In 2015 we will continue to focus on our customers, to further our understanding of their business to ensure ongoing trading success.
We set out on this ambitious journey in early 2014 and after spending the better half of last year listening to our customers, mapping their journey throughout our business, and identifying pain points throughout this journey, we now have a strong understanding of our customer’s needs and the role that we play to deliver a satisfying customer experience.
A team designed around meeting the needs of our customers
At GPT we believe that a customer-centric organisation is core for driving long-term growth. With that in mind, over the past year we have made significant changes to the structure of our teams to ensure that we are well placed to develop strategic and sustainable relationships with our customers.
Firstly, our Retail Leasing team has now been structured to operate with both a dedicated sales and a dedicated service team. Part of this restructure was the creation of a new role, Director – Retail Services. This role, held by Melissa Dransfield is responsible for ensuring a seamless delivery across each key customer touch point, from lease execution, store fit-outs, store openings and ultimately a smooth transition to strong ongoing trade.
This team will take carriage of the customer journey and will be responsible for the successful on boarding of all retailers into the GPT portfolio.
We believe that the scope of this team will continue to evolve as we continue to listen and work closely with our customers.
Secondly, at a national level we created a new role within the broader Asset Management business, Head of Customer Strategy and Operations, spanning across all the asset classes within GPT. This role, is held by Samantha Taranto, who brings with her a wealth of knowledge having previously held the role of Executive Manager Customer Experience at Qantas Airways. In this previous role she was responsible for all the operational business units that created the customer experience including Cabin Crew, Clubs and Lounges, Airports and Food and Beverage.
In her role at GPT, Samantha is responsible for developing and executing clear customer strategies for the Asset Management business and driving day-to-day onsite operations across the GPT portfolio. Her role is to deliver superior customer experiences for both our customers and guests with an emphasis on safe and sustainable operations.
Samantha’s work is integral in driving customer-centric activities through the business; this role requires engagement and liaison across multiple business units within GPT and with external stakeholders.
Finally, this year we are excited about the formation of a dedicated Property Innovations team. This team is responsible for digital technologies across our assets and will look at opportunities to partner with early-stage to high-growth start-ups to trial a number of products and services across our retail and commercial assets to enhance the customer and guest experience.
Vanessa Orth, Head of Retail, The GPT Group. Credit: Shopping Centre News.
A rollout of customer-led business processes
Another important focus for our business in 2015 is refining our processes to be customer-led, ensuring that we are building a business based on the requirements of our customers. We believe that a customer-led approach is vital; this will ensure success for our customers and the success of our assets.
For the benefit of our customers, we have recently launched our ‘Speed to Succeed’ program. The program, run over the store lease life cycle, provides a structured approach to the interactions our teams have along the end-to-end customer journey, with a large component of the program looking at the first 90 days of interaction with our business; from negotiating and signing a deal, to opening a store and finally to ongoing trade.
A multi-channelled approach to guest experience
We also see that in 2015 we will continue to develop our multi-channel Guest Experience strategy focusing on the guest experience in both the physical and digital environments, which is now being coined the ‘phygital’ where physical and digital collide.
In the data and digital space, we currently have a number of projects underway, these have stemmed from a number of projects we incubated and tested in 2014, from a casual labour sourcing app to a carparking app.
After initial concept testing over the course of 2014, GPT commenced a pilot of ‘Air Service’ at Rouse Hill Town Centre, a mobile application designed to streamline the order and purchase of food within shopping centres. Air Service is a mobile ordering platform that allows customers to connect to any vendor offering Air Service, see what’s on offer and order and pay from their mobile device. The device will also notify users when their meal is ready for collection.
This technology is expected to alleviate food court pressure, simplify ordering, minimise wait times and has the potential to be implemented across our retail and office assets.
In the physical environment, we remain dedicated to ensuring a consistent level of service and amenity across our retail assets, with dedicated Guest Experience Managers across a number of our assets. This positive association allows both our customers and guests to not only expect a reliable experience from a particular site, but to depend on the GPT brand across all of our sites.
It’s through the little things done well – from providing a consistent level of service and amenity to a decision that responds to a guest’s need or concern – that we show our commitment to our guests.
This year we will focus on further embedding the People First program across our retail assets and implement the People First principles into our Office and Logistics and Business Park portfolio.
Over the next 12 months we aim to develop and support dynamic partnerships with our customers, listening to them, collaborating with them to serve their needs and aspirations and deliver on our promises to them.
We believe that this approach will help us attract and retain customers, maintain high occupancy rates, and increase the number of guests to our sites – outcomes that contribute to the success of both GPT and our customers.
We now have the right people in our business, the right programs in place all being underpinned by the right supporting systems, enabling us to drive the customer experience across our portfolio to deliver superior returns for both our customers and GPT.
Vanessa Orth, Head of Retail, The GPT Group. This article first appeared in Shopping Centre News, Vol 33 No.1 – 2015 Big Guns.