The Mercury Shopping Centre in Romford has selected two Axis Group companies, Axis Cleaning and Support Services and Axis Security to deliver an integrated cleaning and security service.
The Mercury is spread over three floors, and includes a Bingo hall, cinema and approximately 45 retail outlets and eateries.
The contract includes a total of 11 security officers, 12 cleaning staff and three supervisors, with security providing a total of 540 hours per week and cleaning 390 hours to cover the entire estate. All employees were transferred across to Axis employment under TUPE.
Spencer Hawken, Centre Manager, The Mercury, says as a progressive, environmentally-conscious and customer-centric shopping centre, it was crucial the company delivering the cleaning and security contract understood that a dynamic, multi-skilled service was essential:
“We recently installed an electric generating floor, the first of its kind globally in a shopping centre, with the aim to power a customer service, such as a mobile phone charging station or as a marketing tool, e.g. creating a lighting schematic designed by a local artist.
“Our launch also contained a charity initiative where we used a stepping machine to generate one million steps over the course of one week. Security officers manned the machine 24/7 and both cleaning and security officers drummed up enthusiasm across the centre,” he explains.
For every thousand steps generated, the McDonalds branch at Mercury Shopping Centre donated to First Step, a charity that looks after pre-school children with disabilities. This falls outside what many would consider traditional security and cleaning duties, but it is typical of the sort of service required.”
Axis will be delivering customer service training as part of the contract, which was another key driver in the decision to select Axis:
“Our aim is to provide exceptional customer service to everyone who visits the centre,” says Spencer. “For example we turn off music every Tuesday to create an environment that is more comfortable for those living with Dementia and Autism. It is therefore important that all employees are trained in supporting people with different needs, in addition to more general customer service.”
Axis Group’s employee benefits were also important: “Salaries, training and progression opportunities are all key to ensuring an engaged and happy workforce. We encourage our staff to use their skills in different ways, and Axis supports this in its employee programme providing staff access to a whole host of financial, charitable and social initiatives. Its newsletter was evidence that these initiatives are very much underway and available to employees now.”
In a competitive tender where there was very little differentiation in price, Spencer says they had to look at the package as a whole:
“Working with Axis over the last couple of months, we have experienced a knowledgeable and friendly management team who understand our requirements without our having to explain details. It sounds like a cliché, but on our first mobilisation meeting it was obvious to us that they knew how to deliver the customer-centric service that we require.”