Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres


Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres is BCSC’s thought-leadership document on how retail property delivers customer experience and care to its customers whether these are shoppers, retailers or other stakeholders.
standards in customer care in shopping centres and retail destinations look and feel. The case studies show what steps can and are being taken by the best in the industry to ensure that they deliver a fantastic customer experience. Ultimately this is about giving the public safe, secure and enjoyable places to work, shop and take their leisure.

With the Mary Portas Review into the future of our high streets still fresh in our minds, there has never been a better time to reexamine the role that customer service has to play in shaping our towns and cities and perhaps more crucially, contributing to their economic survival and to the wellbeing of their residents. This new edition brings to life through a series of current, best practice case studies and revised checklists, how the highest

Customer expectations have also moved on during this period. The success of the ACE Awards is proof that shopping centres have embraced the power of customer service and the benefits it can bring.

The world has changed enormously since the first edition of this guide. The worst economic recession since the 1920s, an explosion in online shopping and rapid rise in the use of social media and new technology, has had a profound impact on retailing businesses.

When the guide was first written in 2005, it focused attention on the role that customer service has to play in our shopping centres, high streets and retail parks. It was a precursor to the BCSC Achieving Customer Excellence Award programme (ACE), which has proven to be an important catalyst for improvement within our industry.

I would like to thank members of the BCSC’s Customer Experience Committee, ACE Awards judges and BCSC members from across our industry for their time and expertise in assisting RealService in putting this invaluable guide together.

This guide also challenges us to think ahead about the way service will evolve as our industry responds to the fast-moving economic, social and technological changes taking place. It is a crucial read for everyone working in our field.

Peter Drummond BCSC President BDP , Chief Executive

Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres
Researched and written by: Howard Morgan Heather Purchase Sue Flatto Danielle Sanderson RealService Kingsbridge House 130 Marsh Road Pinner Middlesex HA5 5LX

w: t: 020 3393 9603 ISBN: 1 897958 54 4 © RealService 2012

RealService would like to thank the following members of the project steering group for their support throughout this study: Lance Stanbury, Mall Management Solutions / Andrew McMillan, Engaging Service / Davinder Jhamat, BCSC.


RealService would also like to thank the BCSC Educational Trust for its contribution to the study and to Dan Innes of Innesco for his involvement on its behalf.

The text of this publication may not be reproduced nor may talks or lectures based on material contained within the document be given without the written consent of RealService. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material included in this publication can be accepted by the authors or the publishers.


INTRODUCTION 1 CREATING A SERVICE CULTURE – Are you all singing from the same song sheet?

1 6



– British Land: Personality makeover – Service culture: Scorecard 9

2 UNDERSTANDING YOUR CUSTOMERS – Mindreading for beginners

– Research methods – Gunwharf Quays: Getting to know you – Understanding customers: Scorecard 14

– Retailer relationships – PRUPIM: Strengthening ties – Supplier relationships – Jackson Square: Keeping you security team secure – The Mall Pavilions: Cleaners are key staff – Community relationships – The Kingdom shopping centre: Inspiring the community – Retailer relationships: Scorecard – Supplier relationships: Scorecard – Community relationships: Scorecard 38

3 PEOPLE AND MANAGEMENT – Power to the people

6 PERFORMANCE MEASUREMENT – What gets measured gets improved

– Hammerson: Motivating retailers – People and management: Scorecard 18

– Capital shopping centres: Improvement by measurement – Performance measurement: Scorecard – What is your total score? 41

4 THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE – The journey is the treasure

– The customer journey – ACE Awards – The Oracle: How to be a Top Ace – Kingfisher Shopping Centre: Leading by example – Westfield Derby: Ensuring happy families – Communication: Scorecard – Journey: Scorecard – Facilities: Scorecard – Experience: Scorecard


– The Brewery: The Facebook revolution – CrownGate: Quick Response – Discounting that engages retailers 46



This update of the 2005 BCSC Customer Care Guide re-examines the research conducted by Industry Forum Service. The 2005 research programme identified elements of customer care best practice in shopping centres which companies and employees could embrace in order to improve their performance. The guide has been updated now to take account of the dramatic changes that have taken place in the world and in the shopping centre industry since the first edition was published. For example, recession combined with an explosion in online shopping and increase in the use of social media and new technology, has had a profound impact on retailing businesses across the board. The role that the high street has to play in shaping our society has been heavily scrutinised. As an industry we have become more knowledgeable and experienced about the power of customer service and the benefits it can bring. The 2005 research included interviews with retailers, shopping centre managers, property companies, town centre managers, consumers and customer service experts within the sector. In addition a number of structured visits to shopping centres were carried out to develop the customer journey approach. The majority of the original research focused on the aspects of the shopping experience beyond the retail stores themselves. This update continues the approach outlined above. While this guide recognises the importance that aspects such as shopping centre design and retailer mix have on the customer experience, we continue to focus on the elements that shopping centre management are able to directly influence.

The examination has involved:

• exploring perspectives on best practice with shopping centre management teams, industry experts and consultants • drawing on the extensive customer research conducted by RealService on behalf of shopping centre owners and managers, and • lessons from members of the RealService Best Practice Group. • expert contributions from the BCSC Customer Experience Committee members

• conducting interviews with BCSC ACE Awards winners and judges


(A list of contributors is shown in the Acknowledgements section at the back of this guide.) APPROACH The underlying principle of this guide can be summarised by this simple formula;

In other words, great customer service is the output of clarity of understanding about customers’ needs and the ability to respond and deliver a responsive service every time.

Customer = service

customer focus + operational excellence

Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres


inspiring leaders who promote change. Together that makes customer service. These people communicate a clear vision and operate by a strong set of values that they share with their staff • have values that appeal to customers and staff. They are always looking to learn from their customers and try to anticipate and respond to their changing demands. 2 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . value for money and service. like Pret A Manger and Apple have the following characteristics in common: • they are led by visionary. operating in a way that lets staff take pride in their business and makes customers happy to buy from them • unlock the potential of their people. Research by the Institute of Customer Service shows that the top 10 companies rated by the general public for great customer service are: Amazon (92) Marks & Spencer (food) (87) Ambulance Service (87) First Direct (86) John Lewis (86) Fire Service (86) Boots (85) Companies like John Lewis and others renowned for their service culture. They see that future success depends on constant improvement and innovation Source: 2012 UK Customer Satisfaction Index in brackets – max 100 • know their customers. The chapters in this guide reflect these common characteristics and follow the structure of the 2005 guide. Underpinning each of these organisations whether they be in the public or private sector. They focus on meeting customer needs. making them feel valued and encouraging them to contribute to the business Virgin Holidays (85) SAGA Holidays (85) Marks & Spencer (non-food) (85) • promote new ideas and ways of working. For the shopping centre industry. It is fascinating to see the fire and ambulance services listed alongside retailers such as Amazon and John Lewis. We illustrate with case studies and practical checklists the areas that customer focused organisations typically excel at. and • try to exceed their customers’ expectations. traditional or online retailers is an obsessional focus on the customer and operational excellence. choice. retailers like Amazon have raised the bar of what customers expect in terms of speed. they put it right quickly and without fuss (operational excellence).Introduction Take a moment to think about the organisations that have the best reputation for customer service. Have you noticed that they seem to be one step ahead of you and have just the right product or service when you need it (customer focus)? They also seem to deliver the product with great skill and if things do go wrong. They place great emphasis on continually improving the quality of the products and services they provide. The best businesses develop their employees.

Creating a service culture – Are you all singing from the same song sheet? 2. Considering how to establish expectations which are not met and where expectations can be exceeded is fundamental in establishing key action points.The areas covered are: 1. The future 3. Some customer expectations may be unrealistic and you will need to manage expectations to prevent dissatisfaction Introduction CUSTOMER SERVICE BASICS Before we explore these areas in detail. Recovered customers have been shown to have more loyalty. (2007). Stakeholder relationships – Do unto others… 7. • meeting expectations – meeting expectations creates customer satisfaction but this in itself does not develop customer loyalty • recovering when expectations are not met – people and processes must be in place to collect feedback when expectations are not met. Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 3 . Harvard Business Review.1 Figure 2 demonstrates the recall of a consumer to their ‘experience’. C. it is worth reflecting on some basics about what makes and breaks the customer relationship. Christopher Meyer and André Schwager define customer experience as ‘the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a company’. and • understanding expectations – take time to research and explore your customers’ expectations of your company and your shopping centre. Performance measurement – What gets measured gets improved 8. A. There are sometimes mistakes or failures in a service which lead to a Consumer reaction Unmet Dissatisfaction Expectation Met Neutral Surprise Delight Exceeded Satisfaction The diagram illustrates graphically the consumer reaction to not-meeting. People and management – Power to the people 5. once recovered. MEETING CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS Figure 1 illustrates the consumer reaction to met and unmet expectations. Key to delivering customer expectations is: Figure 1 CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE The focus of attention among the leading thinkers on the subject of customer service is towards what creates a great customer experience. pp. • exceeding expectations – consistently exceeding expectations develops loyalty. 116-126. Understanding Customer Experience. The customer experience – The journey is the treasure 6. Social media and technology – Watch the birdie Each section is supported with a scorecard/s enabling you to rate your customer service. 1 Meyer. 85. meeting and exceeding expectations. and Schwager. Understanding your customers – Mindreading for beginners 4.

or at least co-exist. so that you can measure how well your centre or your company is performing: Fully achieved score 2 points – if the best practice is already in place and fully implemented Partially achieved Not started score 1 point – if the best practice is being implemented but still work in progress score 0 points – if this is a new best practice to you and you have not started to implement it. friends and family (the negative multiplier affect). 2. sometimes called the ‘WOW’ factor. Implementing best practice Unhappy Customer Figure 2 Recover Recall Emotional attachment OUCH! WOW! Memory Forget Bad Good Experience 4 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . In the middle. A strong recall of a bad experience creates an unhappy customer and one who is likely to spread his/her dissatisfaction to colleagues. Best practice seeks to identify these early by getting the customer to provide feedback in order that changes can be made. A scoring system with more detailed and action oriented checklists. A very happy customer is similarly likely to spread the message to his/her colleagues. with the best online retailers. More case studies from within the shopping centre industry for readers to learn and be inspired by. OUCH! A strong recall of a very good experience is often caused by a ‘delighter’. We have responded to feedback from these audiences about the first edition of the guide by introducing: 1. HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE This guide has been written with the specific needs of shopping centre management teams in mind.Introduction bad customer experience. We hope this will be a practical guide for you. The graph shows the recall to an event relative to the nature of the experience. The challenge in the shopping centre industry today is how to deliver a customer experience that is not just better than the shopping centre in the next town or city but how to compete. We also believe that it has wider value and will serve to help all those involved in the management of our towns and cities. there is little recall of an average satisfactory experience.

To download the full suite of WHAT DO I DO NEXT? We suggest that you use the guide in the following ways: • Conduct research to find out how the customers ( Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 5 .bcsc. • Use the guide as part of a training programme to create and motivate customer champions and to energise the process of continuous improvement in customer • Study the case studies and discuss these with your teams – what can you learn and apply in your own centre or town? • Compare and score your processes and best practices using the self-evaluation checklist provided. retailers and other stakeholders) perceive the product/service offer of your shopping centre. please visit www.Introduction As with all self-assessment toolkits it is better to be honest with yourself. • Identify the key elements of customer care on which to focus your business in the next 12 months. • Carry out an audit process and mystery shopping exercise to test the physical attributes of your shopping centre and the performance levels of your staff using the BCSC Customer Experience Committee’s Audit Questionnaire as used in the judging process for the ACE Awards. www. These self-assessment scorecards are designed to get you thinking about the way you implement best practice in your shopping centre or portfolio.

