Thursday, June 20th, 2013
I was lucky enough to fall accidentally into the world of concierge, when I got a job as a Concierge Lifestyle Consultant for platinum credit card holders. I knew immediately this was the career path I was born to follow and decided to start my own company within 3 months of starting! It took me a little longer to pluck up the courage and save some money, but after working there for almost 3 years, I finally left in November 2012 to focus on Concierge Connections. I don't regret this time working for a large corporation as it was certainly an invaluable experience.

I have a philosophy in life that you generally ‘get what you pay for’. For example, I do not mind if Ryan Air charge you to use their toilets on board as long as their flights are still £1 (plus taxes). This philosophy has also never been truer than with concierge services.

There are three main call centre concierge companies in Australia, including the one I worked at. The other two companies may differ somewhat, but in my mind, there are four main ways that call centre concierge differs from personal concierge:

Not entirely, but for the most part, the majority of my colleagues who were working as a call centre concierge were there to pay the bills. I am sure that I was the only one passionate about my role. For some requests (e.g. can you make me a booking at Rockpool Bar & Grill a week tomorrow at 8.30pm for 4 people) do not require passion (unless they are fully booked of course), but for the majority of requests (e.g. help, I have absolutely no idea where to go on my honeymoon, it can domestic or overseas and within a 10 hour flight), a desire to help, to persevere, to listen, to care is essential. For me, concierge is a way of life, not just ‘for Christmas’.

Where I worked, we did not have access to the clients’ credit card details for security reasons, as the banks were outsourcing to us. Clients assumed we were the bank, which caused all kinds of confusion. On the whole, not having their credit card details was a major source of frustration for myself, my colleagues and our clients. It meant, for example, that if they wanted a booking at Per Se restaurant in New York, we would have to do a conference call with the restaurant and the client at gone midnight in Sydney (due to the time differences). It could have been worse though as we were not even able to make any bookings at one of Sydney’s hottest restaurants, Momofuku Siebo, as they only take online bookings and credit card details are required. Another time not having credit card details on file was frustrating was when a popular event went on presale. All Ticketek and Ticketmaster presales are online only, which meant that we could not assist them with presale purchases. Once a general public sale started, it would get worse, as we would often have to queue on the phone to Ticketek/Ticketmaster for hours sometimes, assuming we could get through that is. In short, clients would often miss out on tickets altogether, due to this inadequate system.

The third main difference between these two concierge business models is that call centre concierge employees can only work on virtual requests, i.e. anything that can be done over the phone, internet or email. They cannot wait at your home for a tradesperson whist you have an important meeting, they cannot queue at the Apple store for the latest iPhone for you, they cannot collect your mail whilst you are on holiday and email you if anything urgent arrives, they cannot pick up your child or your dry cleaning, they cannot buy a gift for you to give to your mother that evening. A personal concierge can do all of these things and so much more.

And last but by no means least, the staff turnover rate at call centre concierge is quite high. I was there almost three years, but this is almost unheard of. Several clients would ask for me by name and wait until the next day if I was not in, but this was also unusual. Due to these factors as well as the nature of shift work, clients would often call and get a different person every time, sometimes for the same request which could lead to all sorts of Chinese whispers and problems. It also meant it was very difficult to get to know a clients’ likes and dislikes and build a relationship with them, which in my mind, is the key to any good concierge.

In summary, some of my ex-colleagues in other departments used to joke that we were just a ‘glorified Google’. I would say that this is true for 90% of the people who work in call centre concierge. So my advice would be, if you can find out the answers on Google, google it. If you cannot, contact Concierge Connections for a free consultations:

Concierge Connections is a member of iCALM. It is the only industry body based locally, supporting the Australian and New Zealand Concierge and Lifestyle industry. You can find more information about them here:


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Concierge Connections

Concierge Connections is your part time assistant, social secretary, travel manager and concierge all in one!

• Imagine having enough time to reap the rewards, after working long hours to help provide for your family.
• Imagine time standing still, as you drop the kids off at school and, prepare for an important presentation at work.
• Imagine being able to run errands, squeeze in some exercise and cook dinner without feeling overwhelmed.
• Imagine getting the sleep that you need, in order to survive the day and get ahead in life.

All of this is possible when you use Concierge Connections.

• Would you like tickets to a sold out show? Done.
• Would you like a reservation for the hottest restaurant in town? Done.
• Would you like to send flowers to the UK for your best friend's birthday tomorrow? Done.
• Would you like round-the-world flights booking? Done.
• Or would you simply like a babysitter so you and your partner can spend some quality time together? Done.
Layla Roberts
P: 0414737730


personal concierge, lifestyle management, time management, outsourcing



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