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In malls, every customer touchpoint should be a five-star experience

Mall managers need to satisfy the needs of two sets of end-users: tenants who occupy retail/food spaces and customers who patronise and purchase from them. As malls become more and more high-end, how are mall managers keeping up with rising expectations? Jerry Rajesh, Head of Mall Business, Inorbit Vadodara spoke to Mrigank Warrier, Associate Editor, Clean India Journal.

Compared to most other sectors, the nature of the mall business is very dynamic. Customers keep changing every other minute and we have to meet their expectations consistently. Whether it is a common area, parking area or washroom, they expect world-class service from a mall, and it is our job to fulfill their expectations, using technology, eco-friendly chemicals and highly motivated employees.

Measuring FM demand

AI-powered cameras automatically capture customer footfalls, along with details like gender, age, and entry, exit and dwell time of customers. Similar cameras in the passage area help us calculate washroom usage per hour, and peak and lean times.

On weekdays, peak hours are between 4pm and 10pm. On weekends, the rush starts from 11 am or so, and continues until night.

The food court and nearby washrooms are the areas that always see the highest footfall.

Customer touch points

Mall management is different, right from the point of entry of the customer. All car boots need to be scanned for the safety of customers and vehicles, parking space has to be made available, a valet service (complimentary or chargeable) must be on hand and the appearance and expertise of the valet drivers must be checked.

Some malls have multiple levels of underground car parking. We have to make it convenient for each customer to take an escalator from basement levels to the retail area in a seamless manner.

When a customer comes to the retail area, their bags also need to be checked. Each of these customer touch points contributes to customer experience and satisfaction.

Washroom maintenance

Amenities in washrooms are maintained and adequately stocked at all times. In ladies washrooms, a sanitary pad dispenser as well as a mechanism to connect sanitary waste needs to be installed.

We are mindful about not wasting paper. However, our customers do expect the same level of service as in five-star hotels. Hence, we rely on a combination of paper towels and hand dryers. We are conscious of the GSM of paper used. Ladies’ washrooms experience higher consumption of paper towels.

We have installed sensor-based taps in all our washrooms, which dispense water for 6-8 seconds only. This way, water is not wasted.

SLAs for washroom hygiene in malls are unique. Each WC needs to be cleaned, sanitised and the area made dry and ready for the next customer after each use.


If there is an issue with the exhaust system of the washroom – or if any other issue crops up – we may take an operational decision to shut down a part of the area, and use fragrancing. This is not used continuously.

Air conditioning

Malls usually open their doors at around 11 am. We need to calibrate the indoor temperatures relative to the outdoor conditions, well in advance. This is kept between 20-230C for the thermal comfort of the customer.

Manpower requirements

We need to have dedicated housekeeping manpower available before, during and after business hours. In IT, one person is required to maintain approx. 9,000 sq ft area for nine hours; in malls, one person is required for every 3,000 sq ft, along with a proportional amount of tools and tackles.

This also depends on the size of the washroom and changes from weekdays to weekends. On weekends and holidays, we expect a much higher FM demand.

Green energy

We have open access rooftop solar panels at the mall itself. 20-25% of our daily electricity requirements are met by this.

Green belt

We don’t believe in artificial plants. We have chosen plants which release high levels of oxygen, for the indoor landscaping as well as outdoor areas.

The choice of plants depends on the type of mall and the structure. A mall that has ample parking space presents many opportunities for landscaping; some malls are compact and landscaping is not possible.

Waste management

We have our own STP to recycle water, which is then reused for horticulture and flushing. We also have an organic waste converter to process food waste, which is then also used for horticulture.


During the pandemic, we introduced measures to ensure customers didn’t have touch surfaces like elevator buttons. We also introduced automated sanitiser dispensers at all entry and exit points.

Cleaning at heights

We have AMCs with vendors who are subject matter experts in cleaning chandeliers and high ceilings that we find in the atrium. They use equipment like scissor lifts, boom lifts and hydraulic lifts which work without damaging the floor. Cobwebs are removed, non-functioning lights are replaced.

All statutory requirements are fulfilled for those performing this task, which is supervised by our own mall safety officers. It goes without saying that this activity is carried out at night, after business hours.

Some malls are vertically spread, others are horizontally spread across just two or three floors. If a height of more than 30-40 metres needs to be reached for facade cleaning, a combination of equipment, tools and manpower is required.

Escalator cleaning

We see a footfall of approximately 20,000 on weekdays and 40,000-50,000 on weekends. Daily cleaning is mandatory. For cleaning, we shut down the escalator and use a machine that can clean every nook and cranny.

Outdoor areas

We have invested in mid- and large-size ride-on road sweepers. This covers 95% of the area; manual cleaning is required for corners and difficult-to-reach areas.

Tenant interactions

Mall occupants are responsible for maintaining their areas. However, the mall management conducts a daily floor work, along with multiple departments, to take stock of occupants’ spaces as well.

Apart from cleaning and hygiene, we also check on safety and other parameters, to make sure everything is up to our standards. In the food court, grease traps of the kitchens are also checked. We monitor waste management and pest control of each space, and see how we can support them as well.

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