Managing Director. It will also reassure your customers who will know exactly what they can expect from your organisation. It is about defining what your service culture looks and feels like. By 2009 this had risen to 73% with the company being recognised as ‘Landlord of the Year’ by the Property Managers Association (PMA). speak and behave. from a mere ‘also-ran’ in the ACE Awards in 2008 to overall winner three years later. cannot be turned on like a tap whereas you can copy a great product you cannot copy a great service culture. If you do not have a customer-focused culture you cannot provide great service. breathe and act in accordance with the service culture every moment of every day. stating that it creates competitive advantage by ensuring that the company and the individuals within it ‘do the right thing’ – enhancing its reputation and making it a partner of choice for occupiers. just 42% of top retailers rated British Land’s overall performance as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Having a shared and clearly understood culture in your organisation will enable your staff to know exactly what is expected of them – how they should look. Chris Grigg. For example. Culture. British Land takes its corporate responsibility and sustainability agenda very seriously. a service culture has to be built through leadership and to permeate an entire organisation. however. It is also about measuring the success of your culture – for example. do your customers feel you are living up to your values? Are the performance targets set out in your service strategy being met? The case study in Chapter 4 shows how a complete change in culture turned The Oracle. In 2005.Chapter Creating a service culture Are you all singing from the same song sheet? Great service flows from culture. To achieve consistently high and enduring service standards. whether you describe your retailers as ‘tenants’ or ‘customers’. Adopting a service culture. organisations that score highest for customer satisfaction are also recognised for having service cultures which are alive within the organisation. 1 The following British Land case study details its transformation from a traditional to customerfocused landlord following a determined shift in culture over a number of years. economic and social impacts is central to the way we do business and to delivering value for our shareholders. says: “Managing our environmental. Their people live. core values and mission statement. does not stand on its own – it is part of a wider strategy which embraces corporate responsibility and sustainability. As previously highlighted. While this does not have to be written down. John Lewis and Apple are great examples of this in the world of retailing.” 6 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . however. it is frequently captured by means of a service strategy. Reading. Our research for this guide has reaffirmed that developing a service culture is not just about the language you use – for example.

CASE STUDY British Land’s transformation from traditional to customer-focused landlord can be traced back to 2005 with the arrival of Stephen Hester as the new chief executive. Retailers valued British Land’s efforts to provide service charge transparency. service charge management and agent licence for alterations. The perception was that British Land was “operating in a bubble. through careful monitoring. “The upshot was that we became very focused on providing value for money. Over the following 12-18 months British Land was being told by its retailers that they wanted better value for money from the service charge and other occupancy costs.” A repeat retailer survey in 2007 revealed that British Land had made big strides in improving customer satisfaction with 70% of retailers giving a rating of ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. the property management team on the retail side was expanded. hoping it would go away. They spoke of good working relationships and how they appreciated British Land’s commitment to transparency. Snoxall says: “We needed to consolidate so that we could better manage our agents’ performance and provide consistency of service standards across our portfolio. which set out British Land’s performance requirements in areas such as response levels. This resulted in a reduction of service charge costs of 18% at flagship centre Meadowhall. At the start only half of agents were delivering budgets on time. As a result. Sheffield. As a result British Land worked with a number of other big landlords and retailers in a scheme spearheaded by Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green to reduce service charge costs. however what they really wanted was a reduction in service charge costs. transparency and value for money. Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 7 . British Land started to reduce the number of managing agents it used. however. to instil a customer focused ethos throughout the organisation. providing support for its managing agents. Head of the Business Group. Its response in 2009 was to listen and try to solve the problem. Hester took the view that no business could be successful financially long term without listening to its customers and understanding their needs. Creating a service culture The first job was to draw up a Service Commitment. understand their issues and identify opportunities. British Land – Personality makeover The feedback prompted British Land to strengthen its relationship management programme by introducing account holders whose role was to develop relationships with key retailers. British Land also began to engage more with the PMA to understand retailer issues. this had risen to 100%. Around the same time. “We started to issue British Land statements for service charges – prior to that the agents had all issued their own and brought standards in line with the RICS Service Charge Code. Retailers. Cultural change was needed at British Land with Justin Snoxall.” adds Snoxall. In 2005 British Land also conducted a customer satisfaction survey of its top retail directors which showed that only 42% rated British Land’s overall performance as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Within a year. and a decrease of 13% across the portfolio. The 2009 retailer survey showed that retailer satisfaction with British Land had risen again to 73%. We introduced Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for our agents in areas such as responsiveness. particularly in identifying business opportunities and understanding when an occupier needed more space. This coincided with the acquisition of Pillar Property. which had already undergone a process of agent consolidation. protected by its managing agents”. felt that British Land was not putting the same effort into property management as it was lettings. Before the cultural change British Land would have deflected their call to its managing agents and avoided the issue.

guidelines and targets for energy use. travel and sustainability? Do you help and encourage centre staff. retailers and shoppers to contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of the centre? Do you make use of technology to improve sustainability. suppliers and the wider community? Find out whether you have a corporate responsibility policy Make yourself familiar with its goals and targets Have the mission and values been effectively communicated to you and your colleagues? Draw up and implement an action plan to help achieve these goals Do you have a published environmental policy with clear standards. water-harvesting and half-flush options for toilets? Do you provide recycling facilities and encourage retailers and customers to make use of them? Do you have an electric car-charging point? Total points score Total score 8 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . for example sensor-lighting. water use.Service culture – Scorecard SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts The improvement of customer satisfaction is set as a priority and led from the top of the organisation BEST PRACTICE CHECKLIST Find out who is responsible for customer service strategy in your organisation Customer care objectives are Make yourself familiar with the customer service goals of your company and/or shopping centre clearly communicated to all members of staff and suppliers Create a communication plan to share your goals and targets The organisation has identified who are its stakeholders and why they matter to the business Are you clear about whom your stakeholders are? Prepare a stakeholder map or chart which shows how each of these relate to your business Find out the mission statement and values of your organisation Obtain a copy of the strategy and think what this means for your part of the organisation The organisation has a mission statement that emphasises the importance of customer service and has identified the values it wants to live by The organisation is a responsible corporate citizen The organisation is environmentally responsible Prepare an action plan showing how you aim to maximise stakeholder satisfaction Is the mission statement clear about the importance of customer service? Have the mission and values been effectively communicated to your stakeholders including retailers. automatic taps. waste management.

it is also retailer. local government. Understanding the needs of each stakeholder or customer group is vital as each plays an important part in the success of your shopping centre. and other local partners Peer s an dI Investors and Analysts From individual shareholders to major corporate investors and analysts nd us t ry s tion cia so As Customers Retail and office occupiers and prospective occupiers – plus our customers’ customers and employees Staff We employ a relatively small team of around 200 people Suppliers Including our property management teams around the UK (managing agents) and project teams (e. supplier.g. Together these are often referred to as ‘stakeholders’.com/647-stakeholder-engagement h c Pa r tn ers NG Os Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 9 . Industry best practice has moved on since the 2005 edition and it is now widely recognised that for shopping centres. community groups. investor. staff member. your service strategy is likely to lack focus and could fail to deliver as different parts of your organisation strive to satisfy different customers.Chapter Understanding your customers At the heart of any successful strategy to manage satisfaction is the ability to listen and respond to the customer which earlier we called ‘customer focus’ . the customer does not just mean 2 Mindreading for beginners shopper. local community and one of many special interest groups. Without a clear answer. contractor. building contractors and trade contractors) R e es ar Source: www. architects. But who is the customer? When creating a service strategy for your organisation. An example of best practice is British Land’s stakeholder map as follows: Cen tra lG ov t en m n er Communities People who live near to our assets.britishland. this is the first and most important question to ask. engineers.

etc. prospective customers and competitors’ customers are thinking and behaving so that you can tailor your offer and marketing activities accordingly. distance travelled and reasons for coming. New methods. and social media monitoring Below are examples of some of the most common approaches used by shopping centres to understand their customers’ needs. Qualitative feedback is critical to understanding emotional responses. giving you a real feel for what your customers are saying about you and how they are expressing it. Market research: Shopping centre management teams must undertake regular research to understand consumers. Seen through the eyes of the customer. 10 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . Examples of such measures are customer satisfaction. Good quantitative research will give you and your management team hard numbers that measure where you stand now and how you compare with your peers. An independent mystery shopping company visits each shopping centre and works through a series of detailed checklists following the customer journey. perceptions and expectations. There are a number of approaches that companies can use to listen to their customers. Quantitative: What gets measured gets improved.Understanding your customers RESEARCH METHODS Focusing on the customer’s needs is a prerequisite for delivering customer satisfaction and creating loyalty. Average or poor performers either use very few or. A variety of different techniques can be used including video. In the case study in Chapter 3 mystery shopping is the method used at Brent Cross shopping centre to determine its ‘Sales Assistant of the Year’ and by owners Hammerson. dwell time. An understanding of how and why customers are gained as well as lost is crucial. Research will enable you to understand how your customers. telephone. measurable targets for the future. average spend. on-site and web enquiries. Shortlisted centres scoring highest are mystery shopped again by members of the ACE Awards judges’ panel. Methods for understanding your customers include: • • • • • • • • personal face to face interviews personal telephone interviews mystery shopper surveys web surveys panels and focus groups comment forms third party review websites. There is nothing better than taking time out from behind your desk to “walk the floor” and find out what is working well and not so well at your centre and town. Most successful companies employ some or all of them. Qualitative: Qualitative feedback puts the voice of the customer into your organisation. such as pedestrian path tracking using mobile phone technology and more traditional methods like footfall monitoring can also help to measure consumer behaviour. mystery shopping can be used to accurately examine the level of customer service your business is providing. The Gunwharf Quays case study that follows details how exit polls provide invaluable information about the demographics of its shoppers. These enable you to set clear. frequency of visit. willingness to recommend. both in attracting new customers and in retaining the existing customer base. may do a poor job of turning feedback into action. The research methods that we describe below complement the many day-to-day conversations that a good centre manager and their team will have with retailers and other customers. Mystery shopping: Research indicates that the most important aspect of the service provided by a company is how much the customer values the human contact they receive from members of your team. Mystery shopping is the judging method used in the BCSC ACE Awards. for its ‘We Love Retail’ Awards.

Studies are often repeated annually as a means of monitoring and measuring progress as well as making portfolio comparisons between shopping centres and business units. feedback section on the website. (See case study in Chapter 4. members of the benchmarking club – the RealService Best Practice Group. Findings should be fed back to staff and suggestions acknowledged and rewarded when acted upon. and • willingness to recommend. Steve Belam. “PMA members value the opportunity to give feedback about how their shopping centres are run including areas such as service charges. some of whom feature in the case studies in this guide. provide retailers with an opportunity to air their views. complaints. General Manager at The Oracle. Methods for obtaining customer comments include feedback forms at the customer service desk. social media and consumer panels. as long as there is clear follow up by the sponsor of the research. Retailer forums: Regular retailer forums. analysed and acted upon.” says PMA spokesperson. in confidence. have identified seven core questions that should appear in retailer surveys.Retailer satisfaction studies: Feedback from PMA members indicates that retailers highly value the opportunity to give feedback about their level of customer satisfaction. For example. in order to encourage and enable comparisons. estates surveyor and property director level. John Gray. introduced a staff survey en route to winning the title Top ACE in the 2011 ACE Awards. A shopping centre cannot implement a recovery strategy – a plan for making amends when something has gone wrong – if it does not know who has had a problem and what the problem is. about working at the centre and inviting suggestions for improvement. It shows that you value their opinion and are willing to listen and act upon their suggestions.) Understanding your customers Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 11 . hosted by centre management. wants and needs and to find out vital centre communications. Minutes and action points should be circulated to every retailer after every meeting. Staff surveys and suggestions: A staff survey is a positive way to engage with your team members – including contract staff – giving them the opportunity to comment. These are: • satisfaction with communication with property management • satisfaction with responsiveness to requests • overall satisfaction as an occupier • overall satisfaction with property management • understanding of business needs • value for money received for service charge and/or rent. In-built feedback and mechanisms: Best practice companies ensure that customer comments. marketing and communication. Typically research interviews with retailers will take place at a shopping centre. and questions are collated. Reading.

