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Case study: Customer Experience in the times of non-working Sundays

Sunday, 03 February, 2019
@Monika Ciesielska

Some recruitments stay inside us for longer. For various reasons. In this case the client came to me from the neighboring office. Our companies are located at Rondo 1 in Warsaw. He admitted that up to now he had worked with headhunters strictly specialized in real estate, however this time he needed a company that also scours through other markets, as the position did not touch upon investments, real estate management or leasing, just marketing. One day LinkedIn suggested my professional profile to him (thank you LinkedIn!) and this is how he came to me, in fact to us – to Carpenter Consulting. Why did the recruitment turn out to be so significant? We’ll get to that in a moment.

The Client

Newbridge is a leading investor and developer on the market in the convenience retail sector. The company was founded in 2015 by Rory Mepham and the Somerston Group in under 3 years it became the owner and manager of 6 retail parks located in various parts of Poland.

Apart from the typical initiatives allocated to asset management, Newbridge assures their compliance with indicated brand standards, e.g. the assets constitute an integral part of the local community, they offer a family friendly environment, regular social events in close cooperation with the local authorities and interest groups, as well as a mix of tenants, adjusted to the daily shopping needs of the residents.

Position

Marketing & Customer Experience Manager is an independent position, responsible for preparing marketing strategies and PR for Newbridge shopping centers and retail parks. The selected person plays the leading role in the organization and implementation of campaigns and events in retail spaces, in cooperation with the local team, event & PR agencies, the local authorities, regional interest groups and community clubs. They adapt the most effective communication channels and assess the results of marketing and PR campaigns. As a result they are able to look after the satisfaction of customers and tenants, who are assumed  to draw benefits from their contributions to the marketing budgets, and customers will find reasons to spend time in Newbridge shopping centers and retails parks.

The purpose of the position

Success criteria associated with this position are connected with the retail sellers’ (tenants’) turnovers and customer satisfaction, which means focusing both on the visitors, as well as the retailers present in the Newbridge retail parks. One of the measurable, fundamental indicators in retail is footfall, counted by the number of visitors in a given store or shopping center in a specific time period.

Observations and conclusions drawn in the course of the recruitment process

Together with the client, we have taken decisions on searching for candidates in several channels. We looked far and wide, searching for someone who will prove to be experienced as well as inspiring. We searched for candidates who:

  • possess experience in marketing and “customer experience” obtained in shopping centers and retail parks,
  • possess experience in organizing events,
  • come from a marketing background in FMCG or the hotel industry.

I had the opportunity to meet a sizable group of candidates specialized in each of the indicated areas. It very quickly turned out that no one understands the term “customer experience” better than the shopping centers sector and its tenants. The meeting I had with a candidate who gained her first experience in customer experience in banking proved very informative. In cooperation with psychologists, communication specialists and sociologists from the Polish Language Laboratory at the University of Wrocław, she worked on simplifying the language of communication with clients, to make it clear and understandable. As a result, she implemented clear and succinct communications, which can be summed up in the “simple banking” formula. I will say that this interesting project was carried out by ING Bank Śląski.

There was no great surprise in the context of salary. The financial expectations of the candidates were between PLN 12,000 – 16,000 gross. Candidates coming from a FMCG product background decidedly exceeded the budget, but at the same time did not fulfill the requirements connected with knowledge in the area of customer experience.

The client chose a candidate with very extensive experience gained both in one of the top 5 shopping centers in Poland as well as in smaller centers, with drastically smaller marketing budgets. Marta proved effective both in the times of the retail boom as well as in more difficult times, which shopping centers faced and continue to face, after the shopping time in Poland was limited.

Significant recruitment

The completion of the project was extremely interesting for two reasons.

It was amazing to learn to what level of creativity marketing specialists have to have in the context of attracting us – customers – to shopping centers and then keep us there and entice us to come back again. I will mention the organization of events such as: fashion week, drawings, in which the main prize is the furnishing of a 50 meter apartment by IKEA or a wedding in a shopping center, creating a beach inside the center, when the outside temperature reaches 35 C, creating a place for social meetings on the shopping center rooftop, cooperation with the Academy of Fine Arts in creating inspiration zones, art corners for children, theaters, mini-cinemas, concerts, the creation of regional magazines. There is no end to the ideas.

My client’s approach to the recruitment process was uniquely refreshing. Already at the project briefing discussion state, Rory Mepham indicated that he and his three employees responsible for asset management, investments, and finances will be participating in the recruitment process. In the course of their work at Newbridge, the employed candidate will cooperate with each of these persons. For this very reason, Rory could not imagine them not having a real impact on the recruitment process. And these were by no means empty words. After the first round of meetings, the observations and thoughts were different and the company’s CEO did not, by any means, take a one-man decision. The selection was not easy, as all four candidates represented a very high level of expertise and knowledge of the market as well as strong competences. We set up the next round of meetings to conduct a more thorough analysis and we verified references, which convinced the four decision-makers that they are making the right decision.

Hats down to the company’s CEO for his approach. Though many would not refer to this approach as innovative, because we have come across such cases, I will call it, with all headhunter certainty, as very rarely used, which is simply pity.


Author: Monika Ciesielska

Related articles written by Monika are available at www.monikaciesielska.com

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