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After consolidating 161 different helpdesks into four after NHS Property Services was formed in 2013, last year we looked to improve our facilities management services further.

We had four regional facilities management helpdesks - in London, Manchester, Wolverhampton, and Tyne & Wear - which was the root cause of significant inconsistencies in management and operational processes and consequently a poor customer experience.

As well as considering the problems that existed in having regional helpdesks, we reviewed industry best practice to develop our strategy. It was clear to us that a single, centrally-managed helpdesk was the obvious solution to get complete oversight in order to fix the numerous control issues and ultimately, improve customer experience.

In preparation for launch, we held 17 process workshops with colleagues from across the business to journey map and devise unified processes for all tasks carried out by the helpdesk. We also conducted 10 days of induction and training with our new helpdesk advisors which were recruited from a high-calibre, experienced pool of candidates.

The overall aim of the new FM Helpdesk was to make our customers’ lives easier, especially as they are very busy people with great demands on their time, and a need to be able to care for patients in fit-for-purpose environments. In having one central FM Helpdesk, our customers are receiving a high standard of customer service that is now monitored for quality and consistency, and are all following one central set of consistent processes to ensure jobs are logged and executed swiftly. A central location has enabled improved handover between out of hours and in hours helpdesk shifts which in turn has meant priority issues have been well managed on behalf of the customer.