“It gives us immediate feedback about events and gives Gunwharf Quays personality. if the occupier mix is working. and where and when to stage events to maximum advantage. staff and customer service in the centre and stores. Named ‘Customer Service Team of the Year’ in the Sceptre Awards. Independent retailer satisfaction study: Every year. helpfulness of staff (on the phone and in person) and usefulness of signage in and around the centre. Annual exit poll: Between 750-1. 5. 1. 12 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . through to cleanliness of toilets. 2. for example. In order to meet these high expectations. the combination of shops customers are visiting. Gunwharf Quays was praised for outstanding 94% customer satisfaction rates. purpose of visit and overall impressions about the facilities. The results provide the centre with a list of improvement opportunities. which toilets are used most and at what times. communication.000 people are questioned about their customer experience. e.Understanding your customers CASE STUDY Land Securities’ Gunwharf Quays is a large mixed use scheme sandwiched between Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Spinnaker Tower on the Portsmouth waterfront. the team at Gunwharf Quays goes to great lengths to understand what their customers are really thinking and feeling about their experience at the shopping centre and what drives them to keep coming back. responsiveness and understanding needs. The aim is to find out who is using the centre. where they go when it rains. 8% year-on-year sales increases despite the economic downturn and an increase in dwell time from 111 to 121 minutes. the best times and locations to deploy cleaning and maintenance staff. says Marketing Manager Elisa Linley. 4.g.” 3. Mystery shopping: An independent mystery shopping company is used to gauge the customer journey from beginning to end. and whether they are satisfied with a visit here. Gunwharf Quays – Getting to know you Interviewees are asked about centre management’s performance in a number of key areas including marketing. Path Intelligence: An evolutionary system that uses mobile phone tracking technology to show how customers are using the centre. Social media: Facebook and Twitter are used to communicate with customers. The effort that Gunwharf Quays puts into understanding its customers so that it can provide the best possible customer service is reaping rewards. where they are travelling from. The information helps centre management make better decisions about. whether the right facilities are in place. Due to the centre’s prime quayside location. a sample of Gunwharf Quays’ 130 store and restaurant managers are questioned about their level of customer satisfaction. customers expect service standards that are more akin to a top tourist destination than an outlet shopping centre. enabling the centre to measure its own performance over time and to make comparisons with other shopping centres in Land Securities’ portfolio.” The results are benchmarked. Linley adds: “The exit poll provides us with a really good check and balance as to whether our perceptions of the site match those of our customers. which events are attracting customers and increasing dwell time. Linley says: “The feedback enables us to take steps to ensure the centre is working as efficiently and successfully as possible.” says Linley. The survey covers everything from website ease of use and experience of travelling to the centre.

social media. suppliers and the local community BEST PRACTICE CHECKLIST Do you undertake regular research to understand the needs of your customers? Do you actively seek customer feedback about your service? Do you share the findings of customer research with colleagues and suppliers and take steps to eliminate the cause of complaints? Are suggestions evaluated and/or trialled? Is there an effective process in place to encourage staff suggestions? Are staff members and suppliers rewarded for successful suggestions? Retailers Shoppers (consumers) Have you measured how well retailers perceive that you communicate and understand their needs? Does the shopping centre management team record and analyse customer complaints and compliments? Do you have a research programme to make sure you understand the changing needs of consumers? Are issues identified through contact with retailers recorded.) producing valuable and actionable insights into consumer behaviour and aspirations? Suppliers Other stakeholders and groups Do you actively involve your suppliers (e. non-English speakers. etc.Understanding customers – Scorecard SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts The organisation actively works to identify the needs of all customers – shoppers.g. families. Total points score Total score Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 13 .) in suggesting ways to improve customer satisfaction? How well can you measure whether the action you take is improving shopper satisfaction? Do you actively research and support the needs of the wider community and special interest groups within it? For example. etc. etc. tourists. the disabled.g. service desk. retailers staff. the elderly. security and cleaning. exit interview. focus group. and then solutions identified and systematically followed through? Do you have an effective retailer communication strategy so that you understand their priorities and expectations? Are the research methods that you use (e. mystery shopping. mobile phone tracking.

make eye contact and interact with customers. should have the training and knowledge to fully meet the requirements of their role. reduced absenteeism and improved customer service. At Jackson Square. he looks for what he calls ‘meerkats’ – people who will not hide behind a cleaning trolley but will instead hold their heads up. This should include an induction and customer care training programme which is updated annually. all staff. Customer service and any other relevant job training should be provided so that people have the skills and knowledge to fully meet the requirements of their role. An effective recruitment process needs to be in place to find them and once found.” (See the following case study. Customer service achievement goals should be set. Andrew Davy. Reading. (See case study in Chapter 5. He believes that anyone can be taught to do a task like clean a floor but you cannot teach somebody personality or how to smile. places enormous emphasis on the types of people it recruits. (See case study in Chapter 5. progress monitored and success rewarded. with the right attitude and personality profile. The centre also introduced a role-play style second interview to single out those with a real flair for customer service.Chapter People and management Power to the people The culture of an organisation needs to be supported by the recruitment and retention of management and staff.) INDUCTION AND TRAINING Once recruited. General Manager at The Mall Pavilions. General Manager Grace Bagster gives members of her subcontracted security team time off work to attend training courses. flexible attitude and friendly. When. which she feels makes them better and more interested in their jobs and reduces staff turnover. (See case study in Chapter 4. ‘Customer Service Champion of the Year’ in Hammerson’s inaugural ‘We Love Retail’ Awards. THE RIGHT PEOPLE Employees can be trained in the technical process of their jobs but attitudes and personality are difficult to change. different ways of thinking and individuality expressed among the Wagamama staff is part of what makes the teams unique all over the UK. a formal induction process implemented to enable new recruits to understand and embrace the organisation’s culture. changed its recruitment policy by actively looking for gregarious types who enjoyed talking to customers and had the ability to think for themselves. is recruiting cleaners.) 14 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . The diversity of experiences. A spokesperson says: “Wagamama prides itself on customer service and we always want to be as friendly and helpful as possible. The Oracle. People with a positive.) RECRUITMENT PROCESS Using a careful and extensive selection programme to recruit the most suitable people can reap substantial financial benefits in terms of staff retention. Uxbridge. whether employed or subcontracted. for example. Bishops Stortford. open disposition are often best suited to the role.) Restaurant chain Wagamama. 3 En route to winning the title Top ACE in the 2011 Ace Awards.

which involved security staff and managers being trained to run the Information Desk. Westfield Derby’s ten-strong concierge team provides events and promotional campaign support to the marketing team. Immediate small rewards create a more dynamic culture. Crucially.) REWARDS AND AWARDS Rewards encourage changes in behaviour.) CUSTOMER SERVICE GOALS Great customer service produces positive customer experiences. Brent Cross Shopping Centre’s ‘Sales Assistant of the Year Award’ is always eagerly anticipated by staff and retailers as is Hammerson’s ‘We Love Retail’ Awards. The aim was to break down barriers and give people a better feel and understanding for one another’s roles. Awards for the highest achievers motivate and inspire others to do the same. being 8% over target in gaining Westfield Kids Club sign-ups. (See case study in Chapter 4. (See case study in Chapter 4. which drive sales and profitability. at The Oracle. Achieving customer service goals should be set by management and rewarded either through regular awards or through formal objectives. For example. therefore adapting training to each individual. effective and immediate response to a customer issue. (See the following case study. Stretching KPIs were set for the team in 2011. For example. For example. are key to keeping the customer satisfied. Reading.” EMPOWERMENT Customer service should be embedded within each role and delegated authority given to all staff members so that they are empowered to resolve customer issues immediately.People and management Wagamama views staff training as a key part of its success. using performance measurement and an appraisal process which supports and monitors progress. more people could step in and get it done. A spokesperson says: “During training Wagamama teaches employees more than just the basics – it aims to promote an understanding that all customers are different as are all members of staff. all of which were met or exceeded including. Footfall of 25 million was maintained with dwell time up by 17.) Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 15 . improving customer service delivery.5%. Once initial training has been completed Wagamama continues to develop its staff with further training courses and management opportunities to further their growth. a process of multi-skilling staff was introduced. it also meant that if a job needed doing. The ultimate aim is to drive footfall and increase dwell time. An efficient. for example.

a sub group of the Retailer Board. Hammerson’s ‘We Love Retail’ Awards celebrates the best in customer service from across its 10 UK shopping centres. says: “The Customer Service Champion of the Year Award is a benchmark for all of our staff to work towards and a great point of reference for what can be achieved with training and hard work. A host of other awards are handed out at the same time including ‘Retailer of the Year’ and ‘Environmental Retailer of the Year’. 16 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . with the top three winning more money and other prizes. winner of the prestigious ‘Customer Service Champion of the Year’ Award. They celebrate the best. David Atkins. local media and dignitaries as well as any passing shoppers. This plays a large part in the success of our centres and we are delighted to recognise the dedication of these teams. Eighteen winners are recognised for exceptional customer service.Motivating retailers Centre manager Tom Nathan says: “The awards reward great customer service performance in a highly competitive environment. The anticipation starts in June when nominations are invited and builds to a crescendo of excitement in September when a first prize of £1. family members. Each finalist is then independently assessed by a mystery shopping company.000.People and management CASE STUDY The ‘Sales Assistant of the Year’ prize-giving ceremony is always one of the most eagerly awaited events among workers at Hammerson’s Brent Cross shopping centre in North London.” At portfolio level. providing public recognition for the hard work winners and finalists have put in. Hammerson . Every finalist receives a minimum of £100. The winners continually deliver first class customer service and are willing to make the in-store experience special for our shoppers. which are reduced to ten finalists by the centre’s Customer Service Working Party.” A spokesperson for restaurant chain Wagamama. The top ten finalists are invited onto stage during a champagne breakfast attended by retailers. Hammerson CEO adds: “We work with the best retail. catering and leisure brands in the UK and there is tough competition for each award. There are usually around 40 nominations. trophy and certificate is awarded to the individual judged top for outstanding customer service.

communicate and act upon the findings? periodically measured Total points score Total score Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 17 . through staff are regularly canvassed and surveys). including a strong ability to relate to customers. familiar with it? Do you have a customer service award scheme for staff and suppliers? Do you have a confidential process for resolving ethical issues at work? Do you place emphasis on customer service skills. retention and management Senior managers demonstrate strong personal leadership in customer service BEST PRACTICE Does your organisation have an ethical policy and are you.People and management – Scorecard SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Ethical issues are discussed and there are clear guidelines to help resolve conflicts The organisation reinforces customer service through a systematic approach to employee recruitment. recognise and reward customer service excellence? CHECKLIST The organisation supports and trains staff in the delivery of customer service Do customer service targets feature in personal development plans for every staff member? Is there an effective induction programme for all staff and contract partners to ensure that your customer service ethos is understood? Do you give regular training and updates to staff and contract partners in customer service skills? Senior management promotes a culture of empowerment and taking personal responsibility for service Is the training programme reviewed and updated annually? Do staff and contract partners have the opportunity to acquire a formal qualification or accreditation in customer service? Do your staff and suppliers have the personal and financial authority to solve a customer issue quickly? The views of staff and suppliers Do you measure staff and supplier satisfaction (e. when recruiting staff? Is customer service written into each job description and area of responsibility? Do you personally encourage.g. and your staff.

