To identify new opportunities to enhance the customer experience offered by our Retail, Office and Industrial assets GPT undertakes an extensive annual research program. In 2013, this program collected feedback from over 2,000 customer and community stakeholders whose time and participation we greatly appreciate.
Background and Policy
GPT is committed to being a sustainable business and acknowledge effective customer engagement as an important strategic priority. We pride ourselves on maintaining a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with our customers that enables us to provide high-quality, sector leading buildings and deliver engaging and memorable experiences that are appropriate to local contexts. Refer to our Customer Engagement Policy for more information.
Our customers include tenants and occupiers of our buildings as well as shoppers visiting our centres. Our engagement with each of these groups is based on the following four key principles:
- Listen to our customers so that we can understand and act on their needs
- Share our knowledge with our customers so they can benefit from our insights
- Inform our customers and provide them with up-to-date information to help them in their business decisions
- Act on our customer requests and feedback to ensure we provide the best service to meet their needs.
GPT's core business strategy is to own and actively manage quality Australian property assets. In our retail business we have a strong track record of internally-managed retail property delivering great customer experiences and performance outcomes.
Across our office and industrial portfolio we have been working with external property management partners to deliver great tenant experiences. In September 2011, GPT announced plans to internalise the property management function of its 16 wholly-owned industrial properties as well as 818 Bourke Street and Melbourne Central Tower office properties, effective February 2012. Over recent years we have become increasingly more involved in both strategic and day-to-day tactical decision making with our customers across our portfolio.
Our performance and ongoing success depends on that of our customers, so our annual research program equips GPT with a better understanding of our customers’ needs and an assessment of how effectively GPT is meeting those needs.
Performance and Satisfaction Surveys
As we strive to provide high quality, sector leading buildings and experiences across each of our portfolios, we track our performance through tenant satisfaction surveys and identify and implement various business support and sustainability initiatives to help meet their needs.
In May/June 2012 GPT, in conjunction with The Leading Edge, conducted a shopper satisfaction survey* across all 11 GPT managed shopping centres. Over 2,400 residents living within the Total Trade Areas of these 11 shopping centres participated in the online survey that was designed to understand awareness and perceptions of these GPT centres along with satisfaction, usage and advocacy levels.
The questionnaire included satisfaction and importance ratings for an extensive list of customer experience touchpoints ranging from Service staff and Safety/security to the Retail mix and Carpark availability. The survey was also used to assess GPT’s effectiveness in delivering centres that are known to be environmentally responsible and which fit well with the lifestyle and values of their local community.
To further extend our knowledge of customer engagement levels the Net Promoter Score methodology (developed by Satmetrix, Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld) was incorporated into the questionnaire to help GPT understand the incidence of customers who are true advocates or “Promoters” i.e. who highly rated their likelihood of recommending their local GPT centre to a colleague or friend.
Across the portfolio, a total of 87% of Total Trade Area residents who had visited their local GPT centre in the last six months were extremely, very or somewhat satisfied with the centre experience. 48% were extremely or very satisfied with the experience at this centre**. A full breakdown of experience is below:
- Extremely Satisfied 11%;
- Very Satisfied 37%;
- Somewhat Satisfied 39%;
- Somewhat Dissatisfied 8%;
- Very Dissatisfied 3%;
- Extremely Dissatisfied 2%.
** Totals = Extremely/Very Satisfied 48% and total Extremely/Very/Somewhat Satisfied = 87%.
* Based on Satisfaction Survey conducted with Total Trade Area residents who visited GPT centre in the past 6 months. Source: The Leading Edge, May/June 2012.
Various research projects related to specific GPT centres were also conducted in 2013 including several stages of qualitative research for Melbourne Central.
In 2013, GPT repeated annual tracking studies relating to four key tenant groups - Office tenants, Industrial tenants, Business Park tenants and Centre Retailers - to help us monitor and build customer satisfaction over time. In total, these tracking studies collected insights from over 1000 tenants within our Industrial, Office, Business Parks and Retail communities.
Across the 2013 primary research projects conducted with tenants from these Portfolios, the percentage of customers who were ‘extremely’, ‘very’ or ‘somewhat ‘ satisfied with their centre/property management ranged from 92% to 100%.
