Customer Service: By-Product of Office Environment

Kevin Pic

Kevin Honomichl, President

Private offices and cube farms are becoming a thing of the past. What was once used for privacy and to promote productivity is the exact thing that is now stunting it in the workplace.  A year ago we moved our corporate office and not only changed locations, but we changed the entire flow of our office environment. Where you once saw a cube farm, you now see sets of adjustable height desks with laptops for workstations and mobile storage on wheels. This change in our office environment was not only made with our employees in mind but with our customers in mind as well.

How do the changes in our new office space and overall design benefit our customers?

  • Improves employee collaboration
  • Increases communication
  • Saves money

In our new design we had several goals in mind. Create an open office environment to inspire innovation, be mobile to make communication easier, build open meeting spaces to encourage collaboration and2015-09-30 12.14.07 create plenty of space for entertaining customers. With these in mind, the final design did just that.  It has been a year now that we have been test driving our new space.  It took us a little time to get used to using the new tools that offered mobility and open collaboration, but we have proven this new design is making a difference.

Our customers might not know they are benefiting from this new design, but creating open spaces without walls offers better communication and coordination among design teams for responses to changes in evolution of the design. The end result is reduced turnaround time and a higher quality of work, saving customers money. We want to show our customers that we aren’t like every other engineering firm in town.  We are investing in progressive solutions for our customers and we demonstrate that through the facilities that we have, and being progressive among our competitors.

Here is what one customer said when we asked what it was that made him come back to us year after year: “I have continued to work with BHC RHODES because of their ability to provide timely, quality service at a reasonable price.” ~ Darryl Basham, P.E., Engineering Manager

Delivering our “no problem” customer service is a brand attitude.

We continually talk to people in the AEC industry and ask questions about the service they expect vs. service they receive from firms. It’s from these conversations trying to understanding what customers expect in a professional service business, that we adopted our “no problem” customer service attitude several years back. We knew it would distinguish us in the market. The attitude and phrase was already being used internally among ourselves, and we realized that it 2015-09-30 12.09.11really characterized what we were trying to convey as our differentiator to our customers. We want them to have a “no problem” experience when working with us which means we need to have a “no problem” attitude when working with them. “No problem” represents being solution oriented as opposed to problem oriented, and being adaptive and responsive to their needs rather than stuck in our way of doing things or regular processes. It really isn’t our customers’ problem how much effort or complexity it may take to accomplish their need. All they know is it’s “no problem” to us.

Here’s what one customer told us when we asked why he chose to work with us and an example of “no problem” service: “Your team does terrific outreach, and I prefer doing business with people I know and like. Following that, your survey group did very good work for my client. Detailed, available, timely, and, they were complex survey projects.  Your team went above and beyond as an intermediary with a party on the other side of the deal. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you. ~ David Waters, Attorney

How do we stay current on education and market trends to better serve customers?

We keep current on market trends by being out there, being involved and being engaged. We have to be active with our customers, within our industry, and within our profession to hear what people are saying, and we stay plugged into our customer’s business. Being in front of thought leaders, trend setters and information gatherers is also key. But to get there, you have to have a desire to learn and gather that information, be inquisitive and insightful. We also need the unique skills and abilities internally to accomplish the needs of our customersbhcRhodes_may2015_002 and provide “no problem” service.  So when you think about trends, as things change, as our customers’ needs change, or the market demands change, then sometimes skills need to change. At that point, we are reliant on our employees who want to grow their skills, be
learners and take the initiative to grow their own skills. We try to facilitate it by providing funding and time where it aligns with the needs of our customers. Our open office design also enhances education and learning and helps to develop skills by having employees in close proximity with others who can answer their questions right away.  From a broad gage company perspective, we created a tone and environment that reflects the progressive and innovate kind of company that we want to project to our customers. This is just some of what goes on behind the scenes to deliver our customers “no problem” service.

Here’s what one customer told us when we asked why he chose to work with us and is an example of how staying engaged in the community and industry is beneficial. “Our first relationship with BHC RHODES was related to needing inspection services for a KDOT managed project. Additionally, I knew Kevin Honomichl as part of his volunteer service with the City of DeSoto.” ~ Michael Webb, City Manager

To get more information on ideas to transform your office environment, we’ve included the company and contact names of teams who worked on our space design with us.

CBRE – construction management

Hoefer Wysocki Architecture – interior design

Centric – builder

Encompas – workspace culture

Henderson Engineers Inc. – lighting