take delivery and receive after sales support without leaving their homes. if not better than the online option. or service. the challenge is a big one. The customer journey described below is laden with potential ‘moments of truth’. Identifying and anticipating those key points of clarification is critical to maintaining and growing a profitable customer relationship.Chapter The customer experience The journey is the treasure Customer experience is a hot topic in business today. It starts from awareness. use and personal recommendation. which is why close attention should be paid to each and every one. served and cared for according to their expectations of your brand. driving profit margins and generating loyal customers who recommend your products and services to others. Customers should feel a sense of being respected. price compare. Today’s shoppers are faced with the option to research. These are often referred to as ‘moments of truth’ and how your business interacts with the customer at these critical moments can significantly increase (or decrease) the long-term viability of that relationship. It is worth noting that there are several critical times during a customer’s relationship with your business where a decision is made – by the customer – to continue or discontinue interacting with your brand. purchase. Companies now recognise the huge difference that a great customer experience can have on increasing revenue. purchase. This may be arrival in the car park. With Amazon being effectively the world’s largest online shopping centre. 18 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . product. The journey spans the whole relationship with your brand.000 items every single day. an encounter with a sales assistant in a shop or an attempt to find information on your website – any event in fact that helps to clarify the relationship with a particular brand. satisfied and justified by their decision to use a specific product or service. In this chapter we focus on the shopper customer experience. selling nearly 500. a visit to the toilet. Shopping centres therefore need to compete and ensure that the customer experience is as good. discovery and attraction through to interaction. 4 Customer experience can be viewed as the successful outcome of a customer journey which makes the customer feel happy.

org. details of which can be found at: www. which include: • Getting there • Deciding to go • ACE ‘Star’ – an individual member of staff who has given exceptional customer service. The checklists in this section broadly mirror those used in the judging for the ACE Awards which reward the highest scorers in the following categories: • 40.000 sqm • under 40. Communication ACE AWARDS The ACE Awards founded in 2007 aim to promote best practice across the industry and reward the highest standards and innovations in customer service. social media • Help desk 2. There are a number of stages to the journey.000 sqm • Telephone. Facilities • Recycling • Cleanliness and standards • Disabled • Families The customer experience • Arrival – car park and pedestrian entry • Entering the shopping centre • Food and drink experience • The shopping centre experience • Facilities 4.000 sqm • over 80. • retail/shopping park Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 19 . email. Experience • Food and drink • Interaction with shopping centre staff • Cleanliness and standards • Safety and security • Communication and interaction with the shopping centre staff • Signage • Leaving the centre We have grouped the customer journey into four areas: • Website 1.bcsc.THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY This section is based on a detailed analysis of the customer journey. as well as provide a platform to celebrate the best examples of customer care. Journey • Getting there • Arrival and car park entry • Signage • Entering the shopping centre • Leaving the centre The judging process includes mystery-shopper audits of shopping centres.

It just goes to show that you can run a programme of constant improvement if you listen and act on the judges’ feedback. Judge Andrew McMillan says: “The people on the Information Desk were fantastic. This prompted a shift in recruitment policy. “We took the feedback from the judges to draw up an action list for improvements. which involved security staff and managers being trained to run the Information Desk. customer service has become an important and integral aspect of our business. A mystery shopping programme was introduced. At the same time staff rotas were re-organised to create more shift overlap at key times and team meetings were held more frequently with KPIs set for individuals and financial incentives introduced.” The customer experience CASE STUDY Since 2008. The Oracle was also instrumental in the launch of the Reading Retail Awards. Top Ace. The aim was to break down barriers and give people a better feel and understanding for one another’s roles. Steve Belam. “It took six months to complete but everyone bought into it. what’s more important is the way it conveys through its people that they will look after you. in confidence. By the time of the judging for the 2011 ACE Awards. Feedback from the ACE Awards judges in 2009 created yet another list of action points for Belam and his team. Another important step was the introduction of an annual staff survey giving staff the opportunity to feedback.“The people on the Information Desk were fantastic.” 20 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . Hammerson-owned The Oracle in Reading has undergone a cultural and customer service revolution that has seen it be transformed from an ‘also-ran’ in the ACE Awards to winner of the highest accolade. “Whether we won an ACE Award or not. The cleaners were exactly the same. and cleaners were also given NVQ training in recognition that everyone who works at the centre has an important role to play in delivering great customer service. A number of important aesthetic changes were also made. They only see what the customer sees and that is the part we have to get right. gregarious types who enjoyed talking to customers and could think on their feet and for themselves. “We wanted to instil a one team policy where everyone was equal and treated the same. “We regarded these as the foundations from which to build.” says Belam.” Belam concludes: “It took us three years to be capable of winning an award because it required a complete change of culture. it also meant that if a job needed doing. which is not something you can turn on like a light switch. The shopmobility area was given a revamp to create a more conducive environment. This resulted in the introduction of a role-play style second interview The Oracle – How to be a Top Ace in the staff recruitment process to single out those with a real flair for customer service.” adds Belam. While it is helpful that The Oracle is in a lovely location next to the river and is of great design. A process of multi-skilling staff was also introduced. more people could step in and get it done. The cleaners were exactly the same. Crucially. culminating in an annual black tie dinner.” The security team. “We actively started to look for people with a more open personality. They looked up and smiled straightaway – they were so spontaneous and friendly. They looked up and smiled straightaway – they were so spontaneous and friendly. referred to as Duty Assistants.” explains General Manager.” The first job was to give the centre’s customer service staff NVQ Level 2 and 3 customer service training. The Oracle’s incredible journey started with entry into the 2008 Awards. The Oracle’s transformation was complete. revealing further opportunities for improvement. about working at the centre. The staff uniform was also given a dramatic makeover with the colour pink introduced and a more tailored and flattering look achieved. improving customer service delivery.

and major incident training in his rise to taking charge of the control room. had only been working at the centre for two years when he won the award. They were not disappointed. When they returned for a second visit. Jim goes out of his way to help other people – colleagues and members of the public alike.” adds Dhillon.CASE STUDY When the ACE Awards’ judges mystery shopped Capital & Regional’s Kingfisher Shopping Centre at Redditch for the first time. which means he is trained in the use of automated external defibrillators and the treatment and control of a wide range of potentially life threatening conditions should anyone suddenly fall ill. they were bowled over by the helpfulness of security controller. The judges were so impressed with Jim's work in the centre. Jim’s qualities were quickly recognised and he progressed quickly up the ranks to team leader and onto security controller. that they created an entirely new award to commend him with the ACE Award for Customer Excellence. According to General Manager Perminder Dhillon. Jim. management. Our standard of customer service is vital to the service we provide as a shopping centre and I am very proud we have members of staff such as Jim to look after our customers in the manner they deserve. they made a beeline for Jim to see if their first impressions had been right. He is also a volunteer Community First Responder for West Midlands Ambulance Service. Jim’s Emergency First Response skills and his calm and collected attitude in an emergency have enabled him to help save the lives of several shoppers who have suffered heart attacks whilst in the shopping centre. Dhillon says: “Jim stands out because he works to high standards and leads by example.” Kingfisher Shopping Centre – Leading by example The customer experience Jim has undergone customer service. “Jim’s ability to respond in those first few crucial seconds made all the difference. Jim Nicholls. He started as a security officer having had no previous experience in the field. Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 21 . 39.

Westfield Derby was commended by the judges for the considerable amount of thought that had been put into the overall shopper’s experience including the outstanding parent child facilities. the National Ice Centre and Legoland. family destination. Sessions are often run in association with retailers. One of the primary aims then which remains today is to create a relaxed.” Other events organised to create a relaxed. “We encourage kids to have their own kiddy car licence complete with photo to save a lot of form filling every time they hire a car. store discounts and two for one offers on entry to attractions such as Drayton Manor. five times a day to make sure the facilities are clean and in working order.” Westfield Derby – Ensuring happy families Once a month. newsletter and birthday cards as well as an online discount on Christmas Grotto bookings. Westfield’s red kiddy cars are a huge attraction for families. Members also receive regular events updates. which entitles them to a range of benefits including free gifts. They simply give us their licence for safe keeping until the car is returned. A winner in the 2010 BCSC Ace Awards. private breast feeding areas. There are four parent rooms in the centre. each providing a range of first class facilities including toddler and parent rooms. the centre runs a ‘Crafty Kids’ session.The customer experience CASE STUDY Westfield Derby was the first new Westfield designed and managed shopping centre to open in the UK in 2007.” adds Burdis. including the parent rooms. character meet and greets with the likes of Raa Raa . baby changing facilities. so that they become loyal to us rather than go to another destination. with the introduction of a nominal hire charge having had minimal impact on demand. “Some people come to the centre just to let their kids ride on the cars. family atmosphere include Build-A-Bear workshops. These kinds of sessions help to drive footfall back to the retailers plus the kids love them and want to come back. which attracts 40-60 children plus their parents and grandparents for a few hours of creative fun. toilets of differing heights. microwave and bottle warmer plus a TV with a kids’ DVD running continuously.” says Alison Burdis.the Noisy Lion and Rosie & Raggles as well as entertainers in the malls during school holidays. “Part of the Concierge Team’s role is to inspect the malls. Senior Team Leader for Westfield Derby’s multi-award winning Concierge Team. Burdis says: “We want to reach as many people as we can.” 22 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . Children are actively encouraged to join Westfield Kids Club.

g. Twitter.) Are shopping centre staff easily recognisable and smartly attired? Can customer service staff summon back-up help if necessary? Do you provide up-to-date directories and/or mall guides? When needing assistance can customers easily find a member of centre staff to help them? Where present. consistent and comprehensive? Are there sufficient parking spaces. facilities and events mentioned on the website? Does the website list centre and store opening times? Is the website kept up-to-date? Is there a “Contact us” facility on the centre’s website? Communication is effective: Telephone/Email/ Social media Do you have target response times for dealing with telephone. email and social media queries? Is the style and tone of communication defined. etc. services.The customer experience – Scorecard PART 1: COMMUNICATION The shopping centre website gives comprehensive information about the shopping centre BEST PRACTICE SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Does the website give clear directions to the centre? CHECKLIST Are all stores. is the customer service desk staffed at all times during opening hours? Total points score Total score PART 2: JOURNEY A first-time visitor can easily find their way to and around the centre BEST PRACTICE Are there clear signs to the centre from surrounding roads? Is there easy access to and from the centre for pedestrians and those arriving by public transport? Are all entrances to the centre easy to find? Are the surroundings maintained to a standard befitting the shopping centre? Is the car park easy to find? Is there a good public transport service to the centre? CHECKLIST SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Car parking is straightforward Is signage within the centre clear. well understood and followed? Is website use monitored (site and page hits) and information used to improve website design and ease of use? Shoppers can easily obtain help and information Do you have a strategy for maximising the potential and effectiveness of social media? (e. and are their locations clearly signed? Is the car park kept clean and tidy? Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 23 . even during peak times? Have efforts been made to make it easy for shoppers to remember where they parked – by zoning. colour-coding or numbering? Are sufficient parent and child spaces available and are their locations clearly signed? Is the car park well lit throughout? Is there a car parking attendant? Are sufficient disabled spaces available. Facebook.

car cleaning and other services to car parkers? When leaving the car park. is the exit route clearly marked? Total points score Total score PART 3: FACILITIES The facilities in the centre meet the needs of shoppers BEST PRACTICE CHECKLIST Do you offer free Wi-Fi? SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Do you have a free ATM? Do you have lockers which customers can use? Is there a post box or post-office service available? Are there toilets within an acceptable walking distance throughout the centre? Are the toilets cleaned often enough to keep them free from unpleasant odours? Are all cubicles kept clean and free from graffiti? Are there hooks on the back of cubicle doors? If a toilet is broken. is it signed clearly as out of order? Are sinks checked regularly to ensure they are clean and free from excess water? Is the floor kept clean and free from litter and toilet tissue? Do you have energy-efficient hand-dryers? The centre caters well for visitors with disabilities Are disabled toilets clearly marked on centre maps? Are they clean and free from unpleasant odours? Are all hand dryers in working order or are there sufficient disposable towels? Can the disabled toilets be accessed easily and without problems? Does the website tell customers about the centre’s disabled access features? Are all parts of the centre accessible to wheelchair users with ease? Is information available in alternative formats such as Braille? The centre considers the needs of families Is there a comfortable place where babies can be fed? Do you have a child-safety scheme? Can shoppers hire wheelchairs or mobility scooters? Is access into the centre from the car park easy for wheelchair users? Is there a facility for warming food and milk for babies? Is there a crèche where shoppers can leave their children? Have consumers been surveyed to check the crèche is reasonably priced and conveniently located? 24 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres .The customer experience – Scorecard PART 2: JOURNEY (CONTINUED) Car parking is straightforward (continued) BEST PRACTICE SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts CHECKLIST Is help quickly available to customers who experience difficulties in the car park? Are payment machines well located? Can customers pay for parking using a credit/debit card? Does the centre offer valet parking.

