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WorldHost 2020: Capital & Regional become the first UK shopping centre business to train entire front of house team

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.”

For more information on WorldHost 2020 click here

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