Winner: Applicant to Alumni – Supporting our residents through innovation, Sodexo
Sponsored by: Landsec
Innovation is essential for the student market – a group at the forefront of technological changes. They expect speedy resolution and leading customer service; Sodexo’s Student Living solution at Northumbria University does just that. Having launched in 2014, services have continuously improved, delivering high levels of innovation in customer experience. The past 18 months have been particularly significant, with focus on two key areas:
- Maximo Wando – streamlined solution to log reactive maintenance tasks and provide a ‘one stop shop’ for student information; and
- Northumbria Concierge – digital concierge for residents to engage and explore events and discounts.
Before rolling out Maximo Wando, students previously had to request maintenance jobs in person between Monday and Friday 9am – 5:30pm, which were then logged by the site receptionist and managed by on-site Sodexo staff. Residents weren’t updated on the status of the job or when it would be fixed, and they did not receive any feedback once the job was complete. This has now been resolved.
Rolling out Wando has:
- Reduced the number of jobs being duplicated and logged multiple times;
- Increased transparency of reporting;
- Given residents real-time updates on their request;
- Enabled students to log jobs 24/7 365 days a year;
- Expanded service delivery and made maintenance more efficient.
The second part of the digital solution comes in the form of Northumbria Concierge. This was initially mobilised at Northumbria University in 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic, to supply students who were isolating with food and welfare boxes. The service has since been rolled out to all 2,600 residents across the six buildings in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
The concierge service enables students to:
- Book tickets to big stadium events;
- Arrange holidays;
- Attend sports matches;
- Request additional accommodation cleaning; and
- Ask for kitchen and bedding packs.
The Northumbria Concierge solution has acted as a digital companion for students to transition to an independent life with financial autonomy, socialise and thrive in a new environment. Available via app, web, phone or WhatsApp, the concierge service has received an 80% member satisfaction rate with approximately 1 hour saved per request.
Best practice learning
Sodexo commissioned an asset validation survey and a location survey to help digitise a large proportion of its estate and relevant OMs.
Based on feedback, it has adapted the offering to better suit the market. Maximo Wando – an off-the-shelf product that usually sits in a corporate setting – needed to be adjusted to the student audience, aligning location data and asset information to ensure students requesting jobs did so in the correct space against the same asset.
Some of the wording in the apps, for example, needed to change to reflect students’ understanding of what was being asked of them. A case in point is the use of ‘Title’, which students thought referred to Mr, Mrs, Ms when it actually referred to the details of the reactive maintenance request.
“The Wando solution, like Concierge, streamlines and makes mundane tasks (such as logging maintenance requests) easier and supports proactive, transparent communication.”
“In a corporate setting any piece of innovation that provides an easier way to log jobs has to be fully embraced. Easier way of logging and tracking jobs will convert into more requests and a better management of the area people are living / working.”