quality.PART 3: FACILITIES (CONTINUED) The centre considers the needs of families (continued) BEST PRACTICE Are the baby-changing facilities checked frequently to ensure they are clean and fresh smelling? Is there a play area for children? CHECKLIST SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Has a mystery shopper surveyed the baby changing facilities for comfort and practicality? Are there TV or plasma screens available in seated areas playing a selection of entertainment for all ages? The centre caters for customers’ food and drink requirements Do you monitor customer satisfaction with the availability. accuracy of order and value-for-money of the food and drink at the centre? Are customer service and hygiene levels audited to check they meet or exceed customer expectations? Does the range and quality of food and drink available meet customer expectations? Total points score Total score PART 4: EXPERIENCE BEST PRACTICE Are all centre staff actively made aware of the need to behave in a All staff (whether front or back of house) understand and friendly and courteous manner at all times? share the responsibility for customer service The shopping centre environment is actively managed to enhance the shopper experience If an enclosed centre. is the mall at a comfortable temperature in summer and winter? Are all aspects of the centre well-maintained? CHECKLIST SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Is the retail strategy regularly updated having regard to the changing needs of consumers and other stakeholders? If an enclosed centre. explain the problem and advise where an alternative can be found? Are there sufficient litter bins and recycling facilities for shoppers? Is the area around all bins clean and free from overflowing litter? Are there enough cleaners in the centre at all times? Are there enough seats throughout the mall? There is a secure environment for customers Do shoppers feel safe and secure? Are security guards easy to find? If the centre is on multiple floors. is the mall well lit and pleasantly bright throughout? Are there notices where there is an equipment failure or maintenance requirement which apologise. CCTV. are there sufficient lifts and escalators in operation? Does security staff wear a distinctive and appropriate uniform? Is technology well used to support the security operation? e.g. etc. mobile radio networks. Total points score Total score Customer experience total Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 25 .

retailers and leisure operators 2. the wider community and special interest groups. security and maintenance contractors. cleaning.g.” 26 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . spend money and make positive recommendations are vital to the success of your shopping centre and also the importance of management and staff as stakeholders.Chapter Stakeholder relationships In previous chapters we have looked at how the customers who visit regularly. 5 Do unto others… “The shopping centre needs to deliver an improved customer experience and an experience which includes the total ‘customer journey’. We now explore the other stakeholders with whom developing relationships is vital as these play a vital role in shaping and delivering the customer experience. These include: 1. and 3. suppliers e.

with retailers facing an increasing choice of retail space at the same time as intense competition for their share of the consumer’s purse. Similarly the shopping centre’s ability to understand demand at a local level is an important facility to be shared with retailers. A specific person in the shopping centre management team should take responsibility for liaising with retailers in order to understand their drivers and KPIs and to develop empathy and understanding of their business needs. This is covered by the BCSC Purple Apple Awards case studies. open dialogue between retailers and shopping centre management teams and owners to ensure operational efficiencies and mutual RETAILER LIAISON The role of Retail Liaison Manager as part of the shopping centre management team has developed since the first edition of the guide. communication skills and an indepth understanding of the retailer and the consumer are increasingly important. RETAILER FORUMS Regular retailer forums provide retailers with an opportunity to air their views. The shopping environment is also changing. I also develop training programmes for occupiers to ensure they support the growth of the business and the development of the individual. They appoint account holders within their head office team to develop relationships with key retail property directors to understand their issues and identify opportunities. Therefore. Retail Liaison Manager at Land Securities’ Gunwharf Quays. To support the retailer. Jemma Fern.1 RETAILER RELATIONSHIPS “Difficult trading conditions and the boom in online shopping have heightened the need for continuous.” In a parallel move. This section looks at the relationship between retail store managers and the shopping centre as well as that of the retail property manager and property developer/owner. overseeing more than 130 occupiers. including PRUPIM in the following case study and British Land in Chapter 1. operate a key retailer relationship management programme.bcsc.” says John Gray of the Stakeholder relationships Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 27 . http://purpleapple. the shopping centre needs to deliver an improved customer experience and an experience which includes the total ‘customer journey’. This guide recognises but does not explore best practice in the critical area of shopping centre marketing and promotion. in order to compete. a number of shopping centre owners. describing her role. working with managers. These meetings are a good time to share local market knowledge collected by the shopping centre and to disclose footfall and sales figures. The role involves weekly analysis of occupier sales data. area managers and head offices to drive sales and awareness of individual units. wants and needs and to find out vital centre communications. says: “I form part of the senior management team.5. with consumers demanding more and spending less. For example. Retail competition continues to increase. communicating areas of growth and risk and implementation of any assistance packages to those areas of risk. In order to work with retailers in this highly competitive environment. the shopping centre needs to consider a broader and more comprehensive product/service offer. The role of the shopping centre in galvanising retailers to work to the common goal of serving the consumer cannot be understated.

from first inquiry through the negotiation and legal process and onto the move-in and post move-in stage. lease break and lease expiry. where they think you should be putting your effort and what they would be willing to pay for. has used the results of its retail property director studies to implement a programme of cultural change. lease review. For example. Retailers really value the chance to give their views with participation rates in studies typically high. post refurbishment. and to spot high achievers and to share best practice throughout the organisation. Centre management teams use the results to produce customised action plans to improve their service to retailers. KEY EVENTS Invaluable insights into retailer satisfaction can be gained by surveying retailers at ‘key events’ including post occupation. (See full case study in Chapter 6. Hammerson conducts independent post occupation surveys with occupiers covering their perceptions of the performance of Hammerson including its lawyers and building contractors. For example. There should be space set aside for retail staff to sit and eat during breaks with sufficient and convenient car parking made available.) RETAILER PERCEPTIONS – RETAIL PROPERTY DIRECTOR LEVEL A number of leading owners also conduct regular independent retail property director studies to gain a measure of customer satisfaction at a more strategic level. British Land. what matters most to them. enabling it to identify whether service is being provided to retailers in a consistent way across the portfolio. Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) has conducted an annual survey of its shopping centres since 2008. which includes customer care. for example. which they also value. Results from such studies and proposed actions should be fed back to the retailers. 28 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . they keep them challenged and stop them becoming complacent. focusing on initiatives that matter most to retailers including a dramatic reduction in service charge costs. The results enable centre managers to operate with their eyes wide open because they have knowledge and information with which to operate more efficiently and effectively. the success of which are measured in the following year’s survey. Retailer surveys empower centre managers. The information is used to drive improvements.Stakeholder relationships RETAILER SERVICES The shopping centre management should provide an induction course for retailers. RETAILER PERCEPTIONS – SHOPPING CENTRE LEVEL Independent annual retailer satisfaction studies are an opportunity to find out what your retailers really think about the way the centre is run.

PRUPIM Customer Relationship Manager. Before the programme was launched. These new KORM meetings will be delivered in partnership with our property management service partner and will enable us to drill down and talk about ground level issues which retailers have raised. which can be viewed and tracked via a shared portal. PRUPIM strengthened them by widening the reach of its KORM programme.CASE STUDY New life has been breathed into PRUPIM’s Key Occupier Relationship Management (KORM) programme after an independent retailer satisfaction study confirmed how much occupiers valued the opportunity to have a direct relationship with their landlord. Each of the retailers on the programme has been assigned their own relationship manager with meetings scheduled throughout the year. there’s a process in place to ensure it is actively followed through. “We now have a structured programme rather than just a series of meetings.” explains David Woodman. positive dialogue with retailers. Stakeholder relationships Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 29 . “In the future. leasing and strategy. Minutes are shared and feedback is used to create specific business actions. the company outsourced its property management. has over 51% of its interests in retail. In 2011. prompting concern among some retailers that the appointment might lead to a loss of direct contact. When we say we are going to do something. “The existing programme will focus on asset management. which was described as “a good initiative” that made tenants feel that PRUPIM regarded them as “a valued customer and tenant rather than someone who just pays the rent”. With some retailers the dialogue was often negative.” PRUPIM is in the throes of adding a new dimension to the KORM programme. a top 20 global real estate fund manager and part of the M&G Group.” PRUPIM – Strengthening ties Woodman adds: “The KORM programme is about maintaining a proactive. PRUPIM.” PRUPIM’s 2011 Retail Directors’ Study showed that 70% of retailers rated the level of quality of communication with the company as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’.” explains Woodman. “The most important aspect is that we are taking retailers’ feedback and turning these into business actions. the KORM programme is going to be split in two. which will involve another layer of meetings with the likes of PMA representatives and estates surveyors to discuss operational issues. engagement focused heavily on areas such as lease and rent review negotiation or disputes over service charge and other occupational costs. while the new programme will focus on operational issues including service charges and operational delivery. A key contributor to these results was the KORM programme. Rather than cut ties with retailers.

Please see the following case study. You should also incentivise performance through a reward structure. In fact. Lance Stanbury. including promotion. Reading (see case study in Chapter 4). 30 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . the security team and cleaners at The Oracle. Steve Belam. “We aim to instil a one team policy where everyone is equal and treated the same. you need to budget for regular customer service training over and above what they receive in their Security Industry Authority training. ACE Awards judge and mall management consultant agrees with this approach.” It is important to set aside a budget for customer service training and any other relevant training for your contracted staff to enable them to perform in their roles and feel that they are developing and progressing. For example. staff turnover is not an issue at Jackson Square. provide assistance and represent the centre in accordance with your culture and values. they are often the first person a shopper comes into contact with when entering the centre and it is vital that they are able to engage. saying: “You should spend time with your security staff and on their pay – the quality of customer service can never exceed the quality of those who provide it.” Stakeholder relationships 5. Stanbury adds: “With regard to security.” says General Manager. where General Manager Grace Bagster treats her security team as she would employees. they do play a critical role in delivering customer service within the shopping centre. receive NVQ training in recognition that everyone who works at the centre has an important role to play in delivering great customer service. security officers and maintenance staff are increasingly not being employed in-house. It’s also important that they are trained as facility supervisors – it’s their daily job.2 SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIPS Although staff such as cleaners. Turnover among cleaners and security officers is a problem at some centres but can be minimised if contracted staff are treated well and shown respect.“The quality of customer service can never exceed the quality of those who provide it.” For example. Bishops Stortford. She instils in them that they are her ‘eyes and ears’ and play a vital role in the smooth running of the centre.

