By Steve Iles, General Manager, ABM UK
With the Christmas shopping period around the corner, it’s time for facilities management companies to consider what is in store for their retail cleaning teams. In events that span multiple days, such as Black Friday (29th November), stores and shopping centres can expect to see a dramatic increase in footfall, which can lead to problems if they are unprepared.
To avoid being overwhelmed at such a crucial time, brief your teams on the importance of the event and ensure that additional team members are available to cover any unplanned absences. Being unprepared can lead to a number of complications, including untreated health and safety issues such as spills, and having insufficient quantities of cleaning products and consumables to accommodate the increased number of visitors.
It’s critical that preparations are made in advance. By providing a clean, well-run space, facilities management teams can maintain their customer’s brand equity with visitors. So, what can teams do to ensure a sparkling clean Black Friday?
1. Prepare your team
As retail events typically run for 3-4 days, it’s important to liaise closely with centre management teams to be aware of extended trading hours and expected foot traffic. After reviewing previous years’ footfall, adjust the roster to ensure that priority areas, such as toilets, entrances and food courts, are maintained throughout the busiest periods. If anything, visitors’ service expectations are higher than usual and it’s up to the cleaning teams to meet these with a clean and safe environment.
Looking past the physical work that is required, it’s also important that team members are prepared for the increased number of people who will be engaging with them throughout the event. All of ABM’s team members participate in our Brand Ambassador training course, which promotes the values of both ABM and the customer through all interactions with visitors. Cleaning operatives should have a memorable impact on each visitor’s experience, whether it’s helping someone find their way or simply greeting with a smile.
2. Stock up!
An increase in spillages and waste inevitably means that cleaning supplies will be in higher demand. In the lead up to a retail event, management teams should review all stock, consult previous years’ records and ensure that demands will be provided for. This covers anything from basic cleaning products, to ensuring that the waste management team has the correct supplies available in order to remove excess waste efficiently and effectively.
3. Always be one step ahead
It’s important to remember that for a shopping centre after a retail event, it’s still business as usual; the centre has to be clean and operational for visitors the very next day. Scrubber dryers and other electrical equipment will need to be fully charged and ready for use, products will need to be restocked and team members must be available. Waste recycling resources will need to be taken into consideration, to ensure that the compactor and bins are emptied frequently and are clear to take on the next day’s rubbish.
Busy sales events are an exciting part of retail contracts, but it’s imperative that you’re prepared. A well-managed event is essential to maintain the centre’s positive relationship with its visitors, and facilities management teams have the responsibility to maintain this.