You have a top-notch training program, right? You train each of your employees to provide great customer service, right? So, as part of that training, you teach them to be a concierge for your business, right?

What’s that? You don’t know what I’m talking about? 

I’m talking about every employee becoming a concierge. The word “concierge”, has a French origin, meaning “care taker”.  I first learned of the word and the profession as a student at the University of Houston’s Hilton School of Hotel & Restaurant Management. There we understood it to mean a classically trained hotel employee with clout, who was knowledgeable about every aspect of the hotel and city, able to answer or find the answer to any question, and make recommendations to meet the guest’s individual tastes and needs. If you have ever utilized the services of a professional concierge, you know they are typically well-informed about and in-tune with all the goings-on, and are capable of meeting any number of requests a guest might have. They are “care takers.”

Here’s the good news; Every one of your employees can be a concierge!

How might that look in your organization?

It is expected in a retail setting that the staff know where specific products are located, so when they are asked, they can immediately show the customer to the product. Product placement knowledge should be emphasized in employee training in these industries. Concierge level service is exhibited when sales associates ask questions about the project or goal and then make recommendations to better serve the customer.

A recent example of this type of service was from a home improvement store employee. I approached Ben about a replacement light fixture. He showed me the item I requested, then asked me a few questions concerning my project. After my explanation, he recommended I purchase a higher quality fixture to avoid having to replace it again in a year or two. He then walked me over to the light bulb department and suggested LED bulbs for their longevity and low heat. This is concierge level service.

If your industry is service oriented, like a country club, restaurant or hotel, everyone from a life guard to a grounds maintenance worker can be a concierge. Imagine a grounds maintenance employee working near the main entrance. He notices a customer waiting for the valet – who is nowhere in sight. He speaks to the customer, and lets her know the valet will be right back, after parking a car. This interaction validates and affirms the customer, and lets her know she has been noticed, and will be attended to very shortly.

Here are five easy ideas for building a staff of Concierges.

  1. Hold short staff meetings in each department to go over daily activities. Provide each employee with a reference card that summarizes the day’s events, special concerns, things to be aware of beyond the regular department business.
  2. Train staff to know your facilities inside/out-not just their own area. They need to know how to get to all areas and give coherent directions. In addition, they need to know who to speak to in each department to handle common requests.
  3. Have employees input department phone numbers and extensions into cell phones, so guest’s needs can be attended to immediately.
  4. Train staff members to listen for cues and look for opportunities to be of service.
  5. Provide Staff with accurate problem-solving tools. Be certain they know who to go to in an emergency situation, and how to appropriately handle complaints or issues.

In addition, employees should be periodically tested on their knowledge. Some things change daily, so it’s good to know if your employees are properly prepared. Encouraging employees to adopt a Concierge mindset will ensure that your customers receive top-notch service!

Cheryl Jones, is a professional speaker, team facilitator, leadership trainer and coach with a strong background in hospitality management. Her mission is to create productive workplaces through authentic communication and interpersonal skills training, one organization at a time. She can be reached at 210-545-2378 or . Please join Cheryl’s mail list at

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