The word concierge has long been synonymous with white glove service. However, I’d like to argue that many businesses are putting too much emphasis on the word itself and not on the actions of its staff. Over the last decade the profession has expanded beyond the domain of hotels and you can now find a concierge in airports, senior care facilities, residences, corporations, insurance agencies, sports arenas and the list goes on. Outside of an upscale hotel, where the job description and level of service has remained untouched, the service being provided by most non-hotel concierges is inconsistent and mostly reactive.
Having served as both a hotel lobby concierge and a residential concierge for a decade, I know what’s possible behind “the desk” and most customers are not receiving proactive and personalized service. This happens because management, whose background is usually in something other than hospitality, over-emphasizes the security or secretarial aspect of the job and doesn’t properly develop the position. Having a body staffed at the desk (or available by phone) 24/7 becomes more important than the actual service being provided. However, just think how much more you could be getting out of your hourly staff! Nothing can add more value, at no cost, than offering a “Five Diamond” concierge service and it isn’t difficult to achieve. It begins with hiring inspired people and giving them the right resources.
The following are some suggested ways to increase the value of your concierge offering. Your customers will thank you!
- Proactively inform your customers what the concierge staff can do for them. Provide a list of services as well as a customer testimonial. If your business is new, it is exceptionally important to drive this message home early and often to generate usage of the service at its onset. If feasible, I strongly recommend that each customer schedule a one-on-one meeting with a member of the concierge team for an in-depth look at what personalized services they can provide.
-Distribute a concise internal monthly newsletter, written by the concierge staff, or if a larger publication, feature a column written exclusively by the concierge staff to highlight happenings, either in the community or within your business. A weekly e-blast with exclusive offerings or insider tips can be really effective as well.
- Provide your staff with an electronic database to store and maintain customer profiles as well as record customer transactions. No more paper logs or post-it notes! Not only will this elevate service in the short term, it will allow for a seamless transition when you have turnover at the desk.
- Encourage “off the desk” time for concierge to grow their knowledge base about all sides of the business, the neighborhood, if appropriate, as well as have time for proactive outreach to customers. Although payroll budgets are tight, I highly recommend building in some overlap to your schedule. This also allows for a proper and well deserved lunch break.
- Hire the right people even if it means conducting a more extensive and creative search that may take a little bit longer; a good concierge should be curious, creative, confident, charismatic, competent and courteous. These six C’s are non-negotiable in my book.
Want to learn how to exceed the needs of your customers? Join me on Wednesday, June 17 and June 24 from 6-9 pm at Temple University Center City campus, located at 1515 Market Street, as we learn to define and deliver the art of “Five Diamond” service. *The first 5 new customers who attend the seminar and subsequently book additional services with me (exceeding $500) will be refunded their $125 registration fee!
Click here for more information and to register.