I recently stepped into one of the highest-end luxury hotels in Boston to reconnect with a long-time client.
The concierge was completely on his game when I walked through the door, displaying every inch of the kind of stellar, almost clairvoyant service we all expect from such a high-caliber hotel. He knew every guest by name, had treats prepared for their dogs, and jumped up to take care of a housekeeper coming in with an armful of bags. He was gracious and efficient in making me feel comfortable, handing me a bottle of water I hadn’t even requested while I waited for the client.
And then something happened: I overheard him take a call from another resident who was upset their smoke detector was low on batteries and producing an annoying beep. His response started out perfectly: “Yes, I understand that must be very frustrating,” he said to them. But then it quickly went downhill.
“Our maintenance person isn’t around right now,” he said. “But you can submit a ticket online and he might get to it today. It’s been a busy morning and we don’t have our full staff today.”
Then, hearing the resident was even more unhappy because they’d just changed the batteries in another detector only a few weeks ago, he offered some admonishing advice: “It’s better if you change them all at once, so you don’t have to keep doing it at different times.”
After a few more words it was clear the resident was looking for someone to just come up and help with the batteries, but all the concierge could offer was for the resident to “submit a ticket online.”
What had just happened to the seamlessly hospitable, problem-solving professional I had met when I walked in? In that in-person context with real live people at his desk, he did everything right. But on the phone, he was far less accommodating. His answer should have simply been: “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure I have someone take care of it right away,” rather than make it the resident’s problem to report a ticket (which puts another thing on their to-do list) and give advice on solving the problem themselves.
Then maybe the concierge could enter the ticket himself, call the engineer to ask about his schedule for the day, and if all else failed, ask a colleague to watch the desk while the concierge went up himself to assist with replacing the batteries. At that hotel’s echelon of lifestyle service, that’s exactly what should be expected.
It's what our clients expect every day, from the service technician in the field to the project manager working on their smart-home to the finance specialist facilitating invoice remittance on a monthly basis.
I say this because there really isn’t any difference between what a good integrator should do and what all outstanding concierges do—know each of our clients and their needs extremely well, and manage their everyday complexities and solve their problems quickly without making them take part in finding the solution. We call this “solving problems in the context of your lifestyle.”
The expectations of a topnotch service provider who takes real pride in his or her work should always be just exactly that, no matter what industry you’re talking about. Whether it’s hotels or couture, restaurants or architecture, healthcare or technology. Excellent service is excellent service. Period.