Our goal is to ensure that all of our customers, occupants and shoppers are ‘extremely satisfied’ with our sites and services. To help us achieve this, we continually respond to our tenant and occupants’ feedback by implementing a range of initiatives, such as those outlined below.
Customer services, engagement and communications
GPT's places and buildings serve a far broader role to our customers and the community than a traditional functional space to work or visit. Our sites are embraced as meeting places in the heart of their community, with a range of programs and spaces where customers enjoy their surrounds and feel a genuine sense of connection.
Our office buildings, industrial sites and shopping centres house a number of different services, businesses and government agencies that create a greater visitor experience and further value to all of our customers. These include:
- childcare facilities
- gymnasiums and swimming centres
- free WiFi access
- medical and dental centres
- training facilities
- government agencies and MP offices, and
- seniors and citizens clubs.
Many of our buildings, being the geographic hub of the community, are often used in a case of emergency, most notably Casuarina Square which serves as a cyclone shelter in Darwin.
Below is a rundown of shopper engagement and services programs.
The feedback gathers information on shopper experiences, both positive and areas of improvement, including stores that shoppers would welcome.
- Feedback is gathered via each of the shopping centre websites and social media sites, the Customer Service Desk or directly to Centre Management.
- Feedback is promptly and formally responded to and noted for action in various forums including team meetings.
Centre web and social media sites
- All GPT managed shopping centres have a strong online presence, with each of the sites regularly updated to include the latest Centre information.
- Visitors can also provide feedback to Centre management via these sites or engage with our centres’ growing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blog channels.
In addition to our online channels, a range of media is used to communicate with our shoppers including customer newsletters, mailbox distributions, the utilisation of local media channels and a range of printed and online collateral.
- To ensure customers have a comfortable and convenient shopping experience, customer service representatives daily assist with directions, GPT Gift Card sales, community information and services, wheelchair, motorised scooter or stroller hire, assistance with children or family members and lost and found property.
- Customer Service Desks and Centres within our shopping centres also offer specialised programs to improve shopper experience while reflecting the community in which they exist. A notable example is the Official Visitor Information Centre for Wollongong, now a part of the Wollongong Central Customer Service Centre that provides our customers with a stronger level of service relating to the broader community.
Roaming customer service
- To further enhance the customer experience Charlestown Square launched the Welcome Team to improve customer service over peak periods.
- Specifically trained customer service representatives were placed at strategic nodal points throughout the Centre, including the Customer Service Desk, to greet shoppers and provide service regarding their shopping experience at Charlestown Square.
- The Welcome Staff were provided iPads for sourcing extra information and were brightly dressed for recognition by shoppers .
- Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from shoppers and tenants who noted many shoppers purchasing from their store on the recommendation of Welcome Staff. Local media also were interested to showcase the initiative with a substantial amount of PR activity.
Customer Experience Manager
The National Manager - Customer Experience Manager works across a number of areas within the business and demonstrates GPT’s commitment to our customers. The manager supports our aim of being recognised by our customers as global leaders in providing outstanding customer experience. GPT further offers:
- GPT’s Customer Experience Manifesto
- Development and delivery of customer training programs
- Manage Place and Presentation Audits
- Our “People First’ program
Customer engagement and services
Making our assets great places to work is central to our business philosophy. To help achieve this goal, we provide a range of programs to improve the environments in which customers and occupants work and live, in addition to a wide range of engagement activities to effectively communicate with our customers and occupants.
Our programs are outlined below:
Tenant surveys and face-to-face meetings
Conducted to gather information on tenant needs and perceptions, including questions about the customer response to environmental concerns, quality of services, importance of services, suggestions for improvement and acknowledgement of site team members for outstanding performance.
Tenant Relationship Managers
Tenant Relationship Managers in our Office and Business Park portfolios are focuses on meeting tenants and occupants’ needs. Part of the site management team, they work with all levels of the customer group, including senior executives, to understand their business requirements, and at an individual level to resolve issues or attend to requests. Their role is to be a 'tenant advocate' on our site management team.
GPT Tenant Services System
GPT’s service request system enables effective communication between GPT and tenants in our Office portfolio. The system enables tenants to track the progress of their requests and provides GPT with strong reporting capabilities. Through the dual strategies of having a Tenant Relationship Manager and service request reporting GPT can monitor persistent or systemic problems and seek to eliminate them.
