SERVICE WITH A SMILE: Westfield Corp. has taken a page out of the hospitality handbook in a bid to remain competitive and move out ahead of the pack.

The program, called “Service With Style,” for its 33 U.S. shopping centers, provides customer service training that aims to up the ante on how it interacts with guests in a way the mall operator describes as being “informed by the world’s finest hotels and luxury resorts.”

The training program rollout is expected to be completed in the coming weeks, with several hundred employees having already gone through it.

Westfield has been developing the one-day course for the past year and a half, doing so in conjunction with LRA by Deloitte and SGE International. Each shopping center has a designated “style coach” that oversees the overall training activity for that property.

“One of the things that we’ve been talking about for some time is we definitely feel that hospitality and a luxury level of customer service is really something that we want to use to differentiate ourselves as an organization and create memorable experiences with our guest when they’re with us,” said Jeff Adams, Westfield vice president of guest services. “Really, the goal was to create a program that would put tools and resources and context in general of how to take care of our guests and retailers as they would expect to get at a luxury hotel.”

Additional services are available at the company’s 10 flagship properties in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, San Jose and San Diego. They include personal styling and shopping, a shopping-bag check and delivery, translation services, reserved parking and restaurant reservations. The return process for some online brands has also been streamlined at the flagship properties with Return Bars that allow for returns from companies such as Everlane and Eloquii to be done at those designated outposts.

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