Excellence in Customer Experience 2022


Eric Wright Facilities Management’s Variation App

Sponsored by: Thomson UK

Excellence in Customer Experience 2022

For this category, winners EWFM created a ‘Variation App’ for Community Health Partnerships (CHP), one of its Local Improvement Finance Trust (LiFT) clients.

LiFT is a form of private sector investment in public sector buildings, similar in nature to PFI arrangements. With LiFT, all changes must be recorded to comply with stringent contract requirements. Termed the ‘variation process’, it involves the input of multiple stakeholders across various organisations.

It’s also a process that comes with challenges, in particular stakeholders often unable to see a ‘single version of truth’ (SVoT). Stakeholders are known to maintain their own spreadsheets to monitor the status of a particular change. This lack of process clarity causes friction and distrust between parties, breaking down any notion of collaborative working and affecting the customer’s perception of service.

EWFM’s Variation App provides CHP with a streamlined system and a clear audit trail of project status:

  • variations can be progressed easily as notifications are sent to stakeholders with assigned tasks, informing them of actions required
  • all contract stakeholders are able to use the app for real-time information on variations, allowing for better communication and strengthened relationships.

Results gleaned

The App has ultimately made customers’ lives easier and significantly improved levels of trust.

At time of award entry, 309 variations had been processed through the app, indicating the extent to which it has become a well-utilised tool with communication and customer satisfaction improved.

Prior to app deployment, each key stakeholder would hold its own version of a Variation Tracker. This led to an inordinate amount of time taken up in monthly CRM meetings to discuss progress. The app’s provision of a SVoT saves each business a large amount of time.

Due to the nature of LiFT contracts, it is not possible to conduct customer satisfaction surveys as with commercial contracts, but along with general comments from CHP talking of ‘fewer grumbles’, the firm has received thank you emails, positive feedback and compliments.

Best practice learning point

There is much to commend a trusted SVoT. By providing clear and accurate data, with a real-time audit trail of variations, EWFM’s client CHP has been able to provide clear communications on the status of variations. This has enabled it to manage earlier frustrations and ease any friction and distrust between key stakeholders. In driving clarity of process, the company has been able to remove the extra pressure that the original convoluted process placed on all parties.

Key quotes

‘Moving from paper variations to an app has made the process much more organised. You can check the progress of variations easily and all the information is in one place so any party can have a real-time view.

‘The notification alerts on the progress of a variation allow us to effectively manage tasks – making the end-to-end process more efficient. Being able to look at the status of a variation and the ability to allow each party to add comments or queries at any stage of the process saves time emailing the relevant party back and forth.

‘This [app] will really make a massive difference to the workload of the Tenant Liaison Managers and make things much easier for us all.’