Tag Archives: 24 hour helpdesk

Propertyserve Announced As Finalist In 2015 PFM Awards

Great news! Propertyserve UK has been announced as a finalist in the 2015 PfM Awards – http://tinyurl.com/nr385vt

We’re a finalist in the category of ‘Partners in Expert Services – Property Management’, for the excellent work we are doing with Cushman and Wakefield.

PrintPeter Drabble, head of FM operations for Property and Asset Management at Cushman and Wakefield, said: “This type of outsourcing contract needs to be based on a true partnership, one which is built on trust and that is something we are definitely getting from Propertyserve… The team has worked hard to get under the skin of our business, and to really begin developing relationships and building confidence in their service… All queries are answered promptly and professionally.”

The competition looks tough, but we’re hopeful of a strong result when the awards ceremony takes place.

Roll on the 4th November.

Fingers crossed…

Chris MacDonald, managing director, Propertyserve UK

Propertyserve’s Top Four Strangest Calls

Over the last ten years the staff at Propertyserve have certainly had a wide array of call outs to deal with. From lift entrapments to ceiling leaks, flooded drains to blazing buildings, our helpdesk operators have seen the lot. With over a decade of property maintenance calls, some are bound to push the boundaries of what we’d consider normal requests, however. “I’m used to taking cleaning requests from tenants,” says Tori Nagle, one of our most experienced members of staff, “things like flooded carpets or clearing out entire office floors are pretty common. One day about a year ago, though, I answered the phone to a woman who’d just finished her breakfast and had spilt a bit of her yoghurt on the floor. She wanted us to send out a cleaner on an emergency basis to wipe it up”. With a plethora of great stories from our helpdesk operators, narrowing them down into a blogable list was difficult – but here, in a very vague but certainly not definitive order, are four of our favourite call-out requests of the last ten years.

4. Evening of the Living Dead
Saturday evenings can get fairly busy for our out of hours staff. “The time was about 11 o’clock in the evening on a relatively quiet Saturday night and the phone started ringing,” says Tony Martin. “Our typical calls at this kind of time will be for fire alarm activations or leaks – that sort of thing. I picked up the phone and the guy on the other end was clearly in a bit of a panic. He was quite out of breath and was talking really fast and was difficult to understand at first. Even when I asked him to slow down, I still thought I was mishearing what he was saying. When someone tells you there are zombies running around outside, you kind of do a double take”.

Tony’s hearing was fine, however, as it became apparent that the flustered security guard was genuinely amidst a real-life zombie apocalypse. Left alone overnight the guard had headed outside to carry out one of his hourly patrols only to find his torch trained on a limping, torn-clothed, blood smeared zombie straight out of Evil Dead on the road outside his industrial unit. Somewhat surprised and suspecting a prank, the guard walked on to find several more wandering about and a hoard of hundreds groaning and shuffling over the fence to the next door unit. “It took us a while to realise what was really going on. An events company had organised an overnight zombie escape game in the next door unit and the guard hadn’t been told about it. All these people dressed as zombies were running about all over the place – the poor guy must’ve been terrified!”

3. Trouble in the Pipeline
In her three years at Propertyseve, Vanessa Aldridge has taken her fair share of strange calls. “The best one I took has to be the time I answered the phone to a less-than enthused tenant explaining that he’d lost his favourite ferrets into the pipework of a building we take care of”, she says, “They’d scampered in amongst the pipes that served the building and he couldn’t get them out”. Liaising with the sympathetic Facilities Manager, Vanessa was eventually required to call out the fire brigade to cut into the pipes and release the furry fugitives. “I don’t know if they found them – I hope they did.”

2. Where There’s Smoke…
“Four o’clock in the morning is never a good time for anything,” says Tony Martin, who’d only just recovered from his zombie scare a couple of weeks before. “We’ve had fires reported to us before and when we get them there’s a lot of people than need informing and contractors lining up to carry out remedial repairs once the fire brigade have made the building safe, so when the security guard on the phone told me he’d called 999 and that the emergency services were on their way I knew I was in for a tricky morning.”

