In shopping centre management, there are plenty of situations occurring each day that involve complex communications and negotiations with tenants, customers, maintenance people, and the public. The experience of the centre manager is critical in keeping the accuracy and maintaining the right direction on all professional and correct communications with all the stakeholders.
Why is this such a problem? There are challenging circumstances to work through and outcomes to achieve each day with the management of most shopping centres. The shopping centre manager should have the fullest of experience necessary for the property and its complexity. They should have the refined and special communication skills relating to each element of the property its performance as an investment.
Track all Retail Communications and Meeting Outcomes
It is easy to forget things when you get busy in centre management. Yet, there are many issues to track and communicate in a shopping centre. The requirements of shopping centre communications involve timeliness, accuracy, and legality; there is no escaping that.
It is easy to do the wrong things under pressure and without full authority of the landlord as the client; that is then not in keeping with client instructions and or legal best practice which can then lead to litigation. The results of incorrect or poor communications can be disastrous for the centre management team and the centre manager. Litigation and public risk are elements of property investment performance to be very aware of.
Here are some of the important elements of professional communication to control and work with as part of shopping centre management:
- Client contact – the owner of the property, needs to know what is happening and how things are progressing across matters relating to tenants, leases, vacancies, maintenance, and the public. The larger the property, the greater the requirement for regular property updates and a ‘paper trail’ to protect any situations and questions later. Know how the reports for property owners should be formatted and timed.
- Meetings – there will be plenty of meetings throughout the working day. Notes should be taken from all meetings, and any progress steps agreed. When something of importance is discussed, get the notes back into the important file or building record, and then ensure that the next stages of action occur as agreed.
- Follow-up – some people in the shopping centre team will need to take other steps or actions from a meeting with tenants, clients, or maintenance personnel. Ensure that the full follow-up processes are tracking progress and results achieved. When actions are required, send out reminders to the people involved to ensure that they move ahead with agreed actions.
- Risk events – know the priority issues in the property and those that could involve extended risk to customers, tenants, or maintenance people. Identify risk threats and act quickly with all risk related matters, so that liability is reduced or eliminated. There should be special responses nominated for emergency events and unplanned maintenance. Look for the things that could go wrong and plan to control that risk.
- Tenants – some tenants do not action things and or always remember what was said in meetings and as part of an occupancy meeting or tenant agreement. Documentation of and from a tenant meeting is very important. The same can be said with progress tracking.
- Leasing situations – critical dates and lease matters should be followed up with diligence to ensure that all parties are doing the required things under the terms of a lease. Seek proof or evidence of lease compliance. Ask questions to ensure that progress is happening with lease matters.
- Maintenance contractors and service providers – there will be planned and unplanned maintenance to record and action in a retail property. Budgets are involved in cost tracking; there will also be progress tracking for major works.