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RealService, the customer experience consultancy for the real estate industry, is delighted to welcome Justine Johnson in the role of Associate Director, with special responsibility for creating new products and services, and business development.

Justine joins RealService from advertising company Grey London, where she held the post of Group Business Director, working with a wide range of brands including Volvo, VW, Virgin Atlantic, Bose Global and GSK.

Howard Morgan, RealService Founder and CEO, said: “Justine joins RealService at a time of significant opportunity for the firm. With 23 years’ experience in CX insight, training, and consultancy, we are ideally placed to help the real estate industry through a period of dramatic change. We’re not resting on our laurels and excited to be attracting the next generation of talent to the company.”

Louise Freethy, RealService Director and COO, said: “Winning and keeping occupier customers has never been more important to our clients. Justine’s experience gained working with blue-chip companies around the world will be immensely valuable, enabling us to bring customer experience solutions from within and outside the property industry.”

Justine said she was looking forward to her new role.

“I was looking to join a company with a strong sense of purpose operating in a sector where I can make a real difference and believe that I’ve found that in RealService,” she said.

“The real estate industry is undergoing a revolution in the way it thinks about its customers. I’ve seen this kind of transformation happen elsewhere and am excited to have the chance to bring my experience to RealService clients.”

This announcement follows Howard’s recent appointment as an Honorary Professor at the UCL Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction. Howard will continue to provide strategic consulting advice to RealService clients while pursuing his interests in real estate education and as a trustee of a mental health charity.

Louise, who recently celebrated 18 years with RealService, will be extending her leadership responsibilities in the coming months as the firm implements its succession plan.

Director Sue Flatto is to become an adviser to RealService from May 1, stepping back from her day-to-day involvement in client projects.

 

About RealService

RealService helps our clients to improve leasing, retention and loyalty by creating a better experience for occupier customers. Our services include customer insight, customer experience consulting, skills training and networking.

 

For more information contact:

Howard Morgan, Founder & MD

howard.morgan@real-service.co.uk

 

Eerie silence

I ventured into London last week for only the second time since March. There was an eerie silence in the heart of the City of London.  Working from home has sapped the lifeblood out of the financial district. My gut feeling is that we are witnessing a once in a lifetime step change in the way we work. I also think that it’s as futile for office investors to see this is a temporary blip as it was for retail property investors to believe that online shopping would have only a minimal effect on our high streets and shopping centres.

For those whose careers have been built on building offices in the City, it’s only natural to have self-belief in their products. Like me, you’ll have read the interviews which put forward the line that 1. We are social creatures 2. Teams can’t work well when separated 3. Young people need to learn by listening 4. Sandwich bars deserve our support. ….so it’s only a matter of time before the problem goes away and we return to the way things were.

I liken this self-belief to that shown by shopping centre owners who confidently told consumers that there’s no substitute for being able to try on a dress or shoes in store. Meanwhile the percentage of online sales has grown year on year. Retailers saw that the future was multi-channel long before shopping centre owners. For shopping centre owners, being invested in just one channel has proven a scary place to be.

Blended working

Flexible (or blended) working is the workplace equivalent of multi-channel retailing. It recognizes that one solution doesn’t fit all and that each business needs to think through what’s the best blend of workplace solutions for its customers, suppliers and employees. For some businesses that answer could still be the 9 – 5 traditional office but for the majority it will be a blend of office/hotel/cafe/business centre and home working.

Technology is enabling the change in workstyle with high-speed broadband and low-cost software tools like Zoom and Teams making it possible to work from anywhere. Covid-19 has added another reason not to commute to the heart of our cities, but the underlying trend towards flexible working is not new.

If we accept that office real estate’s biggest competitor is now the ability to work from anywhere, then the question for owners is “what can we do to compete?”. At RealService we’re excited by the opportunity to work with our clients to better understand the desired workstyle of employees. We are already seeing a move away for the formulaic and to the creation of a new and exciting range of products and services which give companies and their employees the workstyle they want.

For those financially and emotionally invested in the old model, this will require a transformational change in thinking.

So how ready is your business to change its thinking?

Real estate has a fundamental health problem but how ready are we to face up to this?

We can learn a lot from the Stages of Change model used by the medical professions.

https://rcni.com/hosted-content/rcn/first-steps/stages-of-change-model

The Stages of Change model describes the different stages we go through when we want to change something in our lives. This readily translates into the world of business

  1. Pre-contemplation: This is where we’re not thinking seriously about making a change or we don’t really see it as a problem.
  1. Contemplation: We’re now beginning to think about our business models and we’re beginning to see that maybe there is a problem that’s affecting our long-term business health.
  1. Preparation/determination: By now, we’ve realised that something needs to change, and we’re ready to make changes – but maybe we don’t know exactly how, so we look for help.
  1. Action: We now know what we want to change, we’ve researched how we can change it, and we’ve got a plan to put into action.
  1. Maintenance: We’ve got to a position where we can sustain our new approach
  1. Relapse: we may revert to our old ways when the market begins to strengthen or it just gets too difficult

Where is your business at today?

The starting point for real estate business leaders is to ask where are we today in terms of our readiness for change? It’s time to be honest. Do we have the energy and resolve to change? Do we have the clarity of customer insight and vision to take action?

In this new series of blogs, we’ll look at ten strategies to accelerate your business through the change model.

 

Howard Morgan is Founder & MD RealService, customer experience consultancy

 

www.real-service.co.uk

 

To discuss any of these themes contact Howard at howard.morgan@real-service.co.uk