C&R first to train entire front line team in a new WorldHost customer service module
Capital & Regional has become the first UK shopping centre business to train its entire front line team in a new customer service module from WorldHost, the world-class programme responsible for training staff at the London Olympics in 2012. “Given the current climate, we recognise how quickly Covid-19 management protocols in our centres may need to change. We want to instil confidence within our communities that we are taking every possible step to keep guests safe. As a customer-facing business, a core part of this is ensuring our staff are trained to adapt to changes and maintain safe shopping and working environments,” says Sara Jennings, Director of Guest & Customer Experience, Capital & Regional.
309 staff, including the entire guest experience team across all of Capital & Regional’s seven UK shopping centres, have successfully completed the training, known as WorldHost 2020, devised to empower staff with the knowledge and tools to keep guests and colleagues safe beyond Covid-19 and drive positive behaviours in a rapidly changing customer facing environment.
C&R’s relationship with WorldHost spans 4 years, with the company retaining WorldHost Recognition status since 2017, which recognises company-wide investment in customer service.
BRINGING PLEASURE BACK TO SHOPPING
All of Capital & Regional’s guest experience teams are also undergoing training which will enable them to adapt their interactions with guests to the new world of retail created by Covid-19, while being mindful of the communications barriers imposed by mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing. The WorldHost 2020 ‘Keeping Customers Safe’ training programme covers key elements of customer service and reassurance behaviours, such as greeting guests enthusiastically, and improving guest interaction via eye contact, while offering a sincere and friendly smile behind face coverings. The training also covers important requirements such as respecting personal space and providing clear instructions to guests to reassure them of the safety measures in place across the centres.
Kate Thursfield, National Guest Experience Manager at Capital & Regional, says that the new responsibilities of shopping centre teams during Covid-19 go well beyond dealing with issues related to social distancing and cleaning protocols. “There is a need to bring comfort and pleasure back to the shopping experience, which requires our teams to recognise behavioural changes amongst guests and have the training and knowledge to uphold excellent customer service standards, while adhering to new restrictions on human contact. The WorldHost 2020 programme has been instrumental in preparing our centre teams through training to handle behavioural changes and meet health, safety and hygiene requirements, while our Safe Place Champion initiative has provided an ambassador for ensuring the wellbeing of everyone within our centres.”
Safe Place Champion is a new role created by Capital & Regional in response to Covid-19, which includes staff training on issues specifically related to creating a safe environment for guests, employees, visitors, and contractors, including managing occupancy levels, social distancing and hygiene protocols.
Thursfield added “With the government’s three-tiered alert system now in place, boosting consumer awareness and confidence in our communities is more important than ever. The WorldHost accreditation and the work of our Safe Place Champions are at the heart of our approach to health and safety across all of our shopping centres, reassuring guests and staff that we are doing everything possible to create a safe environment.”
Jayne Gardiner, Specialist Guest Experience Trainer at JG Consulting said “In these challenging times it is vital that front line teams appreciate and understand how key their role is in boosting consumer confidence. This is achieved through exploring new ways of welcoming and reassuring our guests of the measures in place to ensure their visit to the centre is as safe and pleasurable as possible”.
Jane Rexworthy, Executive Director of People 1st International – the company responsible for developing the WorldHost 2020 programme comments:
“We’re delighted to see Capital & Regional achieve the WorldHost 2020 badge in recognition of training their front line teams in the knowledge, skills and behaviours to meet and greet customers with confidence, warmth and a smile – assured they are doing the right things to protect themselves and their guests.
This achievement will give the public reassurance that investment in personal protection and social safety measures are in place – giving a symbol of great practice post Covid-19, addressing fears, expectations and building consumer confidence.”
ADAPTING FOR THE FUTURE
C&R has demonstrated agility and innovation in adapting its operations since lockdown measures were first introduced in the UK, ensuring that its centres can continue to safely provide the local community with essential goods and services. In addition to world-class training and community engagement initiatives, Capital & Regional launched a new partnership with Sensormatic Solutions in June to adapt its ShopperTrak technology to not only monitor individual centre footfall occupancy levels in real time, but provide general managers with real-time notifications. This has enabled Capital & Regional’s centre teams to adapt daily operations efficiently and effectively as footfall levels fluctuate.
The Safe Place Champion job description
- Fully conversant with government guidelines on 2m social distancing rule with the exception of those from the same household
- Clear understanding of the centre’s capacity management traffic light alert system
- Full knowledge of the centre’s directional flow mapping and any potential hotspots
- Aware of C&R keeping safe recommendations in respect of PPE wearing and disposal
- Clear understanding of hand washing and sanitising protocols and locations, throughout the centre
- Aware of measures in place regarding kitchen use, storing food in refrigerators, and not making food or drink for others
- Aware of the centre policy in relation to passenger numbers in lifts, and which guests to be given priority
- Aware of the centre policy on the safe use of escalators for complying with the 2m social distancing rule
- Aware of the centre policy on the safe use of guest facilities for complying with the 2m social distancing rule
- Aware of the centre policy on the safe use of car park payment machines complying with the 2m social distancing rule
- Fully aware of the touch points and additional cleaning measures/hygiene controls in place
- Aware of the appropriate action to take in the event of an incident or disruption, including centre evacuation and first aid incident procedures to be followed
- Aware that if they are informed of a suspect case, then the information must be dealt with sensitively and passed to the Duty Manager without delay
- Understands the importance of positive behaviours, clear communication, and guest /customer experience to the centre
- Ability to deliver clear concise information and guidance, providing guests with up-to-date advice and support as required
- Proactively manages mall population density during trading hours, avoiding clustering in high demand areas, reporting any concerns through to the duty manager
- Implements control measures to manage access and egress to the centre, as instructed by the capacity traffic light alert system/Duty Density Manager
- Carries out visual observation of guest movement and their ability to maintain social distancing
- Safely disperses guests who are congregating, to ensure social distancing is maintained
- Acts as a greeter to guests, welcoming them to the centre
- Identifies emerging situations and escalates to management
- Communicates with confidence and calm authority
- Monitors and report, completing checklists/documentation as required
- Encourages guests to act responsively
- Monitors team’s adherence to PPE wearing & disposal as appropriate
- Demonstrates behaviours and practices, which support positive health & hygiene
- Keeps footfall density dynamic and fluid, wherever possible
- Completed WH2020 Keeping Customers Safe programme
- Attained a minimum of 80% in WH2020 online assessment
- Maintains a positive attitude, remaining guest/customer focused
- Treats guests, customers and colleagues with respect and courtesy
- Reacts and responds quickly and calmly
- Listens to guests/customers views, concerns, ideas and provides feedback to centre management
- Actively communicates with guests, customers, colleagues, visitors, and contractors, advising of the enhanced cleaning routines and increased hygiene controls implemented within the centre
- Remains aware and alert, observing body language and behaviour of guests, customers, and colleagues at all times