As well as undertaking day-to-day duties.” says Bagster.” says Bagster.” explains Bagster. “One person is responsible for hot water testing. “New recruits arrive with a poor impression of security. every member of the security team is given a particular area of responsibility for which they receive time Jackson Square – Keeping your security team secure off work for special training.” She speaks of one security guard. She has also had installed a dry wiper board.CASE STUDY A lot of shopping centres have difficulty retaining security guards but not at Jackson Square in Bishops Stortford where the current seven-strong team have been in place for between 5 and 17 years. “Everyone has something that is their ‘baby’. it fills them with confidence. who joined the team ten years ago. which makes their jobs more interesting and makes them feel more valued. The reason for such dedication and loyalty has a good deal to do with treatment and expectations of the team. recycling and directing shoppers. “If it helps them at home and in life generally. He reluctantly went on a computer course after which there was no stopping him.” Bagster is a big believer in giving her security staff extra responsibility and investing in training. another’s area is fire risk assessments while someone else is in charge of sprinkler pumps. Once they have grasped this. to keep everyone in the loop about day to day issues.” says Bagster proudly.but they never go!” says general manager. “He is a new man. There’s a multitude of things they do on site from assisting tenants to health and safety inspections. Grace Bagster. which they bring to the workplace.” Security staff is also given the opportunity to undertake basic computer training at the local adult education college despite the fact that they rarely use a computer in the course of their daily work. Bagster adds: “New security staff come here with the attitude ‘it’s not my job’ but are then amazed by what their role actually entails. “I’ve known shopping centres where you have security people in a room at one end of the centre and the management team at the other – it’s so fractured. Bagster insists that one or all of the security team attend meetings as appropriate to ensure information is best used. “thinking he could do nothing”. He now holds dozens of computer certificates as well as a health and safety qualification. “It doesn’t matter that they do not use a computer at work. which has led to him to become a volunteer Community First Responder for the Ambulance Service. thinking they will only stay for a year or so . Bagster treats her security team like members of her in-house staff to avoid an ‘us and them’ situation. I also instil in them that they are my eyes and ears and that they play a vital role in the smooth running of the centre. Stakeholder relationships Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 31 . full of confidence. they are happy people.

Davy says: “Our suppliers have to understand our philosophy that their role is not just about cleaning or security but there is a customer care element to what they do. “It’s about management looking and listening all the time and leading by example. Suppliers’ performance is constantly monitored using a monthly scorecard. make eye contact and interact with customers. Davy says: “Interpersonal skills and high personal standards are vital because cleaners are dealing with the public all the time. for example – is also important. maintenance.Stakeholder relationships CASE STUDY When Andrew Davy.” People with a good knowledge of the local environment – where the bus station is.” 32 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . adding: “Once the right people are recruited. General Manager at The Mall Pavilions. When a person comes into a shopping centre. If you treat people with respect by for example acknowledging them – saying ‘good morning’ – they will respect you and the work they do for you. it’s vital that they are treated properly.” New cleaners at Davy’s centre attend a one-day WorldHost customer service training course alongside other suppliers including security. which is an important part of their monthly score. It’s also about showing respect. is looking to recruit cleaners and team leaders. if a customer is asking for directions and you don’t speak their language it’s tempting just to speak louder whereas a more sensible solution would be to draw a diagram or even to take them there yourself!” Cleaners’ performance is constantly monitored and appraised in a positive way with management continually looking for good examples of customer The Mall Pavilions – Cleaners are key staff service and ensuring that when this occurs it is rewarded.” Every quarter.” says Davy. Uxbridge. cleaners are helped to understand why they have to clean up spillages without delay and the possible legal and financial implications for the centre if anyone slips and hurts themselves. Davy adds: “The course covers basics like creating a good first impression and techniques for overcoming barriers. For example.” Another purpose of these meetings is to explain why they are asked to perform certain tasks. all the supplier staff – cleaners. mall and security – are invited to a meeting when financial information about the centre is shared including footfall and retailer comings and goings. Davy says: “This is so that they feel part of the centre and understand what their part in its success is. mall and maintenance staff. it’s “simples!” He works alongside his cleaning supplier to find what he calls ‘meerkats’ – people who won’t hide behind a cleaning trolley but will instead hold their heads up. They all have KPIs for customer interaction. which is constantly high on our agenda. For example. the only person they may see is a cleaner and so that first impression really matters. “It is important that we recognise their good work and good customer service. We strive to treat everybody the same. says Davy.

interest and loyalty. For example. Chapelfield businesses and customers as well as the wider community. families. Events can be tailored for specific groups including. org. helping to drive footfall back to the retailers. Only two reoffended on release – dramatically lower than typical reoffending rates. where every month the centre runs a ‘Crafty Kids’ session. After 30 months. which has resulted in a dramatic reduction in crime at the centre.bcsc. There’s also entertainment. Chapelfield decided to use its skills. students. It lies within a community and there are important synergies to be understood and gained by an active involvement in community details. Chapelfield's Custody & Community Project was a winner in the Community Relations category of the BCSC Purple Apple Awards 2012. business and arts groups and educational institutions can also provide enormous mutual benefits. the likes of which are held at shopping centres across the country. refreshments and goody bags on offer to add to the experience. experience and resources to help break the cycle of re-offending by providing work experience and employment for offenders to the benefit of offenders. For example. It also gives mall space to the local Crime Prevention Panel every month for crime prevention and public safety promotions and demonstrations.3 COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS A shopping centre does not sit in isolation. Sessions are often run in association with retailers. Norwich. 99 serving prisoners had completed the programme with 79% having gained employment in 32 separate businesses.) Broader community involvement with local organisations including council. Billed as ‘the UK’s Biggest Student Shopping Event’. Capital Shopping Centres’ owned Chapelfield. which attracts 40-60 children plus their parents and grandparents for a few hours of creative fun. town centre. police. MPs and business leaders to discuss the centre’s involvement in the community and opportunities for growth and improvement throughout the area. Stakeholder relationships 2 http://purpleapple. It is represented on Take a Pride in Glenrothes group that has been successfully involved in many environmental and community projects in and around the area over the years. Another example is Westfield Derby. students are given exclusive evening entry to the shopping centre where they benefit from the likes of double student discounts.asp?type=3&category =0&seq=0 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 33 . The centre also hosts a monthly forum for local councillors. The centre pays the salary of an additional police officer. for example. Many of the centre’s events raise money for charity including a catwalk show in aid of Help Fife Animals and the 2012 Great Glenrothes Hippo Parade for Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). (See the case study in Chapter 4. regularly plays host to a Student Lock-In event. aims to play an active and responsible role in its community while making a significant economic contribution. Nearby is HMP Norwich. Land Securities’ owned St David’s. older and disabled people. Cardiff. Rather than dealing with the symptoms of crime. a prison made up largely of offenders from Norfolk. Community involvement through specific events generates footfall.2 The Kingdom Shopping Centre at Glenrothes is a good example of a shopping centre that is fully integrated into community life – see the following case study. meaning that those who re-offend on release are likely to do so in Chapelfield’s community.5. giveaways and promotions.

The Kingdom Shopping Centre – Inspiring the community At the end of the competition Glenrothes MSP and Presiding Officer (Speaker) of the Scottish Parliament. Tricia Marwick. making the project eligible for grant funding. The calendar was on sale at the centre and local libraries with profits helping fund future hippo projects. decorated by local college students. the Kingdom Shopping Centre serves as the town centre and is the prime retailing location for the area. One of the shopping centre’s most impressive community projects in recent times has been ‘The Great Glenrothes Hippo Parade’. As there is no high street. Such was the success of the Great Glenrothes Hippo Parade that it was a winner in the BCSC Purple Apple Marketing Awards 2012 for community relations. the original hippos were given another makeover before being back on parade with the accompaniment of 16 baby hippos decorated by local nurseries. As a result of these alliances local links were strengthened further.” The 2011 hippos were stripped back ready for use in future competitions. The Great Glenrothes Hippo Parade helped to put the Kingdom Shopping Centre firmly on the map and in people’s consciousness with a total of 8. Associate director of Retail Marketing at Capita Symonds. Strategic partnerships were established with Fife Council and Glenrothes Twin Town Association. on corporate social responsibility initiatives. Eighteen life-size hippos made from fibreglass were created and decorated by each of the town’s local primary schools and displayed throughout the centre during the summer of 2011 with the public voting for their favourite. Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS). In 2012. Anna Bluman. which was presented with a special commemorative hippo. ‘Hippopotamania’ swept through Glenrothes and across the land. says: “The Great Glenrothes Hippo Parade is an excellent example of a highly relevant local community arts project that had a real impact. It even went as far afield as Germany with the project used to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Glenrothes’ twinning with Boblingen. they were immortalised in a calendar showing them all in a variety of seasonal poses. one of Scotland’s official ‘new towns’ that was built in the 1960’s. This unusual yet enormously successful community arts project was inspired by one of the town’s most loved and iconic artworks – a series of concrete hippos. was invited by the Kingdom Shopping Centre to announce Collydean Primary's win. £52.Stakeholder relationships CASE STUDY The Kingdom Shopping Centre lies at the heart of Glenrothes. 34 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . A charity link was also added to raise funds for the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). but were not to be forgotten. minimising impact on service charge costs to retailers.000 votes cast. Having strong community links is key not only because of the centre’s central position but also because of the emphasis placed by its owners.000 of media coverage achieved and 236% increase in Facebook ‘likes’ attained.

shop fit licences)? Are risk management procedures regularly reviewed. treated as a service charge credit? Retailers feel secure at the centre Retailers’ service requests are dealt with promptly and effectively Do you have well-defined procedures for dealing efficiently with requests from retailers? Do retailers know who to contact when they have a request? Do you have targets for response times? Is the process for approving shop fit-outs simple and efficient? Property management processes are straightforward. security and customer care? Facilities for retailer staff are appropriate to the type of centre Is sufficient provision made for public and private transport for retail staff? Is there somewhere for retail staff to sit and eat during breaks? Do you provide a job vacancy board/website or employment service? Do you have procedures to ensure all retailers are aware of the health and safety procedures and their own responsibility? Do you provide training courses and facilities to assist retailers to induct. the cost of which is included in the service charge. train and retain store staff? Total points score Total score Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 35 . Do you have a policy for dealing with retailers in financial difficulty? timely and cost-effective Is the lease documentation clear and concise? The centre gives top priority to risk management and health and safety Are any fees charged to retailers fair and proportionate (e.g. tested and updated? Are disaster-recovery procedures in place. and periodically tested? Do you provide an induction course for retailers which include health and safety.Stakeholder relationships – Scorecard 5.1 RETAILER RELATIONSHIPS There is effective two-way communication with retailers BEST PRACTICE SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Do you have a retailer communication strategy? Do you have a retailers’ forum? CHECKLIST Do you have a member of staff responsible for retailer liaison? Do you take account of each retailer’s preferred means of communication? Have you taken active steps to reduce operating costs for retailers? Do you help retailers with environmental initiatives (such as recycling) and minimising consumption of resources? The centre helps retailers to manage their costs Do you share information on footfall and trading performance? Do you involve retailers in decision-making when setting service charge budgets? Are service charge budgets and accounts clear. concise and transparent? The organisation complies with the RICS Code of Practice Do the accounts show the contribution of the retailer towards marketing for Service Charges in and promotional expenditure? Commercial Properties Is there a clear statement of policy on how and where costs/income generated from commercialisation services and activities in the centre are allocated? Is income derived from promotional activity credited to the marketing expenditure budget? Do retailers say they are satisfied with the level of security provided by the centre? Are all retailers aware of the procedures for summoning assistance in an emergency? Is income derived from the provision of a service or activity.

directions. such as contact details.2 SUPPLIER RELATIONSHIPS The centre selects and retains suppliers for compatibility with its service ethos The centre works in partnership with suppliers BEST PRACTICE SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Are prospective suppliers screened to ensure they share the centre’s customer service ethos? Do you ensure you pay suppliers on time? CHECKLIST Is the performance of suppliers monitored using strict criteria including customer service delivery? Are supplier contracts structured to encourage staff retention. loyalty and investment in the contract? Do you involve the contractor supervisor(s) in your regular weekly operational management meetings? Do you have a member of staff in charge of liaison with suppliers? Do you encourage a ‘one-team approach’? For example. by encouraging staff to feel they work for the centre (as well as their employer). There is effective two-way communication with suppliers Do you check whether suppliers are clear about who to speak with if they have a query? The centre gives suppliers training and information to help them do their job and make them feel part of the shopping centre Do you give cleaners.Stakeholder relationships – Scorecard 5. trading hours. security guards and maintenance staff training in customer service? Do you keep contract partner staff informed by cascading all relevant information to ensure they understand what you require from them? Does the uniform worn by security staff and other contract partners convey the appropriate image and branding? Do you give information cards to staff to help them answer customers’ queries. and details of forthcoming events promotions? The centre targets the performance of suppliers effectively and rewards it appropriately Do you give staff the tools and the authority to offer more than expected to shoppers and retailers? Have you agreed well-defined service performance targets (service level agreements) with suppliers? Do you incentivise performance through a reward structure? Do you have a system for managing under-performance? Do you recognise and celebrate exemplary service performance by suppliers and their staff? Total points score Total score 36 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres .

