Shopping Center Business

MAY 2018

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE 206 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2018 receipt at the end of their visit, charged to the credit card on file through the app. If a restaurant or retailer offers validation, they can scan a QR code straight to their account and avoid the charge. The feather in the cap of the transporta- tion features at Century City is the debut of what is billed as the world's first Uber Lounge. Westfield has collaborated with Uber to digitally map specified pick-up and drop-off locations into Uber drivers' applications. The sleekly designed Uber Lounge provides guests a safe, comfort- able place to wait for their ride. FRICTIONLESS EXPERIENCE Because anyone can buy almost any- thing online, anytime, the old-fashioned model of high-touch customer service has been brought to the fore at Westfield centers. Working alongside retailers, con- cierges are responsible for making the center's experience pleasant to access while guiding guests to use the stores and services that complement their interests and shopping preferences. "For example, if you're shopping in Michael Kors, we can then introduce you to a stylist at Hello Darling," Ruddick explains. "Afterward, our concierge can get you a reservation at Javier's or Eataly to celebrate your day out. We guide the customer through the program. Rather than blast news to you about a 60 percent off sale, we welcome you as a person, knowing what you like and making recommendations. Providing more personalized, efficient visits is very powerful." Concierge services also include: arrang- ing for tailoring; gift buying assistance; package check and delivery (delivering items to a customer's office, home or even car); "store to door" product purchases where customers call or text a concierge to have an item sent to their home; and "return bars," where guests can more easi- ly facilitate their return processes. Interna- tional visitors can access LanguageLine, an on-demand three-way video interpre- tation service in more than 200 languag- es. Guests may even rely on a Westfield concierge to book tickets at events, attrac- tions and restaurants throughout greater Los Angeles, or wherever is local to the centers where this service is offered. "If you come with a request, give us a challenge," says Ruddick. "I don't want to put a lid on this. We all grew up with a Nordstrom tire story. That's the experi- ence we provide at our concierge level for our customers." (The Nordstrom tire story refers to a Nordstrom sales associate accepting a re- turn on tires sold by the retailer that occu- pied the store before Nordstrom moved in. Even though Nordstrom does not sell tires, the sales associate accommodated the customer's request anyway.) Concierge services come at no charge to guests. Unless guests are privy to the highest level of exclusive, personalized service available at centers such as Cen- tury City. Westfield has rolled out a VIP pro- gram with extraordinary advantages. The Private Suite program was developed through a partnership with Gavin de Beck- er and Associates, a firm that provides se- curity services for public figures. The offer at Westfield is similar to, and has synergy with, de Becker's private VIP terminal and personal services at Los Angeles Interna- tional Airport. The LAX service was designed for celebrities hoping to avoid paparazzi or high-level executives who need to sleep and prepare for important meetings. Guests in this program receive private TSA screenings, a private suite with a bed, private bath, stocked food service pantry and associates on call to deliver any need- ed clothing or personal care items. When it's time for departure, guests are driven across the tarmac in a private car, directly to the aircraft for private boarding. The Private Suite service at Century City works in conjunction with the airport's program, similarly welcoming guests into a private entrance, where they can relax in a private room and travel in their own elevator to the retailers. Guests also can book this service after the center closes, for one-on-one meetings with associates at any of the center's stores. If a movie is part of the day at Century City, guests can use a private entrance to any of the the- aters or arrange a private screening. Three Special events and programming are part of Westfield's focus on the customer.

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