AMP Capital Shopping Centres (AMPCSC) conducted market research into what the key elements of the shopping centre experience are and found that service staff are fundamentally important to engaging customers and the overall customer experience.
To address this AMPCSC have implemented their ‘Inspiring Moments’ initiative which holds every member of staff accountable for their interactions with customers in order to create a sense of urgency, as opportunities to help and deliver exceptional experiences within shopping centres are fleeting. AMPCSC’s innovative Inspiring Moments program has been recognised as a leading program, winning the Customer Service Institute of Australia Service Excellence Award for large business.
Ahead of the Customer Advocacy and Complaints Resolution Summit 2017 we chat to Anthony Saunders, National Customer Experience Manager at AMP Capital Shopping Centres, whose portfolio includes the Gold Coast’s Pacific Fair, Sydney’s Macquarie Centre and Western Australia’s Garden City and Karrinyup Shopping Centre.
In this article Anthony shares with us details of AMP’s Inspiring Moments initiatives and explores how they’ve worked to embed a culture that delivers exceptional experiences for customers.
Creating Exceptional Experiences
Back in 2009, prior to launching our Inspiring Moments initiative we were looking for a way to differentiate ourselves within the marketplace. To do this we set ourselves a purpose – to create inspiring shopping experiences for our customers.
Our next step was to determine how to go about achieving this. Following a period of market research we determined that service staff (security, cleaners, help desk staff etc.) were fundamentally important to the overall customer experience within our centres, as often they, along with our retailers obviously, were the ones coming into direct contact with customers.
While we had little influence over retail staff, we had a much stronger influence over our contract staff, those being the cleaners, security guards, maintenance, landscapers, basically everyone who works within the mall common areas and interacts face-to-face with customers. Interestingly while we had KPI’s around quality service delivery for our contractors there was no mention of customer experience, which is a huge weakness in an industry like ours.
To rectify this we developed an initiative that fundamentally changed the culture among our frontline staff, instead embedding a culture that encouraged them to work differently and to seek opportunities to interact and provide exceptional service for our shoppers. This initiative ties in nicely with our $2.5 billion development pipeline rollout which is a major transformational development of key centres that we, to take the hotel analogy, are taking from a three-and-a-half-star to a five-star product, and as a result require premium service standards to support this transition.
Transforming Service Culture
Through our Inspiring Moments initiative we worked to evolve our relationship with our contractors through a greater focus on service, training and experience. To assist with the transition, and ensure staff buy-in, we’ve seamlessly brought frontline staff on board with the culture transformation through a series of workshops and roadshows, and have further introduced a ‘reward and recognition’ strategy, which plays a key role in the entire Inspiring Moments initiative.
Since rolling the initiative out in 2011 we’ve had some amazing Inspiring Moment Stories shared with us so clearly the initiative is working. It really motivates staff to take ownership and empowers them to go above and beyond their usual tasks. As a result it has created a greater sense of belonging for them in their work lives and ensures, that while they’re contract staff, they truly feel as though they’re part of the AMP Capital family.
Ocean Keys - Perth, WA 2016 Annual Winning Story
"Karin is an incredible example of going far beyond her role and surprising a visitor to Ocean Keys. A customer was visiting Perth to attend a funeral and mentioned in passing that she hadn’t organised accommodation and didn’t know where to stay. She was amazed when Karin offered to help. Karin suggested the lady finish her shopping and return to the information desk when she was done. By then Karin had printed out a comprehensive list of accommodation options in the area, including phone numbers, addresses and even availability. Karin delighted the customer and managed to make a sad situation that little bit easier."
As we’ve worked so hard to create this culture of belonging over the years, staff retention, engagement and wellbeing has improved, and the collation of stories, and what staff are doing in terms of providing exceptional customer experiences, really has surpassed all our initial expectations.
While the initiative has heralded a number of benefits from a staff and brand perspective we have also seen an improvement in our customer experience scores too, which ultimately, in an industry like ours, is key.
we track and monitor this progress in a range of ways. Our NPS (Net Promoter Score) and ratings for example are provided through our customer service desk, through our digital directories at centre level, from general customer feedback and surveys. Since launching the initiative we’ve seen scores across our portfolio improve and the feedback we receive on our social pages reflects this too.