3 COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS The centre is part of the local community BEST PRACTICE Does the shopping centre management team take an active role within the local community? Are clear links fostered between the shopping centre and the town centre (high street)? Is the shopping centre an active member of a town centre partnership or Town Team? Is there collaboration between the local police and centre security? CHECKLIST SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Is there clear signage between the shopping centre and the rest of the town? The centre takes part in charitable initiatives The centre supports local education Do you support local charities and allow fund-raising within the centre? Do you get involved with local schools? Do you permit local charities to use space in the centre for meetings or activities? Do you advertise and participate in local events and community activities? Do you encourage older children and students to carry out educational and research projects in the centre? Total points score Stakeholder total Total score Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 37 .5.

RETAILER FEEDBACK Retail occupiers rating as good or excellent (%) 100 90 80 88 78 74 66 59 67 64 63 85% 37 31 21 COMMUNICATION 80 71 RETAIL OCCUPIER OVERALL SATISFACTION AS A RETAILER 70 60 50 40 33 35 31 30 20 10 0 15 18 16 SATISFACTION WITH BRITISH LAND VALUE FOR MONEY SERVICE CHARGE RESPONSIVENESS UNDERSTANDING NEEDS SATISFACTION WITH MANAGING AGENTS “BRITISH LAND IS A VERY FLEXIBLE COMPANY THAT UNDERSTANDS RETAIL. CUSTOMER SATISFACTION The ability of a shopping centre and shopping centre owners to track changes in customer satisfaction – which includes shoppers. understanding and anticipating their needs and helping them to achieve their objectives by providing modern accommodation in prime locations. when Land Securities conducted a second independent retail property directors’ study three years after the first. store managers and estate surveyors.Enhance the transparency of our midyear reviews and forecasts. understanding retailers’ needs and overall performance as a landlord. adaptable to changing formats. . efficient management and creative thinking. it found that the action it had taken was having a measurable impact on retailer satisfaction. we carried out our fourth independent UK retailer survey. keep focused and motivate their staff.” Estates Surveyor. fashion retailer LEASE CODE WHAT WE’LL DO NEXT Based on retailer feedback.britishland. retailers. service standards and business performance. RETAILER CHARTER WE PLAN TO DEVELOP A RETAILER CHARTER TO DRIVE SERVICE EXCELLENCE WITHIN OUR SUPPLY CHAIN CUTTING ENERGY COSTS | 2 3 www. forward thinking owners and managers.” Home and garden retailer PROPERTY MANAGEMENT 2007 2009 2011 Industry average (Occupier Satisfaction Survey 2011 where comparable and otherwise Occupier Satisfaction Index 2009) RealService carried out 236 telephone interviews with property directors. For example.Chapter Performance measurement What gets measured gets improved Have you ever thought why top performing athletes and their coaches are so obsessed with measuring performance? The answer is simple: without regular measurement and analysis performance cannot be maximised and could drift down.Develop a new Retailer Charter to drive service excellence throughout our supply chain. It seems that other landlords are seeing the benefit of this and are starting to copy them. Organisations that introduce and run annual programmes to measure customer satisfaction are able to drive their business performance. A third study in April 2011 showed that Land Securities had established a market-leading position in terms of satisfaction among retail property directors.Continue to actively manage costs whilst maintaining high standards. Using performance measurement is as important in the world of customer experience as it is in the world of sport. as you can go and talk to them and they will listen. The ‘overall satisfaction as a retailer’ question was new in 2011 and so does not feature in the above chart. AND WE CONSISTENTLY OUTPERFORM INDUSTRY AVERAGES. Traditionally the focus of the real estate industry has been on financial metrics like rental growth. SERVICE CHARGES In 2011. through smart procurement.Reinvigorate our key account programme to understand and support our retailers in a difficult economic climate. This was evidenced by increasing levels of satisfaction in the important areas of communication. income returns and vacancy rates but increasingly. 6 In 2011 British Land conducted its fourth independent UK retailer survey3 resulting in detailed plans for improvement based on the retailer feedback given. . “I think that British Land is a model landlord. year-end statements and insurance renewal reports. An overview of the survey results is shown below: RETAIL SURVEY 2011 OVERVIEW OVERVIEW 85% OF OUR RETAIL OCCUPIERS RATE THEIR OVERALL SATISFACTION AS A RETAILER AS GOOD OR EXCELLENT. staff and other stakeholders – is an essential part of any management programme to improve business relationships. we will: .pdf 38 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . .com/files/pdf/bl_retail_survey_2011. Those that do not have accurate service performance measures are ‘flying blind’ and without accurate feedback they cannot track progress and drive improvement. We aim to be the partner of choice for retailers. are adopting service performance measures alongside. This gave them confidence that the methods adopted delivered results. THEY PROVIDE A SERVICE TO HELP US MAXIMISE OUR BUSINESS.

The programme was rolled out during autumn 2008 across the portfolio which includes MetroCentre. number of community events the centre is involved in. the success of which are measured in the following year’s survey. West Thurrock. adds: “We really appreciate the tangible measured feedback the study gives us. to spot high achievers and to share best practice throughout the organisation. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPI’s) KPI’s are a small number of agreed-upon measurements that reflect your organisation’s critical goals for success. Remember: “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count. Pereira says: “The annual retailer satisfaction survey has helped us to drive our customer service agenda and ensure our activities are targeted towards the changes that our customers most value. It’s also helpful that we can make year on year comparisons. Commercial Director Trevor Pereira says: “The annual retailer satisfaction survey has helped us to drive our customer service agenda and ensure our activities are targeted towards the changes that our customers most value.) CSC. which proved the effectiveness of the methodology chosen and reporting required. CSC commissioned a pilot independent survey of retailer satisfaction at one shopping centre. In 2008. Over the years.” Capital Shopping Centres – Improvement by measurement Performance measurement Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 39 . For example.” (See the following case study. The report is a massive tool for the management team to use to improve performance. number of customer email addresses collected monthly for marketing purposes. However. British Land and Land Securities use the results of their retailer satisfaction studies to benchmark their service performance at shopping centre and portfolio level. objective. They are measurable. everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted” – Albert Einstein. Stoke on Trent. Gateshead and Lakeside. CASE STUDY On arrival at CSC.” Paul Francis. Commercial Director Trevor Pereira reviewed the way the company’s existing approach to customer feedback and identified the opportunity to introduce a more objective measure. the annual survey programme has enabled CSC to identify whether service is being provided to retailers in a consistent way across the portfolio. Centre management teams use the results to produce customised action plans to improve their service to retailers. etc.Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) has been measuring retailer satisfaction across its shopping centre portfolio since 2008. You can measure anything your shopping centre cares about. percentage of staff ideas that are turned into actions. General Manager at The Potteries. the real value is in the discussion of results with your team. We look forward to re-measuring our performance every year and seeing how our programme to raise service standards is working. It tells us where we are doing well and where we need to work harder. not the numbers themselves. and actionable. We look forward to re-measuring our performance every year and seeing how our programme to raise service standards is working.

Journey . through entering recognise customer service excellence? award schemes The organisation analyses.Facilities . carbon footprint) Do you measure retailer and shopper satisfaction in a systematic way? Do you have a reward system which encourages the achievement of customer satisfaction targets? Do you publish your customer service performance to staff.Retailer relationships . SCORE YOUR SCORE MAX.Experience Total customer experience 40 38 30 26 SCORECARD SECTION 28 38 66 30 162 Stakeholder relationships: .g. quality and accuracy of order and value-for-money of the food and drink offer at the centre? The centre measures retailer satisfaction Do you check retailers’ satisfaction with communication and set targets for improvement? Do you monitor how well requests for service are handled? Do you check retailers’ satisfaction with the centre’s responsiveness to their requests? Do you measure retailers’ satisfaction with the centre management team? The centre uses benchmarking Do you benchmark customer satisfaction with other shopping centres. SCORE The organisation provides regular and transparent reporting on customer service WHAT IS YOUR TOTAL SCORE? Service culture Understanding customers People and management SCORECARD SECTION YOUR SCORE Customer experience: . retailers and shoppers? Do you monitor consumption of utilities and recycling rates and set targets for waste-reduction? BEST PRACTICE CHECKLIST External recognition is actively Have you entered the BCSC ACE Awards or other programmes that sought e.Supplier relationships .g.Performance measurement – Scorecard SCORE FULLY PARTIAL NONE 2pts 1pt 0pts Monitor and report on corporate Do you set clear corporate responsibility targets and report your progress responsibility (CR) activities to your stakeholders? Monitor and reports on its environmental performance The organisation measures customer satisfaction Good customer service is rewarded Do you set clear environmental targets and report your progress to your stakeholders? (e. and to improve service set targets for improvement? Do you compare footfall data and sales performance with other shopping centres? Does the clarity of information published improve each year? Do you measure the overall satisfaction level of retailers. shares and uses statistics to drive improvements Do you share footfall and sales figures with store managers? Do you analyse footfall into the centre and into key stores? The organisation demonstrates Do you use mystery shoppers to independently monitor the customer experience? that it understands the needs Do you set targets for improvements in mystery shopper feedback? of its customers Do you monitor customer satisfaction with the availability.Community relationships Total stakeholder relationships Performance measurement Total score 60 34 20 114 44 414 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres .Communication . suppliers. and set targets for improvement? Do you benchmark retailer satisfaction levels with other shopping centres? Do you publish your service performance to internal and external stakeholders? Total points score Total score MAX.

Shopping centre managers have for a long time also used a multichannel approach to communicating with customers. Retailers are responding with a multichannel approach.) Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 41 . Shopping centres and retailers are embracing rapid advancements in technological innovation to enhance the customer experience including. The last five years has however seen a radical change in the way that shoppers and other stakeholders want to receive information and to communicate. However. if you are using social media primarily as a sales tool. which can provide assistance when shoppers have queries.Chapter Social media and technology Watch the birdie Shoppers are embracing technology and social media and changing the way they shop. for example: • • • • • • mobile phone apps offers sent directly to customers’ phones interactive shop windows digital signage customised to each shopper interactive touch screens mobile phone enabled websites. For example. shopping centres should also see this is as a customer services tool. bombarding them with information that is not relevant or helpful will just annoy. reserving and making purchases on line in ever increasing numbers alongside the traditional shopping trip. retailers and shopping centres are now using a variety of social media platforms to communicate. Your shopping centre can be greatly enhanced or irrefutably damaged by pleasing or offending your customers – and it is not difficult to offend and alienate your customers through an unstructured. to invite responses. (See the CrownGate case study that follows. there is a clear opportunity for shopping centres to engage with customers using these methods with a view to creating another positive dimension to the customer experience. Customers. promote and share their shopping experiences. poorly thought-through communications campaign. A clear strategy is crucial in determining how. They are researching. when and what methods are best used. including for example: • • • • • tweeting blogging posting reviews on websites posting videos on YouTube liking and sharing things on Facebook 7 Although social media platforms and the use of mobile phone and digital technologies are relatively recent forms of marketing and communication and there is still a lot to learn about their best use. This presents both a challenge and opportunity for shopping centre managers. If there is an element of fun in the communications it also helps to create a positive and memorable experience. Social media in particular is a great way to find out what is on your customers’ minds. listen to their opinions and put your own thoughts forwards to enhance your business’s reputation and brand.