Following the set procedure for reporting fires, Tony proceeded to call the Facilities Manager, potential contractors to prepare them for any emergency repair instructions and informed the rest of the helpdesk and management here at Propertyserve. “I had just finished informing the last person on my list when the phone rang again. It was the security guard again sounding utterly miserable. The fire brigade had arrived and located the source of the fire: steam was being generated from the rain falling on the slightly warm lamps outside the building. Apparently the orange glow from the lights made it look like it was ablaze.” While false alarms are a common occurrence at Propertyserve, the security guard’s reaction makes this call stick out in Tony’s mind.

1.       Another One Bites the Dust
Back when the helpdesk was relatively small, Chris MacDonald – now our Managing Director – was working on the helpdesk and had charge of the weekend phone. “About 5 o’clock in the evening I got a call from a distressed woman in a residential property shrieking down the phone that she had a mouse in the kitchen. As I tried to calm her down I arranged for our pest control contractors to attend and they were able to get to her pretty quickly,” explains Chris. “Once they got there they found her perched on top of the worktop in the middle of the room refusing to get down. Our guys didn’t have to look for very long to find the little perpetrator, but what they found wasn’t entirely what they were expecting.

“Instead of an innocent mouse, a small ball of dust was being blown around by the heating fan in the kitchen. The woman had been up on the counter too scared to even look closely enough to realise she was hiding from a piece of fluff.” Although the dust ball was removed humanely and released safely back into the wild, this story doesn’t have an entirely happy ending; after helping the relieved resident down from the kitchen-top the pest control officer headed back downstairs to find his van had been towed for parking illegally!

Jake Jones – Propertyserve Helpdesk

Propertyserve Shortlisted for Another Award!

Click to Vote 240Last week this year’s Academy Award nominations were revealed to the world, and the shortlist includes some fantastic work. Whatever hurdles that may have been stopping you from watching The Grand Budapest Hotel, for example – jump them. Or run around them.  It’s amazing. Nominated for an impressive nine Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Achievement in Directing and Best Original Screenplay, the movie tells the story of how a quirky hotel concierge and his protégé bell-boy came to acquire the hotel they worked and lived in, and the film is certainly worthy of every award for which it’s nominated. To some, a nomination is such an honour that the mere nod recognition granted by the Academy is prize enough to kick-start a career, cement an achievement, even acknowledge a lifetime’s work.

Last week we took great pleasure in finding Propertyserve nominated as a finalist for the Tomorrow’s FM 2015 Awards. Joining us in the shortlist are another 49 stand-out products and services that Tomorrow’s FM magazine have deemed as things facilities management could not live without, and we’re thrilled to be included alongside such highly esteemed company.

To be nominated for such an award really shows us how far we’ve come, and having celebrated our ten year anniversary last summer we’re certainly grateful for the recognition from one of the industry’s top FM magazines. The only thing now that stands between us and the coveted Tomorrow’s FM Award 2015 is the final decision that lies in the hands of the magazine’s readers by way of online vote. The poll is open until March 27th and votes can be cast here on Tomorrow’s FM’s website. Voting is quick and easy – simply follow the link and choose ‘FM Helpdesk – Propertyserve UK’ if you feel that we deserve the prize!

We see this nomination as a sign of things to come and with so many exciting things in the pipeline, 2015 is beginning to look like our most prosperous year yet!

The Signs are Good for 2015

The transition from one year to another presents us with the opportunity to take stock, take a look over our shoulder and then rise onto our tiptoes to catch a glimpse of what’s over the hill.

In terms of both the property market and our own business, both landscapes are currently proving easy on the eye. However, as Michael Fish will testify following the storm of ‘87, forecasts can be wrong. We’re not resting on our laurels; our teams are continuing to work as diligently as ever to ensure we remain at the forefront of helpdesks who are in fact ‘helpful’.

