Concierges building office communities
Article3 min12 May 2017
You don’t get a second chance when it comes to making a first impression. So how can you be sure that your initial impact is first class?
The moment a client or customer, potential or real, steps into your building, they make a judgment about the quality of your business. And that judgment will colour everything that comes later.
Most of us appreciate the importance of a hotel concierge. These stalwarts of the hotel industry greet you, help you navigate the services on offer, and inform you about the city you’re in. They’re friendly but formal, cheerful but not chatty. They can be the difference between a good stay and a fantastic stay. (And a glowing TripAdvisor review!)
However, it’s only in the last decade that the idea of concierges and community managers in commercial office has taken off. And while they perform most of the same duties as the hotel concierge, they also go a step beyond, helping to provide a real sense of community for all occupants of the building.
For A-grade and premium offices, a well turned-out and knowledgeable front-of-house presence, as distinct from security, is now more or less expected.
The benefits are many. For a start, employees of businesses operating out of the building report feeling markedly happier coming in to work each day. Always helpful, ever willing to sympathise over late trains, bad weather, tardy children – how could that not be a welcome contrast to the working day that lies ahead?
The experience of clients, and visitors, too, is improved by an efficient guide who can point them in the right direction and answer any query they might have, from the minor to the downright mindboggling.
But having good furnishings, attractive floral arrangements and shiny lift doors aren’t the only considerations when it comes to making guests and visitors feel at ease
So, what do they do?
There’s no limit to what a concierge can offer by way of services. Staff wanting their shoes reheeled can send them off, secure in the knowledge they’ll be promptly returned when the job’s done. Need an umbrella? Here you go, sir. A bit parched? Have this bottle of water, madam.
Most importantly, the concierge is the glue that holds the community of the building together.
Sometimes it’s as simple as an incidental meeting between two people working in the same building who have been brought together by an activity organised by the building’s community manager.
Dexus onsite concierge personnel work in tandem with the building’s community portal (an online portal, like an intranet for the building) as a way to build a community for its customers. In a Parramatta building, an online competition ended up creating a lasting friendship when the winners attended a show together. Now firm friends – they were brought together through the community of their shared workplace.
Similarly, a “Bike Buddies” system grew from a concierge responding to customers’ fears over safety on cycling routes and a common wish to have company on the ride in. The concierge paired up the riders and more lasting friendships were formed.
Community is not limited to a single building. In one instance, staff from neighbouring offices wishing to be involved in the Biggest Morning Tea charity event were over the moon when the building’s concierge brought them all together to facilitate a joint effort, as well as taking care of marketing and catering duties, too.
Most popular services
According to market-leading on-site services supplier Equiem, some of the most popular services provided front-of-house include coffee, secure locker rental and taking shirts to be laundered, steamed and pressed.
Of course, not all precincts require a customer-facing presence at all times. In such instances, community managers can ably fill the gap. Operating over several properties at one time, and ensuring the buildings are running smoothly at each, they can offer a similar service with a less obvious presence.
The building of vibrant communities working alongside one another can be a terrific way for employers to encourage loyalty in their workforce, with a community feel leading to a far more comfortable and happy working environment. Add that to the benefits of a concierge guiding lost visitors or shoppers on their merry way, or simply calling the lift and holding its doors, and it’s clear a concierge can do wonders for a company’s appearance and reputation.
Without a concierge in your office building, might your organisation be lacking a certain je ne sais quoi?