) Your strategy should have clear objectives and systems in place for monitoring and measurement and provide answers to the following questions: • What do you want to use social media and technology for? • How exactly will the experience of the customer be improved? • What will be the impact and outcomes from its use at each stage of the customer journey? • How will social media and technological activities help improve the centre’s relationship and role within the community? • How will suppliers be involved? • What will be the role of consultants and other experts? Shoppers like to receive information that is relevant to their lives and interests. kids’ entertainment and music performances. almost instant response. BUDGETING AND OPERATIONS Budgets: There are costs involved in developing and implementing a social media and technology strategy including: • In-house staff • Suppliers • Technology – hardware and software • Specialist consultants These need to be clearly set out in the strategy along with clarification about financing and where the budget sits. STRATEGY Your social media and technology strategy should tie in with your strategies for marketing and customer service. creating bespoke platforms for dialogue with consumers and the wider community. It looks at whether those centres that are engaging in social media activity are doing it well and positioning themselves as brands in their own right.bcsc. and to receive news quickly. for example. It is important to be aware that social media has created the expectation of a personal. (See the following case study. details about new offers at their favourite shops and events such as fashion shows.asp?pub_id=450 42 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres .uk/ publication. 4 Social Media: Do We Really Know What We Are Doing?. CrownGate QR (short for Quick Response) is a bespoke code based offers system that enables retailers to upload offers themselves in real-time and in direct response to trading conditions through CrownGate’s website. rather than simply supporting their occupiers’ product promotions. 2011. Our aim in this section is to set out the thinking required to develop a social media and technology strategy that will enhance the customer Customers should be segmented so that they receive targeted and relevant information. It was introduced as part of a marketing review that involved moving centre communications online in light of diminished effectiveness and fragmentation of traditional medial channels. Social Media: Do We Really Know What We Are Doing? 4 explores the benefits for shopping centres in engaging through social media and how its value can be measured. How shopping centres provide one-to-one customer service via social media to hundreds or even thousands of people each week remains a challenge.Social media and technology This section draws on research undertaken on behalf of BCSC about the role of social media in shopping centres. www. For example.

You should ask: • Is the activity adding value to the customer? If so. A resource plan should be made which considers how many people and how much time needs to be allocated to deliver the objectives for social media and technological activity.Operations: You should be clear about who is responsible for what areas in your use of social media and technology. by monitoring redemption of vouchers you can determine which offers are of most value to customers).g.g. • control of content in line with culture and core values. and when and where the content appears such as a media map. • What information has been gathered that you can use to enhance the customer experience further? (e. The likely cross-over between marketing and customer service activity means that thought needs to be given as to where the management responsibility for social media and technology should sit. which should include service performance and financial measures. Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 43 . Twitter. The skills required for the management roles and delivery roles need to be identified before individuals are appointed. and • What are people saying on each platform (e. which sets out processes such as how to deal with customer comments and complaints EVALUATION AND MONITORING The outcomes of any social media and technological activity should be evaluated by setting and measuring objectives. • a formal agreement with retailer partners on redistributing their social media and digital content – duplicate information being sent out should be avoided. a photo sharing website). Other people who are not directly involved may also need to be trained so that they know how to deal with issues that may arise as a result of social media and technological activities.g. how? Social media and technology PEOPLE AND RESOURCE Social media and technological activities should be properly managed and controlled by those involved who are technically competent and up to speed. Where individuals do not possess the skills to the levels required. Facebook. There should be: • a clear line of management responsibility for approving activities and documents • clear guidelines on application. Pinterest. including whether any expert partners are required to help implement the strategy. a training plan should be set out and implemented. YouTube) about the shopping centre? • Can new social media applications be identified which are interesting customers? (e.

hobbies.” The Brewery has been able to breakdown its digital database into different audiences. simple and cost-effective way to provide its customers with information. and progress is monitored throughout. We set really SMART (Specific.” As part of the process. Crucially. When West Ham went back to the Premiership this year. Facebook and database marketing are used to engage parents. Realistic. Links to blogs and fansites are used to develop the viral message. having a conversation with them and ensuring that any information we do send out benefits them and improves their experience of the scheme. “It’s about engaging with customers.” It is also proving a useful tool in promoting events at The Brewery. Measurable. We are always looking at how we can grow the conversation. the number of Facebook and Twitter followers they wish to achieve. Timely responses. For example. was looking for a quick. Timescales) objectives and KPIs for everything we do. the weather or the latest sporting achievement. Users don’t restrict their usage to office hours and so we can’t restrict our management either. Key Lime Director Karen Brooks explains: “Social media management is a 24/7 role. Brooks concludes: “Social media provides an instant. The solution was to develop the centre’s social media activity. the annual talent search aimed at young musicians is marketed and executed predominately as a digital exercise with potential entrants sought via a dedicated page on Facebook that links to the website where they can sign up. interests. Romford. targeted and valued. direct connection to your customers. Since then Facebook and other forms of social media including Twitter and Pinterest (a pinboard-style social photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events. increase our followers and deliver benefits to our shoppers and our tenants. many retailers contribute to the The Brewery – The Facebook revolution centre’s so called After School Club. KPIs are set at the start of each year including. Twitter. Achievable.” To ensure clarity of message. whatever day it is. one person at communications company Key Lime is dedicated to managing The Brewery’s social media activity. offering discounts to families to boost trade during a quiet period of the day. Brooks says that social media should not be used to bombard people with sales messages. ensuring that its offers and messages are relevant.Social media and technology CASE STUDY Three years ago the management team at The Brewery. and more) have become a key element of The Brewery’s annual marketing strategy. it needed to be delivered in a way that customers wished to receive it. for example. Online mechanisms including. retailers are consulted on the programme at dedicated meetings and have opportunities to contribute to content. Centre Director Rubie Charalambous. Brooks adds: “Social media activity isn’t just about the scheme – it’s a great way to find out what’s on customers’ minds – be it TV. Linking with matters of social interest such as TV programme The Only Way is Essex expands the audience and encourages customer interaction. says: “It needs to be really specific right down to the last detail before I start the programme. are imperative. we had some great interactions through picking up on the local online buzz. For example.” 44 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . starting with Facebook.

as well as providing shoppers with enhanced fashion-led content and regular day-today shopping centre information. Believed to be the first such system used by any shopping centre in the UK.” Social media and technology Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres 45 .” CASE STUDY When The Crown Estate-owned CrownGate shopping centre. General Manager of CrownGate. As a result retailers’ imaginations were fired with attendance at retailer meetings up from half a dozen to 28.” The mobile-enabled. enabling retailers to upload offers themselves in real-time. Offers can also be printed from the website. It was part of a process to move centre Communications online in light of diminished effectiveness and fragmentation of traditional media channels. ‘CrownGate QR’ was the perfect solution. music and live QR demonstrations. Using the power of rapidly-advancing mobile technologies. says: “Occupier education was critical to the success of CrownGate QR as it enabled them to take responsibility for their businesses and empower then to communicate with their customers.3% Facebook virality – way above the worldwide median rate of 1. Worcester. Almost half of the centre’s 70 retailers participated from the start.” Sue Bown. concludes: “CrownGate QR allows all retailers – from major multiples to small independents – to compete more effectively in a growing culture of aggressive discounting.“The level of retailer engagement that we now have following CrownGate QR is outstanding. shoppers can scan codes to access the offers using smartphones. Severn Communications. now a key focus of centre communications. the level of retailer engagement that we now have across all aspects of the marketing mix following CrownGate QR is outstanding. generating more than 100 offers in just eight weeks – reinvigorating the customer experience and increasing football by 13% in the process. was delivered in tandem with the launch of CrownGate QR.9%. style-focused website behind QR also delivered additional online engagement opportunities with website hits up by 50% and 14. In addition. Most satisfying is that we are now communicating with the right audience at the right level. recognised it needed to add value to the shopping experience while at the same time engage better with retailers. A new interactive website akin to a media channel was also developed for the centre. CrownGate QR was developed with specialist marketing agency. empowering them use the system themselves. Burlace says: “The growth of smartphone use and apps meant that CrownGate QR was something we had to do. Free Wi-Fi was installed across the centre so that shoppers could use their smartphones at every turn quite a challenge at a two site centre! CrownGate – Quick Response – Discounting that engages retailers A key part of the implementation strategy was a pro-active engagement programme with retailers involving a series of regular one-to-one and technical help sessions. to capitalise on enhanced levels of shopper engagement. CrownGate QR was launched with great fanfare at the ‘Great Big Value Event’. Erica Burlace. CrownGate QR (short for Quick Response) is a bespoke code based offers system that enables retailers to upload offers themselves in real-time and in direct response to trading conditions through CrownGate’s website. It has removed any barriers that existed before. featuring promotions. It has removed any barriers that existed before. which had never happened before. Director at Severn Communications. A major overhaul of the centre’s Facebook page.

We hope you will be inspired by the case studies and other materials in this guide to make your mark on society by improving the service that you deliver to your customers and stakeholders. iPad or smartphone. personalised customer service in centres and individual stores. owners. 46 Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres . Ultimately this will bring benefits for the society in which we live – more choice. requires a highly strategic and cohesive approach to customer service and the overall customer experience. politicians. shoppers and community leaders. To give people good reason to switch their computers and phones off and physically take themselves to a shopping centre. The centres and organisations featured as case studies in this guide are already creating a point of difference for their businesses around customer experience. A holistic approach to customer care is required. One of the ways that shopping centres can rival online shopping is to exploit the basic human need for social interaction by ensuring that every time a person ventures to a shopping centre they enjoy a truly great customer experience. town centre managers. entertainment and cleanliness to the delivery of great.Chapter The future “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” – Mahatma Gandhi Consumers no longer have to go to the trouble of shopping at a shopping centre or on the high street because they can purchase what they want – often for less money and considerably less effort – whenever they want from their desktop. It requires commitment from everyone involved in the future prosperity of our shopping centres including centre management teams. embracing everything from the quality of public transport and ease of parking to signage. recognising the huge financial and reputational benefits it can bring. more jobs and improved wellbeing. developers. retailers. 8 Items are delivered to their home or place of work the very next day or people simply ‘click-and-collect’ if they live life on the move.

Acknowledgements We would like to thank the following for their participation and support in this study: Grace Bagster Steve Belam Anna Bluman Sue Bown Karen Brooks Alison Burdis Erica Burlace Rubie Charalambous Andrew Davy John Gray Perminder Dhillon Jemma Fern Louise Freethy Rose Hobson Sean Kelly Elisa Linley Andrew McMillan Tom Nathan Deborah Owen-Ellis Clark Sandra Parr Trevor Pereira Nigel Sarbutts Justin Snoxall Lance Stanbury David Tudor Morgan David Woodman Jackson Square The Oracle Capita Symonds Severn Communications Key Lime PR & Marketing Westfield Derby CrownGate The Brewery The Mall Pavilions John Gray Service Charges Ltd Kingfisher Shopping Centre Gunwharf Quays RealService Best Practice Group Kazoo pr4property Gunwharf Quays Engaging Service Brent Cross Shopping Centre The Bee Group GBM Support Services Capital Shopping Centres Brand Alert British Land Mall Management Solutions British Land PRUPIM . w: www. Westminster.real-service. Pinner. Kingsbridge House. London. HA5 5LX t: 020 3393 9603 w: www. SW1H 9BT t: 0207 222 1122 e: trust@bcsc.bcsc. 1 Queen Anne’s . 130 Marsh ISBN number: 1 897958 54 4 Designed and produced by FourthQuarter.Creating outstanding customer experience in shopping centres A BEST PRACTICE GUIDE BCSC Educational Trust.