Performance Based Contracts: Defining Client Satisfaction

Defining client satisfaction sounds easy, right?

More traditional Performance Based Contracts usually define client satisfaction to a reasonable degree, with just enough wiggle room to make all parties work together to solve issues.

In the best case, Performance Based Contracts clearly state what will satisfy your client, such as clean the restrooms 3 times a day, police the grounds twice per shift, perform preventive maintenance quarterly, etc.  They will include the clause “to client’s satisfaction”, but there are clear guidelines for performance.

In the worst case, Modified Performance Based Contracts do not define client satisfaction for most areas, and have clauses that state work will be done “to client’s satisfaction” as a substitute for real performance definitions.

Modified Performance Based Contracts place a heavy burden on the service provider, because “client satisfaction” can change frequently, sometimes day to day.  As a result, the service provider is unsure how to mobilize staff to meet client goals, and the client feels that the service provider isn’t performing adequately.  Over time, this can create an undesirable relationship between the service provider and the client, compounding issues.

Understanding how to overcome the challenges of a Modified Performance Based Contract is critical for the service provider AND the client.

So how does the service provider begin to provide targeted services that are appreciated by the client?

Document what you are currently doing – Clearly understand the value you deliver.  Once this is achieved, meet with your client and explain how you are achieving “satisfaction”.  A client worth keeping will tell you what needs to be changed to better satisfy their needs, which usually includes some form of Corrective Action Plan and Preventive Action Plan.  You may feel that you don’t have resources to meet these needs, and you will probably have to realign resources before too long.

Document progress towards your objectives – Act on the items you discussed with your client, but clearly document what you are achieving and also document your struggles.  When your client sees an honest effort to meet their stated needs, they should be more willing to discuss how to overcome your challenges.  If you can show your client that you are doing a proactive job, their confidence in your ability to deliver “client satisfaction” will increase.  Don’t be shy – ask for client feedback throughout this process.

Confirm and present a plan – Confirm what you have learned while documenting your progress, and present a plan to fix any issues that could not be fully resolved.  If you have included your client in your progress, there should be no surprises at this point.  Clients will be more inclined to be reasonable and grant requests that improve service if you have done a diligent job up to this point.

This may seem like a lot of work, because it is.  However, these three steps can be simplified using Facility Maintenance Software.  Examples of what can be achieved by using some of the better software systems include:

Work Plans
Service Delivery Plan
Preventive Action Plan
Service Request Management
Work Performance Documentation
Quality Performance Documentation
Employee Performance Documentation

Facility Maintenance Software can help you identify areas of opportunity, improve quality & consistency, and prove that objectives have been met.  The right system can help you clearly define “client satisfaction”.