A selection of correspondences to various people associated with the 'Mall'.

Opening statement
My first job was in the mall, back in the duelcarriageway days and I have a connection with it. I am concerned that thediscussion is heading in a way that has mixed objectives that compete too much- a destination and a shopping precinct. I think one has to anchor the otherand I am unsure that has been established in the appropriate momentum.
    

Preamble

    "We plan to invest a millionhours in our staff," Mr Brookes said. "Ourcustomer serviceneeds to improve." THEAUSTRALIAN JULY 17, 2010 12:00AM
Added comment - today, Advertiser 29th July - MYER beware as staff cut. So they still don't get it!

Strategic management – maybe even leadership! Strategic thinking, root causeanalysis and more. There is no doubt some serious minds have considered theplight, the strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats of all theprecincts in all the world, no less Adelaide. There has been success, andfailure.

We suggest that fundamental thinking keepsgetting lost and fixit (always temporary) solutions are identified,well-meaningly to evidence action.

So once again remodelingthe land-mark mall, spend the budget on the physical whilst the intangibletangible lays open, well known to everyone – "come to the mall and don't get served! Well don't get served well, oreffectively or efficiently – all too often!”

The Myer comment hasbeen made before, more than several times and yet one still goes intodepartment stores and others, and can’t get served. Brookes comment is like abolt of lightening discovery – everyone could have told him. His staffcertainly! Customers absolutely – this is not a Myer only challenge.

Parking cost key to Mall’s revival – Advertiser19.3.15 –
 This has an impact but even if it’s free (andit shouldn’t be) and you can’t get served, they won’t come, or come back! – Yesthere are multiple negative impacts, parking is one, distance, shopping hours,many opportunities to appeal to the public BUT, if once they are solved and youcan’t / don’t get useful friendly connected service, then everything else is a’finger in the dyke!

 Mayors secret plan for CBDAdvertiser 20.2.15

the21 point plan (which I hope isn’t / wasn’t a secret but the work of many) isuseful and I am sure would have positive results BUT – isn’t it all actuallyabout getting people to come and spend, not just come, like the environment andthen be disaffected by the lack of service? Isn’t there a need for theseretailers who will be doing the things outlined in the plan to be profitableand hence the need to attract people and getthe attracted to open their purses and spend. Well if that is right, toelicit the spending needs professional retailers who know how to manage andlead teams of sellers, shop assistants! Currently they seem not to.

Proposition:- focus on where there is ability tomake change regardless of external factors outside current control

1.     There are real and substantial benefits inimproving the level of service – both in numbers and quality of service

2.     Owners do not either seem to realise or be awarethat the lack of service being offered is costing them serious dollars – theybudget staffing on sales and profit that are in fact lower than they could beif effective service was offered and fundamental marketing principles wereapplied

3.     Basic facts such as product mix, merchandising,client interaction, loyalty etc are not given sufficient consideration

4.     Effective collection and use of data is missingtoo often

The need is to work withowners / key stake holders so that skills in leadership and sales managementare understood so each can then in turn more effectively lead their on sitestaff. Additionally that understanding of marketing principles is increased.

This proposal is focused on delivering toRundle Mall owners, a program focused on improving customer service. I haveextensive experience across retail, direct and wholesale selling. Apart fromthe introduction of the web and electronic selling, there are differences inthe way people shop when face to face. Ifthe mall is to become know for anything, then it surely should be exciting andefficient customer service.

Proposition. There are a myriad of customer service programs around, people paymoney, lose time and attend and really nothing changes much or for long. I amproposing that rather than delivering a ‘I know it all’ type proposal, Iaddress various meetings to talk about this, share my thoughts face-to-face andthen gather up interest. Convert that into a program.

Additional  comment from me (Rex Buckingham) sent to other stake holders

Some the major precepts I would beincluding would be 

Focuson retail and on restaurants – different checklists

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** Secret shopping to find the best – apositive experience, one using mall staff (after appropriate training) toconduct the shopping

**Various awards for exceptional service –volunteers at various entrances to the Mall connecting the customers to theprogram – some prizes drawn for shoppers connecting, from donations within themall, given daily,

** Shops with databases using those toconnect with their shoppers, print off the survey, bring with you, hand in whenleaving – across all mall experiences

** Product knowledge and ability torecommend switch when product sought not available

** Handling difficult situations

** Connectedness to the customer –listening and converting to  a sale

** Ability to ‘add-on’ sell

** Ability to recognize the customer andappropriate sales style – retail, direct, wholesale – people can be each ofthese depending on the circumstances.

From the various meetings then develop anoverview and a time-lined, budgeted proposal. Ideally, much of this would befinanced by the retailers themselves

Detail:-          
2
1.    Ensure database of Rundle Mall / Street shopholders is current

2.     Convene a meeting that canvases the issue ofeffective service – from the sellers and buyers perspective

3.     Establish the fact that all retailers areresponsible – just a few who don't pick up the ball will rain on the parade ofothers – it doesn’t need many poor service situations to ruin the overallimpact

4.     As a group identify and agree the fundamentalservice charter

Develop programs where owners and managers can combine with colourthinkingto deliver to every sales person an interactive personal presentation of whatthis charter is and they then need to be able to ‘pass the test’ if they wantto work in Rundle Street.

New potential employees of any time basesimilarly – a condition of service.
 A line in the sand is drawn – this isthe standard from now on!

5.     Develop a range of shopping auditors using thecode as their reference to ensure governance of the program. Performancemanagement is then used to help those who do not maintain performance.

6.     There could be a range of incentives for thoseseen to be excellent service providers, maybe some sort of annual awards? 

7.     Institute shoppers awards for best customerservice received 

Additionalto this work there would need to be an overview of such things as job andperson descriptions, knowledge and experience of supervisors and training invarious sales and people skills

 Weneed to be innovative in this work, making it as much fun as possible whilststructured and real and not negotiable once agreed. It could be that we enliststaff from the mall to also act as ‘secret shoppers’ – the sales staff inRundle precinct are as badly served as general customers.

Thepurpose of this document is to start some thinking, to seek opinion, and thenagreement that from a cause and effect point of view, bringing back customersand keeping them is about customer service more than any other matter, parkingan exception.

Ihaven’t produced a detailed plan or budgets etc, I recognise that at this verymoment ACC budgets are in place, money is probably already earmarked for thevarious retail bodies.


My worry is thatit be spent on things that are really peripheral and that once spent, notsufficient funds left to drive through a new service charter or support lease holders and owners in sustainable infrastructure!

 

ACC