Axis Group companies contracted to enhance security and customer service at The Mercury Mall

The Mercury Shopping Centre in Romford

The Mercury Shopping Centre in Romford

The management team at The Mercury Mall in Romford recently selected two Axis Group companies, namely Axis Security and Axis Cleaning and Support Services, to deliver an integrated security and cleaning service on site. The contract includes a total of 11 security officers, 12 cleaning staff and three supervisors for the dedicated retail and leisure centre, with security providing a total of 540 hours per week and cleaning 390 hours to cover the entire estate.

The Mercury Mall is spread over three floors and includes a Mecca Bingo Hall, a Premiere Cinema and close to 50 retail outlets and eateries. stores and services in The Mercury Mall  include McDonald’s, GAME, Blue Inc, Superdrug and Peacocks.

The Mall first opened its doors back in June 1990 as Liberty 2. From 2006 to August 2010. it was owned by The Mall Fund and known as The Mall Romford. Along with The Liberty and The Brewery, The Mall is one of the three main shopping centres in Romford.

Given that The Mercury Mall is a progressive, environmentally-conscious and customer-centric Shopping Centre, it was crucial that the contractor brought in to deliver security and cleaning solutions fully understood that a dynamic, multi-skilled service was going to be essential.

“We recently installed an electric generating floor,” explained Spencer Hawken, centre manager at The Mercury Mall. “It’s the first of its kind globally in a Shopping Centre. The aim is to power a customer service, such as a mobile phone charging station or use it as a marketing tool to, for example, create an internal lighting schematic designed by a local artist. The launch also included a charity initiative where we used a stepping machine to generate one million steps over the course of one week. For every 1,000 steps generated, the McDonald’s branch at The Mercury Mall donated to First Step, a charity that looks after pre-school children with disabilities.”

Hawken added: “Axis Security’s officers manned the steps machine 24/7 and, alongside the cleaning personnel, they drummed up enthusiasm for the initiative across the Mall. This falls outside what many would consider traditional security and cleaning duties, of course, but it’s typical of the sort of service we require as a customer.”

Axis Group is delivering customer service training as part of the contract. Indeed, this was another key driver in the decision to award the contract. “Our aim is to provide exceptional customer service to everyone who visits The Mercury Mall,” stated Hawken. “For example, we turn off music every Tuesday to create an environment that’s more comfortable for those living with dementia and autism. It’s important that all employees are trained in supporting people with different needs, in addition to more general customer service skills.”

Axis Group’s employee benefits were also important when it came to the contract award. “Salaries, training and progression opportunities are all key to ensuring an engaged and happy workforce,” observed Hawken. “We encourage our staff to use their skills in different ways. Axis Group supports this in its employee programme by providing staff access to a whole host of financial, charitable and social initiatives. The company’s Newsletter was evidence that these initiatives are very much underway and available to employees now.”

In a competitive tender situation where there was very little differentiation in price between the firms vying for the work, Hawken stressed that The Mercury Mall’s management team had to look at the package as a whole.

“Working with Axis over the last couple of months, we’ve experienced a knowledgeable and friendly management team who understand our requirements without us having to explain the detail,” concluded Hawken. “It sounds like a cliché, but on our first mobilisation meeting it was obvious to us that Axis knew how to deliver the customer-centric service that we require.”

All employees were transferred across to Axis Group employment under the TUPE Regulations.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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