and @theatreacle have suggested an #fmgoldstar hashtag on Twitter. If you have witnessed great FM, then post your comments on Twitter with #fmgoldstar and we can start to recognise all the great things happening in our profession and learn from them.

But don’t stop the #fmfail either – it’s good to know when we get it wrong so we can make it right. My next #fail is directed at computer manufacturers who bury the hash key deep inside the keyboard – they need to move with the times and have it as easy to reach as the exclamation mark. Moan moan moan…

Cathy Hayward