Living in Houston, I have come to expect preparing for hurricanes and when the inevitable storm does hit Houston, we are prepared to ride it, and its aftereffects, out. This winter, Mother Nature had a different plan for Houston when a forecasted “cold snap” quickly turned into a catastrophic winter storm that left millions without power and water for over a week, including my family.

Our teams go above and beyond to support clients

And it wasn’t just homes and families that were impacted. For over a week bursting pipes, building and facility power outages and rolling blackouts caused considerable damage to many of the client sites we provide facilities management services to. Even finding basics, like water, was made difficult with supply chain issues and unpassable road conditions, but our Sodexo teams figured out how to secure and deliver two trailer truck loads of bottled water to our Chevron client’s employees in Houston. They also provided hundreds of meals to refinery crews in Pasadena and repaired damages to facilities across the state.

Despite the challenges our own team members faced personally, it is this kind of commitment to our clients that shows just how Sodexo differentiates itself, not only by delivering, but excelling in the provision of, ongoing service and support. 

Building supportive partnerships 

I have also seen the power of our teams service and support to clients with our recent retention of PX Saltend, a cluster of chemical and renewable energy businesses in the UK. 

We have been delivering a range of IFM and food services for this client since 2012 and a few years ago I was able to visit the site and meet the teams. Last October, the contract went out to bid with a request to re-evaluate our food and IFM offers. As strategic business partners, we took a fresh look at the entirety of the offering. This process allowed us to showcase the savings we could help the client achieve, all the while ensuring the sustainability of services. Our service expertise and long-standing supportive partnership with the client were what differentiated us from competitors.

People are the key to success

Our efforts to retain PX Saltend, Chemical Parks remind me of a personal experience presenting a technical proposal to BP in Aberdeen, Scotland more than 25 years ago. The executive put aside all the technical aspects of the proposal that I had spent days preparing and just wanted to understand who was going to be supporting and servicing the project. He understood clearly that it was the people providing the service and support who were the key to the success of the project. It was true then and it is still true now. 

Why we are focusing on ongoing service and support

Since then many clients have given me different reasons why they would choose a service provider for a project – often price, technology or new products were provided as reasons. It is sometimes very hard to understand what clients REALLY want.

Relying on data is more accurate than feelings, hunches, intuition or even a single conversation with client to make strategic decisions. In Energy and Resources, we have based our new strategy on the data collected from over 500 clients from around the world. This data has told us that focusing on our top client value driver, ongoing service and support, will improve client satisfaction (value), and by reducing focus on those things that don’t add value, it will allow us to reduce costs, be more competitive and improve margins. While the data tells us what we are focused on, it is our people who are the key to delivering it.  

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This article was published for the first time on the personal LinkedIn account of Simon Seaton, CEO, Energy and Resources, Worldwide, Sodexo.

September 10, 2021

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