Engineering the right environment to deliver excellent customer experience

Engineering the right environment to deliver excellent customer experience

After several years of soul searching in the light of rapidly rising online sales, our retail centres are making a comeback.  Retailers as well as centre owners and managers have recognised that they need to focus on delivering an experience that can’t be matched online – customers no longer simply want the convenience of having multiple operators selling their wares alongside each other, but demand a dynamic, engaging and personal environment in which they can socialise and explore.

Teams that bring a centre to life

To meet the online challenge, retail and leisure destinations across the UK are investing heavily in market research to understand the shifting needs of their customers. This in turn is enabling operators to reposition their offer and to promote it through advertising, social media and public relations to attract new and existing customers.

However, promoting centres only half of the story. Our role is to put together a tailored customer experience strategy which ensures that teams – from traditional customer service representatives to maintenance, washroom, car parking and security personnel – deliver services that keep a centre running smoothly and looking its best at all times.

Focusing on the customer journey

To do this, we need to put ourselves in the position of the customer. When looking at how we manage centres, we need to understand and map the journeys around the venue and then make sure that all of these trips are the best that they can be – in terms of environment, ease of navigation and the availability of services along any given route.

Exceptional customer service

Getting the physical environment right is fundamental to delivering a great customer experience, but it’s the centre team that really makes the difference – delivering a quality of service and dynamic human interaction that can never be matched online.

In today’s digital age, customers expect to be able to find the answer to an enquiry at the touch of a button and our job is to provide a similarly rapid service in-centre. We make sure that every member of the team sees themselves as a customer-facing, being able to provide directions, information and advice to members of the public.

Planning for evolution

Successful modern retail and leisure destinations must continually evolve to keep up with new trends and to maintain engagement from customers. Our approach to managing services and facilities must therefore be equally flexible while still providing a constant and excellent customer experience.

Managing change in this way will ensure that our centres continue to thrive – delivering a consistently high quality of customer experience that keeps people coming back time and time again.

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Tina Hobart

Tina Hobart, is the head of customer experience - commercial, at Interserve.