A GREAT CONCIERGE
Anyone who has ever traveled while on vacation and used a concierge will tell you, a great one is worth his or her weight in gold. A bad one? Well, they are usually just shilling for bad outfitters or tourist traps. What is a concierge’s role exactly? By definition, a concierge is someone who books, schedules, or recommends events or packages for people based on their expertise of the area your visiting. Steve’s translation…They solve problems.
Years ago, my wife and I were in Paris. The concierge of the hotel we were staying in was fantastic. She was polite, professional, listened to what we wanted and found the perfect place for us to go every time. She asked questions. Did I mention that she listened? She did not only listen, she listened to understand. She didn’t listen to respond. Have you ever noticed people who are getting ready to talk while your still talking? That…is a serious pet peeve of mine. How do you know what I am going to say next? Sometimes, conversations turn. Sometimes, it takes awhile for people to get out what they are trying to tell us. If we are armed and loaded, ready to fire our response before they finish speaking then we are being a bad concierge.
Back to Paris. I had always heard that the French didn’t like Americans very much and were rude. Our concierge (and every Parisian we encountered) were wonderful. They took great pride in the information they had and gave it freely. As we were asking for a restaurant recommendation, a very rude gentleman approached, interrupted our conversation, and started barking questions. In the literal blink of an eye, I watched this amazing young lady become the stereotype we had heard so much about. She was very curt, rude, and standoffish. He left and when she blinked again, she was the pleasant professional we were talking to only a moment before. That was nearly 10 years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday. Every recommendation she gave was extraordinary. The restaurant she recommended was so wonderful we ate there 3 times!
How we approach the help we provide people is equal to the actual help given. When friends come to us for advice or just need someone to listen, which ‘hat’ do we find ourselves wearing? The listening to respond hat? Or do we proudly put on our concierge’s hat? The hat that truly listens and offers the best thing for us at that time. The hat that offers our friends motivational listening. Listening to understand, not to respond. A great concierge is worth their weight in gold. Having a special concierge friendship is just as valuable in our day-to-day life. Are you that friend? I know we would all like to go on a sunset catamaran cruise or a walk through a rainforest (things great resort concierges have set up for us on past vacations) but as a great friend, we can offer relevant advice, a good book, a Ted Talk, or even just a shoulder when our services are needed. Throw away that listen to respond hat. Burn it and bury the ashes. In these crazy times, I bet we could all use a good concierge to help us navigate some of the insanity, wouldn’t you agree?