How to establish long-term client engagement

Analytics tools and data analysis allows for successful, long-term client engagement.

By Brice Kosnik, BuildPulse December 22, 2017

Moving away from project-based work and toward recurring revenue and long-term client engagement is a top priority for consultants and service-oriented companies. Thinking of your commissioning business as an ongoing partnership between the advisor and client can help grow recurring revenue streams by providing continuous value.

Analytics tools help consultants provide long-term client value

Brad White, a principal with energy efficiency and engineering consultancy company SES Consulting, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, states that there are two factors shaping the long-term value that commissioning providers (CxPs) and energy consultants can bring to their clients:

  • The emergence of tools that liberate data from the building automation system (BAS).
  • Tools that allow consultants to analyze that data.

This new wave of powerful analytics tools enable CxPs to transition their business beyond one-off projects to ongoing partnerships that place an emphasis on building long-term value and relevance with clients.

“Looking back 10 years or so, the BAS had the capability to get data. The problem was that there was very little we could do with that data. There were no tools available,” White said. “We would pull up the 2-week trend logs at virtually every point in the building to figure out what’s going on. You miss a lot of stuff when you do that.

“The big change is having tools that are built to take in a bunch of data and then properly analyze that.”

How can CxPs best leverage data from these platforms and grow revenue? The answer is through improved tactical execution and more strategic high-level communication and consultancy.

Help clients remotely

Analytics tools provide ongoing insight into building health and allow CxPs to better understand trends to improve building operations, reduce potential capital outlay, and lower energy expenditures. This proactive approach is more efficient and more solutions-oriented than traditional methods that involve a site visit and a manual review of building systems.

Being able to proactively flag issues before an enormous and unexpected energy bill arrives, for example, allows CxPs to establish themselves as crucial participants in their clients’ business operations, which builds credibility and trust in the relationship.

It’s impossible to stay on top of a site’s equipment performance continuously with a manual commissioning process that depends only on the CxP’s site visits. A cloud-based analytics platform enables remote monitoring and enables CxPs to deliver continuous value regardless of team members’ locations.

Benefits for facilities teams

Facilities teams are often short-staffed and lacking in analytics expertise, so a technology solution should be user-friendly and intuitive—without a need to sift through overly complicated data sets. When you are able to prioritize issues and automate at least part of the facility team’s workloads through analytics tools, you can help them break the cycle of reactive maintenance so they can achieve their goals.

Evaluating building analytics solutions

CxPs need to ask themselves the following questions when considering building analytics solutions for their business:

  • Will this offering provide a measurable roadmap of solutions for my clients, based on real-time data and ongoing analytics?
  • Does it provide the ability to set up both one-time and custom projects?
  • Does it integrate and normalize existing and new BAS so clients can see all of their data in one place?
  • Does it integrate easily into client projects, which can be expensive and complicated depending on the project scope?
  • Will this solution help with my firm’s ability to provide long-term strategic counsel for my clients?
  • Is this offering cost-palatable to the market? Does it make the client’s investment worthwhile?

Customer retention is always less expensive than new business acquisitions. Building analytics platforms enable CxPs to deliver a higher-value proposition by more efficiently investigating facilities performance, improving client operations with real-time monitoring, and making a tangible impact on a client’s business.

Brice Kosnik is the CEO at BuildPulse and has been working with BAS for more than 7 years. He left his position as president of a BAS services company to create BuildPulse after realizing his customers were struggling with energy and building performance.