Our Retail Centres where our Centre Management teams walk the floor for at least one hour every day. It is a simple idea that reinforces what we’re already doing and assists in achieving our goal to ‘Understand and Respect’ our retailers.
Sydney Olympic Park Lifestyle Centre
A members program designed to enhance the lives of employees and residents of the Sydney Olympic Park area. Members receive discounted, priority and convenient access to a diverse range of facilities, services and events located in and around the Park.
The Lifestyle Centre was made possible through research and seed funding provided initially by GPT in conjunction with Sydney Olympic Park Authority, the Sydney Olympic Park Business Association (SOPBA), and the Commonwealth Bank. Around 10,000 Park employees and 5,000 neighbouring residents of Newington and Wentworth Point benefit from participation in the Lifestyle program.
Centre retailers and their employees are able to take breaks, have meals and to relax during the working day in our dedicated Retailer Lounges. Each lounge is equipped with couches, tables and chairs, a kitchenette and tea and coffee making facilities and encourages networking opportunities amongst the retailer community. Retailer Lounges are now in place at Chirnside Park Shopping Centre, Dandenong Plaza and Forestway Shopping Centre.
We provide our tenants with a range of initiatives which are designed to provide valuable information, insights and support to help them to be successful. In our Retail business, we work with our tenants to find tailored retail solutions that assist in driving their business performance. Based on individual circumstances, we facilitate relationships with external consultants who provide expertise in different areas pertaining to their business and provide customised marketing support as part of our retailer engagement strategy. Specific business support programs include:
Critical Retail Barometer
Identifying areas of potential assistance for retailers in financial difficulties, the Critical Retail Barometer draws on the skills and experience of the GPT team and offers suggestions for improving performance.
Designed to provide our retailers with industry trends and market information that can be applied to their business. Guest speakers present topics which cover consumer insights, economic analysis, digital trends and much more.
We understand that our sustainability performance is, in part, dependent on that of our tenants and occupants. We have a range of programs designed to help our tenants and occupants improve the sustainability of their actions.
In our 2012 online survey of over 120 of GPT’s National Retailer contacts, GPT was chosen (from a list of nine key property companies) as the property company they most closely associate with the terms “environmentally responsible” and “socially responsible” based on their knowledge of each firm and any dealings they may have had with them.
Sustainability support programs for our tenants include:
Building management committee meetings
Office portfolio property management team meet with tenants to present information on how the building is performing from an energy, greenhouse, water and waste perspective. The meetings enable discussion and collaboration on improving performance, including tenant actions where necessary.
Minimum standards for tenant fit outs are managed through our ‘Fit Out Guides’ and the Ecological Footprint calculator for guidance of retail tenants.
Ecological footprint calculator
Assists our Retail tenants to measure and reduce their impact on the environment by devising fit outs to reduce their eco-footprint. Initially launched in 2006, GPT’s eco-footprint calculator and website allows tenants to:
- revise fit-out designs to maximise potential operational savings with regards to lighting, energy and water consumption;
- select materials and refine their designs to achieve a lower ecological impact;
- compare versions of designs and see eco-footprint improvements; and
- promote their green credentials.
For more information, see our Calculating Your Eco-Footprint case study.
When GPT, in conjunction with The Leading Edge, conducted the 2013 wave of its annual Centre Retailer Survey of Store Managers across our 11 managed shopping centres, 7 in 10 respondents ‘Strongly Agreed/Agreed’ that they were satisfied with the support they receive from the centre team in relation to waste management/recycling.
GPT’s 2013 survey across nine* Office assets found that, when tenant representatives were asked to rate the importance of sustainability-related measures on a scale from 5 meaning ‘Very Important’ to 1 meaning ‘Not Important’:
- On average, survey participants across the assets surveyed gave environmental sustainability a rating of 4.5 in terms of its importance to their company
- The importance of community engagement to their company received, on average, a rating of 4.3.
Survey participants were then asked to rate their satisfaction with the building in the following areas (again on a scale from 5 to 1, but with 5 meaning ‘Very Satisfied’ and 1 meaning ‘Not Satisfied’):
- respondents rated their satisfaction with water conservation programs (e.g. flow restrictors, sensors in bathrooms) 4.0 on average
- satisfaction with energy efficiency and carbon reduction was rated even higher at 4.1 across the assets who participated
- in both cases, over 80% of respondents rated their satisfaction a 4 or 5.