A comfortable and well-thought-out shopping mall is an indispensable part of the megacity infrastructure in the 21st century. A modern shopping mall can be compared to an entire city in terms of the number of utilities and communication systems in use, a complex hierarchy of employees and contractors, a variety of tenants, and a huge flow of visitors. How do you automate all service interactions and tenant relationship management in such a "city"?
Zelenopark is a regional shopping mall. The total area of 140,000 square meters is occupied by about 180 shops, restaurants, a seven-screen movie theater, a Panda Park, and other entertainment centers. Major tenants include Auchan & Decathlon. There is a Leroy Merlin hypermarket in the vicinity.
Our records indicate that, despite the abundance of various parties, the complexity of various equipment, more than 90% of market players still use traditional means of communication (paper, Excel, instant messengers, e-mail) to manage the internal interaction, maintenance, and operation processes of the shopping mall.
"Like most market players, we used paper documents to manage interactions with tenants. The tenant's representative had to come to the office of the management company and fill out an application form. Then they would hand the form to a company's manager or simply leave it at the information desk. Then, the administrator would coordinate the request with all departments and forward it to the responsible party. All of this would consume a lot of time, often lead to the loss of requests, and was ineffective: absolutely unreasonable labor costs, useless waste of consumables, and human errors," said John Kochubei, IT & Facility Management Administrator, Zelenopark Shopping Mall.
The analysis showed that a large number of tenants and relationships with them involve many common processes.
"The issue of automation has been on the agenda for a long time. We tried to use CRM system, but this system lacked functionality. We realized that customization would require significant financial and labor costs. We needed to find a ready-made tool that would meet our requirements, including financial ones. That is, we were looking for a suitable offer for renting a ready-to-use information product," John said.
According to him, first of all, there was a need for an automated system for registering and accounting for requests, a portal for tenants, and the ability to contact the mall's managing company via other modern channels.
"It was important for us that the system could be flexibly customized for our business processes," John noted. "We read many articles about service desks and reviews on Habr, and we also compared systems available on the market in terms of cost. After we tested Okdesk and talked to technical support staff, we knew that we found what we were looking for."
Okdesk has traditionally been used to automate service and operations. However, Zelenopark decided to go even further.
"We have automated not only the operation and maintenance but also all relationships between the various departments of the mall's management company, contractors, and tenants," John said.
For example, as in any other shopping mall, tenants' activities are strictly regulated by rules.
"Requests for events and works must be coordinated with the management company," John explained. "Now, all approvals are automated thanks to the HelpDesk system."
The commercial success of both the tenants and the shopping mall largely depends on the quality and speed of work of the shopping mall's management company.
"When interacting with a tenant in the traditional way, without a helpdesk system like Okdesk, there's always the risk of missing or losing something. The system allows all parties to the process to do their job in a clear and transparent manner," John said. "Each tenant resolves most of the maintenance and operation requests at the stage of opening their shop." Further, the most popular requests from tenants are related to the coordination of various activities at the shopping mall: moving goods in and out, marketing campaigns, and so on. Each tenant has access to the history of all interactions with the management company, which increases transparency and trust."
Contrary to false stereotypes, the introduction of the HelpDesk system faced no resistance from the staff. Moreover, many are already accustomed to working in the mobile app and are unlikely to give it up.
"A request for moving in goods is also submitted via mobile request. The tenant provides all the necessary information: the name of the shop, the contacts of the delivery service, and so on. After approval, the application goes to the checkpoint. When a vehicle with the goods enters, the checkpoint employee takes a photo using a mobile device, checks the fulfillment mark, and attaches them to the request," John explained.
Okdesk has become a one-stop communication environment for all parties in the shopping mall.
"We also inform our tenants about important events through Okdesk. Previously, we printed a large number of letters to hand them to representatives of tenants against their written acknowledgment. In turn, the chief engineer generates requests for maintenance and operation for technicians and contractors, including those based on tenant requests,'' John said. "We have set up the processes we need, with all stages, transitions, and logic. This allowed us to eliminate haphazard requests. Differentiation by process helped us more accurately allocate responsibilities and get important reporting."
The results of usage of the new tool in Zelenopark have yet to be measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. However, it is already obvious that the decision to introduce such a product was strategically correct.
"A HelpDesk software is a must-have system for a modern shopping mall. The number of common and repetitive processes is constantly increasing. And large-scale automation helps to improve the efficiency of a modern commercial property. Okdesk is great for solving such problems. Among other things, this system increases tenant loyalty, as relations with the management company become more transparent and efficient. In addition, the system eliminates the so-called telephone law, when the solution of issues depended on one employee who communicates by phone and does not always fulfill their duties in good faith," John said.
It is very important that the system used is improved. However, not only at the discretion of the vendor but taking into account customer requests.
"At the start of the project, I lacked functionality, which I immediately reported to Okdesk technical support. It was really nice to see how my functionality wishes come true one after the other. The work was never suspended even during the lockdown. For example, checklists were introduced in a very timely manner," John said.
"Now we can definitely say that thanks to the introduction of the system, everything has become much faster and more efficient," John said. "We're going to conduct a survey of tenants about the usability and efficiency of Okdesk in a short time. We are especially interested in the opinion of chain tenants who cooperate with other shopping malls, too."
Zelenopark will expand the range of services available for tenants in Okdesk. Also, the shopping mall is going to increase the number of channels for submitting requests, in particular, by adding a Telegram bot.
"In our mall, works are carried out and various services are outsourced to external contractors. These contractors must request permits for work, equipment importation, and site access. They frequently do that at night. The system allowed automating such requests. The goal is to register the entire history of the work carried out in the mall in our system. We also want to start using QR codes to record the works performed at the facility. This will allow taking into account the scheduled preventive works in Okdesk," John said.
Okdesk is a convenient and fully functional helpdesk system for automating the processes in shopping malls and office centers.