CASE STUDY: Designing Training for a Competitive Service Advantage

The intersection of luxury, hospitality, and a new direction for a major retail management company


A major, international retail mall management company wanted to gain a competitive advantage and separate themselves from standard retail mall experiences. Focusing on services that the luxury hospitality industry provides for its guests, they’ve sought to bring an elevated level of personalization and convenience to their clients.

“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,” ~ Jeff Adams, Westfield Vice President of Guest Services.

So, how does a company elevate the service mindset and skills of its associates to enhance the luxury retail experience of its customers?


An interactive and detailed training and communications program would need to be designed and delivered to assist associates to meet the expectations of this new luxury service culture. To ensure an effective delivery and sustainment of the service standards and attitude, coaches would need to be selected and developed for each center.

SGEi was selected to lead the company through this transformative process and provide training grounded in the basic philosophies of hospitality. This targeted program would speak to the enhanced service culture and provide professional development training necessary for associates to “up their game” and acquire the mindset and habits more commonly found within luxury hotels and restaurants.

SGEi collaborated with the client to immerse themselves in the corporate values and culture of the company. SGEi coaches visited centers across the country meeting with managers, associates, and vendors to identify and understand the gaps in training, tools, and information that would hinder the introduction of an elevated service culture.

In partnership with a core group of managers from across the company, a new service culture was designed including service standards and behaviors that would be observable and measurable.

The next step was to design a new service orientation that all new associates, regardless of position or location would be required to go through on their first day. This program was developed to establish the priorities around the brand, culture, and customer.

To roll out this new service culture and sustain the learning at each center, 30 coaches were selected and brought to Las Vegas to attend the SGEi training academy to introduce or enhance their ability to deliver messages and training and be effective coaches. Each participant was certified in their ability to deliver content and provide feedback. Providing visual and physical aids for ongoing use by the coaches, SGEi produced a program to effectively combine the tenants of excellent hospitality with superior service practices. The training was grounded in SGEi’s extensive experience in multiple service-related industries and hospitality.

“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.” ~ Jeff Adams, Westfield Vice President of Guest Services.


The launch of the new service culture for the client was a success. The initial feedback from the centers was very positive. There was also ownership from the centers to create their own ways of reinforcing the service standards and behaviors. 90 days after the initial rollout mystery shops began, which reinforced the idea that the associates were collectively owning the customer and providing a more personal interaction when the opportunity arrived.

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