Operating purely in the property and asset management sector, we keep a constant eye on market trends and the views of industry experts. With that in mind, what better way to start this assessment than by giving a brief summary of the market.

2014 was a good year for UK commercial property. The economic recovery coupled with low levels of development has meant that the balance between demand and supply has swung in the favour of landlords indicating that the rental market will see accelerated growth in 2015. London has seen vacancy rates drop to pre-crisis levels with the regions following suit at a predictably lower pace. Manchester in particular stands out in terms of growth in the office sector.

From our perspective there also seems to have been a rise in the number of industrial units and parks changing hands. According to industry experts, the rise in this stock has been largely attributed to the move to online shopping resulting in increased delivery requirements as well as the rise in traditional occupiers, such as builder’s merchants.

So, what does that mean for us? The rise in tenanted property indicates that we will – potentially – have more tenants to handle within our existing client base. It also means that any property management firms without a helpdesk facility will be fighting more fires on a day-to-day basis – with many slowly coming to realise the power of working with an outsourced helpdesk provider. We have already seen the result of this in the market and are speaking to a number of companies of varying sizes who can see the storm coming and are scouring the market for options. We’re delighted to say that early discussions have gone well on all fronts and we’re anticipating a very busy 2015.

As a company, we have also had to make provisions for the anticipated market growth. This has come in a variety of forms, which include:  bolstering our Out of Hours presence to ensure it keeps pace with our impressive In Hours performance –  currently boasting an average pick up time of 3.6 seconds over the past 6 months. We have also reviewed contractor performance and rates to ensure we remain very competitive in the market – our average attendance to a fabric repair emergency in 2014 has been 48 minutes nationally. This is all being achieved whilst proving to be 40% better value than average labour rates in Central London according to contractual independent benchmarking.

At Propertyserve we feel we are prepared to stride into 2015 with our house in good order and a lot to say to the market. 2014 saw significant growth in terms of turnover, client base and our own team. The day Propertyserve opened its doors to the world in 2004, the employees were 75% family (there were four of us!), we now employ over 25 members of staff but the family feel remains as strong as ever. No one is made to work late. No one is made to cover shifts. No one is asked to make cakes. All these things just happen due to having a team who take responsibility, adopt the culture that’s been developed from day one and ultimately want to succeed and help shape their own career paths and futures.

Ian Robertson, Director, Propertyserve UK

Storms & Flooding Force Helpdesk to Operate at ‘FULL TILT’

Propertyserve goes the extra mile

During January and February 2014, Propertyserve UK – a facilities management helpdesk provider – received a whopping 14,154 calls from tenants reporting damage to their properties.

Chris MacDonald, managing director, said: “This represents a 200 per cent increase on call volumes from last year – the majority of those calls attributed to reactive damage – undoubtedly as a result solution of the provide storms and flooding.

“As a company that supports commercial landlords and managing agents that own or manage properties throughout the UK, we have operated at full tilt – and we have had to bring in support staff to manage the workload.”

But how much has this weather brought facilities managers to the fore? The vast majority will have had no opportunity to be proactive, or to plan for upcoming works? Instead, they will have worked tirelessly keeping on top of the damage done.

FM’s and surveyors – across the country – with Propertyserve wind and flood damage are trying to get hold of contractors and tenants in an effort to make safe their properties.

MacDonald adds: “There is an element of panic, which encourages risks being taken when it comes to following health and safety procedures.

“We manage all jobs in a controlled manner, and all contractors sent to site have service already gone through a three tiered health and safety process.”

Propertyserve UK helps to remove the logistical issues and risks associated with maintaining the fabric of the building, using sustainable procurement methods, making costs transparent, whilst reducing the risks associated with CIS, Health & safety and debt liability to the landlord.

The company would argue that having a helpdesk that understands your business, properties and tenants, is vital – even if the property manager can’t be reached. That’s when the helpdesk comes into its own, and property managers can rest assured that their assets are being looked after.