How Westfield London uses Feedback for Exceptional Customer and Employee Experiences
Westfield London is one of the UK’s flagship shopping destinations with hundreds of stores. One of June’s Proud of My Store honourable mentions goes to the team who keep the whole centre ticking over – the often-unsung heroes of the guest services team. Manager Jean-Paul Hewlett spills the beans on feedback and fun among all the fashion and why "If you want your customer experience to be great, your employee experience must be greater”.
Congratulations on your honourable mention Jean-Paul. Strictly speaking, you don’t work for a store – so can you tell me a little bit about what your team does?
Certainly! I’m one of the operations managers of the guest services team here in Westfield London, alongside my colleague and co-manager George Koukelis. We can have as many as 100 people working in Westfield at peak times. We look after the car parks, reception desks and valet parking. We help customers access disability services and kiddie cars, we run events, give directions and advice, and help every retailer deliver exceptional service at every point in the customer journey – all across 2,600,000 square feet of prime retail space.
Sounds like a lot is going on?
Absolutely – and that’s why I’m so proud of my team. We ask them to take in all sorts of information daily, assimilate it, and turn it around for our customers. Because we represent Westfield, rather than an individual retailer, we also deal with compliments, complaints and feedback about every aspect of the experience. We never know what a guest will say, and it’s our job to have the answers and turn every situation around. We have an amazing team of people who go above and beyond daily to create a safe, welcoming and pleasant atmosphere for our guests. Really, we’re the face of the centre.
How do you collect and manage the influx of customer feedback?
We use the Critizr Platform and have a great system in place to utilise it to its potential. Firstly we have created these large TAT signs and placed several of them around the centre. Mostly at all entry/exit points and in the car park. Plus, we have strut cards on all our customer service desks with the same QR code that directs guests to give feedback. Our guest service associates are also briefed to encourage guests to scan the QR code to give feedback, whether positive or not. In addition, we have a red tab on our webpage that encourages visitors to share their opinion.
We then created a Service Lead position and hired an incredibly wonderful and experienced person; her name is Farrah. She deals with all feedback that comes into us from Critizr, from emails to telephone calls. She responds to every single comment, and she is truly amazing!
Every fortnight we host a Teams meeting with all relevant heads, and Farrah collates all data and feedback (statistics options on Critizr are so helpful) into a presentation for us to all visually see and discuss accordingly. Collectively we formulate a plan of action based on trends.
How do you support your staff?
Training, communication and responding to feedback are three of the most important things. I always say, "A day without learning is a day wasted". We have an app to help the team plot their journey through our training – we offer around 50 courses in total. Every shift starts with a huddle to share news and views and reinforce operational things. We’re in constant communication via our radios too. Critizr’s tool also gets immediate feedback on our guests’ visits.
How does that work for you?
It’s a brilliant way for us to spot trends. If, say, a specific part of the car park is always too busy, or we get consistent feedback that there’s a problem with a toilet, we can target our resources to solve the issue there and then. But my favourite way to use it is to recognise our amazing staff. I can’t speak to nearly as many guests as I’d like, but this way, I get a picture of who is doing well in my team. I love that.
Is that instant recognition important to you?
It’s vital. My leadership philosophy is simple: if you want your customer experience to be great, your employee experience has to be even better. Recognition and reward are a huge part of that, whether it’s an informal ‘you did great with that customer today, here’s what they said’, to the more formal processes, to creating a fun environment for people. It’s hot? Buy ice-creams! It’s cold? Have a coffee incentive! I have a lot of people working for me, but I know them all, what they’re doing outside work, and what they’re studying. I want them to love working here. That’s good for them because we’re creating a great employee experience, it’s good for Westfield because happy people sell, and it’s good for me because I get to spend my days with a wonderful team that I’m incredibly proud of. What could be better than that?
Jean-Paul and his incredible Westfield team are nominated for an award at this year's Proud of My Store Awards 2022. If you are a retailer and would like to attend, please register your interest here.