My wife and I grabbed a quick weekend in New York City. After arriving at The London hotel on Friday afternoon armed only with advance tickets to a Friday night and Saturday afternoon play, we went straight to the hotel concierge!  We needed help with dinner reservations and off-the-beaten attractions not obvious to the typical tourist.  Despite the busy, crowded hotel lobby, what we received felt like a private briefing uniquely tailored to our whims as if we were the hotel’s only guests!

Great concierges are intensely loyal to a customer.  Read that line again and pay attention to the singular object of the phrase “loyal to.”   They do not think of the target of their service efforts in the plural . . . they think only in the singular.  They are service choreographers—managing an amalgamation of diverse elements, big and small.  A waitress might be friendly, but if she can’t get orders right, her weaknesses overshadow her strengths. The call center phone rep might be knowledgeable and efficient, but if he has little patience for customer problems, his cognitive gifts are lost amid the interpersonal flaws.

Effective service choreography means combining a “jack of all trades” capacity with an exceptional resourcefulness.  Like seasoned event planners, concierges manage the flow and pace of the experience—concentrating on the ease, agility, and effectiveness of the service they provide.    They are superb at “backward serving.”  That means having a clear picture of what the outcome should be, then working backward from that goal to ensure the reality matches the vision.   It means having a sixth sense for anticipating what can go wrong in service encounters.   Only with this clear picture and early warning capacity can you set about ensuring the experience product matches the experience plan.

What are you doing to help your customers view you as a great concierge?  Are you paying attention to the details with the same vigilance as the big stuff?  Do your customers get the feeling they are your only customer?

Photo Credit: Flickr via James Moniz