VirginiaLynne writes about businesses and careers for a variety of publications and websites.
Would You Like This Career?
Can you be calm when things are hectic? Do you like to serve people? Do you like variety? You might enjoy working as a concierge for a hotel or business. A concierge is a customer service specialist. Salaries average between $30,000 to $100,000 a year, depending on their location and venue.
However, because they also receive tips from satisfied customers, those who offer exceptional customer service may make more. They do everything from giving directions, making restaurant reservations, helping with wedding events and even finding special gifts. In this career, you will need to expect the unexpected.
Where would you work? In anywhere from a luxury hotel to apartment buildings, corporations, businesses, and even for individuals.
What Responsibilities Would You Have?
You would be responsible for handling all of the customer's needs and requests about activities and information during their stay at a hotel, or their interaction with a business function. A person in this job has the responsibility to orchestrate the customer's traveling experience so that:
- The hotel stay is memorable.
- The person staying there gives a good review.
- The customer wants to come back and tells their friends to stay there.
Especially in a high-end hotel, this individual makes the difference in how customers feel about their travel experience.
Must Keep Cool Under Pressure
What Are The Benefits?
This is a challenging job with a variety of different experiences every day. If you like to travel and live in different locations, you can do that for a hotel chain. In addition, you get to meet many different people, handle problems and make a vacation or business stay memorable.
What Sort of Person is Best?
This job is often not just a 9-5 affair. Your hours may be long and varied. You need to be able to work under stress and satisfy many different people. It is challenging work that requires a lot of energy, emotion, and passion.
While some concierges have a background in business or hotel management. Many concierges come from other backgrounds that have helped them develop the following qualities:
- A willingness and passion for service.
- Background and experience in customer service.
- Ability to learn the venue environment and clients.
- A good memory for names, people, and facts.
- A gift of multitasking without being stressed.
- Personal integrity and ethics.
- Creative problem-solving skills.
- Good interpersonal communication skills.
Need To Have Service Attitude
To do well in this job, you need to be a person who enjoys serving others. In addition, you must have an attitude of graciousness, kindness, and willingness to go above and beyond their expected duties. Because the job is often taking care of many people and many needs at once, you need to be very organized and able to use technology to help them:
- make reservations
- organize car rentals
- change travel plans
- make activity suggestions
- help in emergencies
- give directions
- recover missing luggage
Need to Know Area and Have Connections
You will need to become intimately familiar with all of the best locations in the city they are located. You need to know:
- Off-beat restaurants
- Unusual shopping experiences
- Unique activities
Moreover, you need connections to help you handle unusual guest requests, like the one gentleman who wanted a to find an elephant for his wife's birthday party!
When you don't know something, you need to know whom to ask, so another part of the job is making connections with other people in the service industry. To be successful, you need to be able to network with other people.
Need to Be Gracious
Because you provide a service and are often the face a customer sees as representing a business, you need to have exceptionally gracious mannerisms, impeccable grooming, and a professional appearance. The French association of concierge is called Les Clefs d'Or, which means "service through friendship," so you need to remember that you can best serve if you forge emotional connections with customers that are meaningful.
In this job, you must balance the difficult art of being not only a customer service representative, but also a friend, a social adviser, and even sometimes a personal confidant. Being able to handle confidences in an ethical manner is as imperative as creative problem solving and quick adjustment of travel itineraries.
Can You Handle Difficult People and Tough Situations?
Frequently, a concierge is the first person a customer comes to in a crisis. Whether it is a problem with a travel itinerary, a forgotten anniversary, activity plans disrupted by rain, a medical emergency or a poorly planned wedding, you must be able to help calmly and reassure the customer.
You must remain calm when other people are upset, and unfortunately, you may also have to be gracious when customers take out their anger at circumstances on you. However, for the most part, angry people calm down if they are given time and help in solving their problems. Therefore, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you frequently help people in a crisis and represent your company as one which can handle anything with aplomb.
Must Be Willing to Constantly Learn and Improve
Customer service is what the concierge provides, but whether they do so successfully is a matter of customer satisfaction. In order to find out whether their services meet the needs of customers, you must be willing to:
- Ask questions in person about what the customers want and appreciate.
- Take surveys to find out what could be done to improve service.
- Implement changes customers suggest.
- Talk with other staff members to get feedback and ideas.
Must Anticipate Needs
Many hotels and businesses rely on repeat customers. A concierge needs to work hard to learn the tastes and preferences of these important clients. By anticipating the needs and preferences and preparing for the customer before they arrive, you can distinguish you luxury hotel or business from the competition. Moreover, with important customers who travel with a staff, you can develop a relationship with the assistant of the traveler and question them about their client's needs, preferences, and desires.
How do You Become a Concierge?
If you have an appropriate customer service background and experience, you may want to apply for the job based on your previous training and experience. However, you can also find training courses online or through local universities. Look for a course which helps to place you in a job after training. The video course above is a sample. I do not endorse or have any relationship with this particular company but only offer it as a sample of the kind of training you would receive. Good luck in this rewarding and interesting career!