Larger shopping centres should feature a customer service station within the common area. This is to assist customers with any needs or challenges when it comes to visiting the property or finding the right tenant.
The customer service station will usually be a booth strategically positioned within the central common area where most shoppers and customers pass by. The station or booth will typically be staffed by one or more people. The cost of manning the booth should be merged into the centre management cost structure and recovered from the tenants as a justifiable outgoing. In saying that, the typical lease used with retailers will need to be structured for the recovery.
So the placement and the operation of the customer service station should be considered so that it can help customers improve their visit to the property and shopping patterns. Ultimately the tenants receive the value of this extra service through improved sales and customer visits.
So here are some factors that you can merge into the operation of the service point or booth.
- Most retail shopping centres today offer wheelchairs for the disabled to help improve their shopping experience. In larger shopping centres the wheelchairs are typically motorised for shopping convenience. The cost of purchasing these items can be considered within the marketing budget for the property each year.
- If you have a lot of younger families within your customer or shopper profile, you may like to consider mobile trolleys for children and also prams. Anything that can make the shopping process easier for young families should be encouraged.
- Also considering the younger family profile further as a customer, you can locate a child play area or drop off point conveniently in your common mall area. If this is to be the case, lease the area to a specialised and experienced Child Care Services so that the risk and liability can be handled by their specialist skills and business processes. There is also a factor of insurance that should be specially considered with this type of facility for shoppers within your shopping centre. You can handle that risk factor in the lease of the area.
- As part of a marketing budget, print and make available a series of shopping centre maps together with a list of retailers. In larger properties, this process is essential to help customers understand where they can find the products and services that they require. The maps and the tenant list can be handed out from the customer service booth.
- Immediately adjacent to the service booth, provide a public telephone, Internet access point, free wireless Internet, and a directory board. Make it easy for your customers to get the information that they require or the help that they need.
- Locate a public mailbox in the immediate vicinity of the customer service booth. The mail should be cleared every day.
- Provide a lost and found service, together with the security support for customers from this customer service point. The same point can be used for lost children and any announcements that are required to be made in the shopping mall to find the parents of lost children.
Taking all of these factors into account, you can see that the staff chosen for the customer service booth should be specifically trained in people skills, first aid, security, and tenant communication. A higher degree of customer support will be reflected in improved property profile, tenant communication, and customer interaction.